5.13.2007

pick a card - any card

i've posted before about scammers with fake money, fake coupons, fake gift certificates and fake receipts.
this morning, however, i was shocked when a customer handed me a fake partner card.

for those of you who might not know, each barista is issued a card that has their name and partner number on it. it has a magnetic strip, just like the gift cards (in fact, partners can use their partner card as a debit card if they so wish) and is supposed to be swiped every time a barista wants to use their partner discount.
most bux used to be pretty lenient when it came to the partner discount: so long as someone rattled off their partner number and their name, they could get their 30% off. of course partners helped their family and friends memorize their number so they too could partake of the discount, which is why bux has cracked down on partner discounts. now policy states that a partner must bring in their company issued partner card, as well as a valid id, if they want their 30% off.

so this morning a customer came in and ordered three drinks, as well as three pastries. when i gave him the total he responded with an "i'm a partner" and handed me his 'partner card'.

"so you have money left on this?" i asked him as i looked over the card for store credit that he'd handed me.
"that's my partner card!" he said in a huffy tone.

for a second i was perplexed, because really i didn't think anyone would be so stupid to think that writing random digits on a card that clearly states 'store credit' would fool a bux barista.
the customer was getting visibly upset with me but again i asked him if there was store credit left on the card.

"i told you already - that's my damn partner card!" he growled.
"really, you're a partner?" i asked incredulously. "what store do you work at?"
"none of your business!" was his mature response.
"well, how many pumps of vanilla syrup go into a venti vanilla bean frappuccino?"
i knew that if he really was a partner he'd know it was a trick question since vanilla bean frappuccinos use powder, and not syrup.
"five." he answered solidly.
"nope." i smirked and again repeated the total for his order.
"you're a bitch!" he spat and snatched his 'partner card' from out of my hands before storming out of my bux.

sadly his scam, bad as it is, will probably fool a barista at a different bux.

barista rant: don't throw a hissy because i wouldn't steam your soy milk to 200 degrees. when i was a newbie barista i once made the mistake of going against policy and attempted to steam milk to that temperature. i ended up with burns on my hand - a painful way to discover why bux puts limits on the temperatures we steam to. don't tell me that the other baristas do it, or that you have a medical condition that necessitates your soy milk to be boiled before you consume it. i will not put myself in harm's way ever again for a customer's whim, so if you need your beverage scalded, i suggest you buy some heavy duty gloves because you'll have to do it yourself!

29 comments:

slskenyon said...

That has to be the most transparent of possible scams--I mean, did he really think it would go through? I'm sorry to hear that he may be successful in repeating his performance elsewhere, though. And yes, if anyone wants their milk of any variety that hot, you have to wonder whether he or she will be drinking the completed concoction or throwing it in the lap of someone that person hates.

Tracy said...

That might just be the DUMBEST scam I've ever heard of!

Nicholas Nemec said...

Your question to determine if he was a real barista made me laugh. It reminded me of those old war movies. "Hey Sarge, if he's a Nazi spy he won't know who won the 1941 World Series."

6th Floor blog said...

ahh the things people will do for a discount. I'd wondered about that, because I overheard a partner giving his numbers for a discount, and thought to myself "If i just memorize that number, what's stopping me from getting a discount?" I never did it and have since forgotten the numbers, but I guess they were getting too much of that. Better cards and ID then them decided not to give partners discounts anymore.

Gardenwife said...

I work for Bou, but love your blog. Fortunately, I really like 99% of our customers and I love my job.

Nana said...

When I worked retail, we wouldn't give back the card...trying to help other partner stores avoid the same scam. [of course, we just stood back...wouldn't fight the customer for it.]
As for boiling soy, I seem to remember that 212 is the boiling point of water...so would 200 even be hot enough for that idiot?!

Johnny Yen said...

Working in the restaurant business, we get to see all kinds of scam attempts. One memorable one, in a restaurant I worked at a long time ago, was a lady who would complain mightily about her meal every time, thus getting it comped, night after night. And of course, since we "fed the bears," she kept coming back, a brood of grandchildren in tow. Since it was a huge place, a different manager dealt with her each night, but the servers started seeing her pattern.

