Update: 4/21/2015: After emailing Starbucks press office to inquire about the “beautiful

Update: 4/21/2015: After emailing Starbucks press office to inquire about the “beautiful box” the card comes in, with specific questions about its size, materials and the actual value of it, I was sent this form-like email that, in fact, answered none of my questions but, instead, regurgitated the same marketing schpeel you find on the web page where the card is sold. Here is the response from a Starbucks spokesperson:

Hi Nicole,

Thanks you for your interest in Starbucks!

Mother’s Day is one of the biggest gifting holidays each year and we know that many customers are looking for an extra special gift for a special person in their lives. This year we are offering a broad selection to meet a wide range of customer needs. Starting April 28 in Starbucks stores, a traditional Starbucks gift card, beautifully designed for Mother’s Day design will be available, starting at $5, as will a Mother’s Day Starbucks Card & Greeting Card set for $25 (gift card is loaded with $25).

Additionally, for the first time ever, customers can purchase a Limited-Edition Mother’s Day Premium Starbucks Card, exclusively sold online while supplies last (only 1500 cards total). With laser-etched floral details and a satin ceramic finish, this stainless steel card makes for an elegant gift and comes pre-loaded with $50, available online for $200. Additionally, the card comes packaged in an elegant gift box with matching floral design.

Last night I had one of those tender, memory-making moments with my daughter of the sort you want to immediately share with all of your Facebook friends. We were amid our evening bathtime/bedtime ritual. I’d just washed and blow dried her long silky hair and she was clean and snugly in a soft teal-colored robe I’d bought her last Christmas from Target. As she glanced up at my worn, once-white, now bordering on beige bathrobe, she said “Mommy, you need a new robe. I’m going to buy you one for Mother’s Day.” Knowing the general cost of decent robes I doubted her modest piggy bank savings would cut it. “Honey, that’s so sweet, but you don’t have to spend your money on me. Just make me a pretty card.” No, she insisted. I “bought her so many things all the time.” She was getting me that robe no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Kids her age are pretty narcissistic and normally she clings to her every last penny, holding out for dolls and other big ticket purchases throughout the year. So the idea that she would actually forfeit the sewing machine she so badly wants to buy me a bathrobe instead was heartwarming. And as guilty as I’d probably feel accepting a robe that she saved all her money for, I also think it’s important for kids to sometimes actually spend their own cash on others. But when I saw on Slate.com this morning that Starbucks is selling a “Limited-Edition Mother’s Day Premium Starbucks Card” for $200 when, in fact, the card is only preloaded with $50, I thought about how angry I’d be if my daughter were to use her money to “treat mom” with this as the coffee seller’s website beckons.

Why is the card $200 when you only get $50 to use at Starbucks? Well, the card itself has “laser-etched floral details and satin ceramic finish,” and it comes in a “beautiful gift box with matching design.” In other words: “it’s more than a gift card,” and “the first ever” of its kind. I can’t tell the size or exact material of the box from the photo on their website, but it looks more or less like a pack of gift cards you’d get from a novelty shop. (I’m awaiting a reply from Starbucks’ corporate press office about the actual “value” of the box itself.) Even if they added the hot-pink tulips pictured next to it (which of course aren’t included) it’d only raise the value by a few bucks considering Trader Joe’s has been selling bunches of tulips for $3.99 this spring. Now that’s a Mother’s Day gift I’d be happy to receive!

What’s even more galling is that Starbucks is trying to make you feel like it’s a privilege to buy one of these overpriced cards. “Limited quantities [they’re only making 1,500] are available exclusively online” and there’s a “limit 1 per customer.” I get that there are plenty of moms out there who love their Starbucks, and I enjoy a gift card to my favorite shops as much as the next person. But the thought of any of my loved ones – especially my kid – forking out money for something so grossly marked up is actually sort of sickening. Sure, there are kids out there richer than mine who can easily afford such a card (or who might even supplement a gift with some funds from dad). I have no problem with children splurging on their parents, but at least KIND of get what you pay for! In fact, I’d consider it bad parenting to not teach my child to recognize when they’re being conned.

We live in a world of mark-ups, it’s true. Wine, jewelry, flowers, spa days – so many gifts we’ve come to associate with special occasions for the women in our life – rarely cost their value. But, at least in most of these cases, there’s a general set of guidelines governing them which make abberations very apparent. (I more or less know what a basic cotton robe should cost from Target vs. an all silk robe from Nordstrom.) In this case, though, the price is so seemingly incommensurate with the value that it’s nearly farcical.

Plus, aside from the $50 worth of stuff at Starbucks, a card and a box are essentially throwaways. Maybe I’m naive, but it’s hard for me to imagine even the most rabid Starbucks fan keeping a gift card around as a keepsake. The company has successfully made exclusive cards like this in the past; and Slate mentions the “rose gold” cars that cost $450 and were preloaded with $400. A $50 markup, however, is way more palatable than this one.