If you’re a St. Andrews student, there’s a slim to none chance that you and the brick walls of the overcrowded Market Street Pret haven’t crossed paths. And if you’re anything like me, you live off of a steady diet of iced lattes, hot chocolates, and matchas… all of which can be found in the glorious Pret. Is it that glorious, or am I just blinded by my subscription, which gains me access to five free drinks a day?
It started early in Fresher’s Week. Pret immediately enticed me as everyone was pulling up a QR code on their phones, allowing them just to scan and walk away with a hot drink… no payment! Within the five minutes I stood in the queue, I too was an elite Pret member. The subscription stated that the first month was free and that after that, it would be £20 per month.
That morning, I got my latte with a muffin which cost me an extra £2.25 – no big deal considering I got a free drink! Then I stopped by for an afternoon coffee… but then the cookies were calling my name, which meant another two pounds was spent! And this situation goes on and on with their large selection of food, snacks and desserts galore. Which got me thinking that I must be the only one gaining from this subscription and its five free drinks a day deal. Or does Pret benefit too?
Let’s break down who benefits from this membership – and at what cost.
- Do you ever daydream of IV tubes filled with caffeine being pumped into your veins for those 9am classes? Well, if that’s you, then the Pret subscription is the next best thing. The free drinks mean your money will be very well spent, as their array of caffeinated beverages is simple but gets the job done.
- Do you live in DRA or Sallies? The answer basically determines the real necessity for a membership like this one. If you try to avoid coming into town because the walk is far, most likely you won’t even use more than one or two of the free drinks a day, rendering the subscription a bit useless. But if you frequent the Market Street area, you’ll find yourself drinking a smoothie for breakfast, a couple of hot drinks during studying and then a milkshake to end the day just for the pure convenience and sheer amount of times you’ll walk by Pret!
- If you’re high maintenance, Pret could be for you… If you’re craving a soya milk decaf pumpkin spiced latte, Pret will have it. Or would you rather skimmed milk? Or less sugar? Or an iced beverage? Pret will most likely be able to accommodate all of the random alterations to a drink your heart could ever desire! A lot of the small businesses in town, although amazing, often can’t provide the same variety of options as Pret can.
- Pret is the study spot. It’s the ultimate place to study given the free wifi, spacious tables, charging ports and snacks within arm’s reach. Need I say more? Pret is perfect for hoarding tables for long periods of time and getting work done uninterrupted.
- Do you value an artisanal, hand-crafted latte that ticks every box? Yes? Then Pret isn’t for you. The Pret drinks are mediocre. While nothing is inherently wrong with their drinks, if you are the type of person who loves a truly well-made coffee, Pret won’t necessarily satisfy you.
- And quite possibly the most frustrating thing? The tricky thirty minute period rule in between each drink. If you thought you could buy a bunch of drinks for your friends all for free, you can’t. Instead, the rules are that you can only get one drink every thirty minutes, which is definitely something to take into account.
- It seems like the entire population of St Andrews crowds into Pret at the hours of 10am and noon and again for a 3pm pick-me-up. This makes it pretty difficult to avoid the long queues and most likely, any time you pop by for a drink, you won’t be able to walk right up and order. Not the most ideal for a pre-tutorial coffee!
- If you’ve been wondering how on earth Pret could benefit from a system like this, you’ll understand when you notice yourself buying a snack with all of your free drinks because you can justify it in your head! Technically you’re saving money, right? It’s what draws you in and, suddenly, you realize you’ve spent more at Pret per month than you would’ve if you didn’t even have the subscription!
So what’s the consensus on the Pret subscription? It’s convenient and cost-efficient which is really all I, a uni student who’s attempting to budget, care about. If those are your top priorities, then it’s the membership for you, but if you care about the quality of the beverage you’re drinking and the aesthetics of the room you’re sitting in, you’d be better off in a local café! Whatever you end up choosing, I’m sure you’ll still spend a ridiculous amount of money on overpriced drinks anyways.