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March 29, 2005


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Boston Starbucks Rebel

Hey. These are very true words. I usually give away free drinks and could really care less if you are stealing, unless you are sociopath. Those people, I make them pay. If you intend to try this pattern time and time again, be aware that baristas do recognize you after the third time and you are black-listed. I had a customer who tried to get extra shots of espresso by confusing us. I pointed this out to the management and there were notices psoted in the communication log. Let's just say that customer did not get away with it again. Repeated behavior is not acceptable when the person attempts to deceive. I think Rule 1, 2 and 3 is basically wrong. 4 is okay I think because if the drink is waiting there for 3 minutes then the person most likely didn't want it or there was duplication. The drink would most likely be thrown away in a few more minutes. 5 is a good rule, a quid pro quo. I think this is the only acceptable rule. Rule 1, 2 and 3 is absolutely unacceptable and I will stop any person who attempts to execute them.


Yeah, I get a few of these guys. Sometimes, they even have the gall to relclaim me for not recieving a beverage coupon.


I work in one of the busiest stores in DC, it is pretty crazy in the morning, but you won t get anything if you do it more than once, we will remember you!
The rule where you talk about calling the baristas by their names doesn t work, almost all my regulars call me by name, but if they ask for an extra shot of something, I let them know that "it is on me today, it will be $$ next time" ..I do it in a polite and professional way, they understand.

A Cunning Stunt

I think most people dislike scammers not because they're getting free stuff, but because the scammer's default approach is "Hey, you look stupid. Maybe you'll fall for this." It's a personal insult.

It's also fun to catch scammers in the act. Once you know what they do, it's so obvious. And they're so persistent in their belief that anyone they're dealing with is an idiot, it takes them a long time to realize they've been found out.

I had great fun working in the Starbucks Card department this past holiday season. Every day, you'd have some dedicated individual trying to pull off credit card fraud. Out goes the APB to all the phone reps, and as such a small department you could actually listen in as that individual made the rounds of all the reps, never a clue as to what was going on. Amusing stuff on a slow day. :)

Partner 1139XXX

Yeah, I've seen a couple of people try it, it's pretty annoying. I just don't understand why people feel the need. I mean it's not like they're ripping off the system, the price structure is built in such a way that we can lose a few drinks through the cracks, but it's still stealing. Since when did people find this morally okay?

If you think you're merely stealing from a large faceless corporation, think of this, the face of Starbucks is every barista who smiles at you at 5 in the morning as you drag yourself to work, it's the barista who smiles as you and your friends get together for an afternoon latte, it's the Howard Schultz's and Orin Smith's who went against the grain of the business world and created not just a company but an entire market. These are the faces of Starbucks, these are the people that you are ripping off. Thanks.


It is amazing how often customers try to get free drinks or just get mad if you charge them for what they ask. I would say it's a daily basis that at least one customer tries something. For example I had a lady who want a tall latte but poured in a venti cup and then filled with foam to the top, so in other works, a venti cappuccino but she refused to pay that, she only wanted to be charged for the tall latte and didn't think she should pay for the additional milk. I could get on here everyday and list two or three attempts to get a free drink or something for free (i.e. a shot, a syrup, etc). I had a guy two days ago, who waited until he heard the timer on our coffee expire, then came up for a refill, but didn't want to be charged since we were throwing it away. I charged him anyway, it is the policy, and he threw a fit like a five year old in my store, yet he drove up in a BMW. It's amazing. And don't get started on the service recovery coupons, there are customers who will demand these for any reason. Say the condiment bar is out of napkins, they will come up and say "your condiment bar is out of napkins, I should get a coupon or something for having to wait", amazing?!?!?

boston barista

Our store has a guy who literally never pays. He orders a coffee, then stalls with friendly conversation or pretends to be looking for money until he gets it, then runs. He pretends to be absent minded but its obvious what he is doing. We could say, pay first, then coffee, but we are so used to being friendly and generous with everyone that it is really very difficult to be rude.


I will admit that I have thought about trying to scam a free drink at *$ before, but after having been a loyal starbucksgossip reader for a few months now, I'm always going out of my way to be nice to my local baristas. I see how hard they work and I wish I could tip them using my *$ card, they really deserve it. There's a lot of good baristas in the area and I feel bad for all the shit they have to put up with.