One night, she ordered an appetizer the restaurant had-- it was vegetables tempura, in which you chose which vegetables you wanted. They ate most of it, and then the meal, and then complained about the appetizer (they'd ordered broccoli tempura). I told a manager up front what had been going on, and so when she asked the woman what was wrong with it, the lady replied "There was no broccoli in it." This of course was preposterous-- had they breaded and fried air? The manager told her that she would comp the appetizer, but that she had to pay for the rest of the meal, and that they were on to what she had been doing.

We never saw her there again.

Meghan said...

Bravo on your quick thinking with the frappuccino test!

One of my co-workers got scammed the other day with the old 'confuse the cashier' trick (paying with one bill, then changing their mind quickly several times so the employee can't keep track of the money). Scammers make me so angry because honest, legit people are the ones who eat the cost, both employees and customers. In my experience, coworkers who got scammed didn't suffer repercussions, but it's possible they could lose their job. It would look extremely suspicious for a brand-new employee's drawer to be $100 short. It's sad that scamming is so easy; most employees will be caught off-guard, allowing the scammer it get away with their scheme.

Meghan said...

Also, it never occurred to me how dangerous it could be to steam milk to that temperature. Personally, I've never had a customer who requested a temp above 180, but now that I think about it I can just picture the milk easily bubbling up and burning a hand. Sorry you had to learn the lesson the hard way, but hopefully your story will prevent it from happening to other baristas.

Manuel said...

Used to have two customers who ordered large vanilla lattes and both had to be extra hot. I mean you would have to remake them if they werent burning hot. So I would just make em as normal and then nuke them in the microwave in a bowl then back into the cups. Never complained again, and never got burnt agai.

Glassmeow said...

...amazing what some folks will try! Good quick thinking, Brat! btw - I've tagged you. Over at The KatBox. Can Baristas be tagged?

Beth said...

I'm gonna get index cards and print PARTNER on them, in the hopes that this brilliant scam hasn't made its way east.

Sharpie said...

Glad you saw through the scam!

mellowlee said...

What a dick 'ead!!

As for the 200 degrees thing, I've never understood people who want their drinks a specific temperature. Divas! geeesh

David H. said...

What a dummy! Hey, how can I get one of those partner cards? ;-)

Ben said...

Fortunately I really haven't had to deal with many scams like that in my new store. Hell, I was never around for things like that at my OLD store, either.

The closest thing I guess I've had to deal with recently is a pair of panhandlers who like to roam our neighborhood. A college student bought them both sandwiches. When she left, they turned around and asked for the money back. Knowing that this would go against the spirit of the gift, I told them it would only be in store credit. They left.

me said...

hahahah

well if i wear a crown i can be queen of england, right?

The Empress said...

Not a comment about this particular post, but I love your blog. And my ~kids~ love Sbux. My 14 month old knows a Sbux cup on sight and has a preference for the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. Go figure. ANyhow, keep up the good work! I think of this blog every time I visit my local Sbux (inside the local SuperTarget).

Eric said...

Brat, oh Brat
Whither art thou at?
Thine posts devine
For work's wasting time
Regailing tales of coffee sublime

snap snap snap snap

Marcus said...

ditto eric...

it seems like brat has taken a break!! *sigh*

entertain us brat! give me an excuse to take a pause from work...

Little Miss Manuel said...

Naughty boys. They need their legs slapped.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, and check for updates everyday. Are you on vacation? Have stupid people abandoned Bux? Hope all is well and you're brewing up more stories for us faithful! Thanks
Shannon

inspectorguy said...

We are really missing you here.

JD said...

brat! we miss you!

Anonymous said...

update update update UPDATE! :)

Manuel said...

Never waited this long for a cafine hit!

barista brat said...

sorry guys!!!!

new post is up and i hope to be more frequent with the entries.

BaristainCaliCentralValley said...

Wooooooooooooooooow. Thats amazing. Yesterday i was handed fake DEBIT CARD!!! Whats the point of THAT! Hahahahaha. This woman handed me a card with a bank logo, no visa logo, no little shiny sticker thing, the sequence of numbers was not spaced and looked like 23450000006666743 AND it expired on 12/49....HAHAHAHAHAHA. People are so ridiculous. You gotta love/hate our patrons. Also today through the drive though two custumers yelled and screamed at each other from different vehicles and would let me take their order... its nice to rant isnt it.

Whitney said...

Hmm, have they sped up the giving out of partner cards? I was at bux for 5 months and I never got one. So 4+ months of only being able to go to your own store for discount would suck.