I had a customer come in one morning, she claimed she bought a venti coffee and spilled it outside. The store had only been open 2 hours and I was the only partner on register in that time, and she did not come in.

I overheard her friend say to her "hey you just stole that cup of coffee" and she just shrugged her shoulders like it was nothing.

Then to top it all off, she actually spilled the free cup of coffee in the cafe after she was 3/4 of the way finished with it and demanded another free one!

It was very hard to smile and say dont worry I'll get that for you and clean that mess up.

Boston Starbucks Rebel

Yes we had a customer who was obviously homeless. We felt bad for him so we would give him a tall cup of coffee. Afterwards he would come back and demand a free cup of coffee. A free one! The first one was given out of pity for him. He was also very rude and yelled at us for not having any cream on the condiment bar. I think Starbucks should have a list of all the people who try to steal coffee and stuff. This list would be shared by all the stores so we would all know about it. I'll see you around Boston barista.

Partner 1253***

I'd like a double tall decaf grande coffee please is my favorite...

People love rebelling by trying to take you...and your corporation, it is their way of getting back at society... =(


We have customers who order a tall whatever, and as soon they get their change they want to "make that a grande instead" or want it with syrup or an extra shot. You can tell who is doing it to steal and who simply changed their mind or couldn't decide. The latter say something like "how much more is that?" I charge the former the extra amount, but not the latter.
We also have people who want a venti cup of boiling water (double cup, flat lid) for their own tea or soup. They come in every day, never buy anything and never tip.
At the bar, people often point to a finished drink and say "what is this?" I never tell them but rather ask "what did you order?" Most are sincere or confused, but I figure there are some who are deciding what to steal.
There is the occasional adult ordering a kiddie hot chocolate, which is actually a short hot chocolate (and we rarely bother to make it at a cooler temperature).
But I feel guilty charging the regular amount when people order a glass of milk, so I ring it as a kiddie milk. The same goes for the new caramel mocha. It sells for 40 cents more, and it's merely a mocha with caramel drizzle on top!


How about this? Every couple months, this elderly couple comes into the store. He comes up to the counter and orders his tall drip, while she goes over to the condiment stand and fills her purse with raw sugar packets. Then, she comes up and orders her tall drip, while he goes back to the condiment stand and fills HIS pockets with raw sugar packets. Anyone else have that problem?

Or the one where someone orders an espresso over ice, then fills the cup with milk from the condiment stand to make an iced latte?

Boston Starbucks Rebel

Cornforst. The caramel mocha actually includes caramel syrup and sauce. Both of them requires added into the menu so it is important to charge the appropriate price and follow the recipe. Oh yeah, I decided now when I visit Starbucks, even though I am a partner I will order small, medium and large. Also, another point that I make a point people who ask for regular and give them mild coffee because they are most likely from the other coffee stores. Unless, they are regular customers and simply call it regular, they get the dark coffee. Yummy coffee! I am getting thirsty just thinking about it.


Yeah the caramel mocha recipe was just changed for Spring '05. My store puts the customer names on all the cups which eliminates a lot of stolen drinks off the bar. It seems to work well too the customers and baristas seem to make easier connections.


I will doublecheck the caramel mocha recipe. We all looked two weeks ago, and the recipe was an ordinary mocha with caramel drizzle, but that could well have been an outdated recipe. I feel better about the price increase if it includes caramel syrup.
On the topic at hand: We keep our honey behind the counter and dole it out on request. Otherwise people take handfuls of honey packets. And what about that refill thing? We basically charge for a refill to anyone who hands us an empty cup (from when and where it came, who knows?) and says "refill."


"Or the one where someone orders an espresso over ice, then fills the cup with milk from the condiment stand to make an iced latte?"

LOL i do that. I get an iced coffee, dump a fifth of the coffee in the trash and then fill it with half and half. I never have considered it stealing

Partner 1139XXX

I thought of another old trick tonight while closing down my store...I was told when I started that if someone tried to pay with a $50 or a $100 bill (quite common up here in Canada) that I was supposed to just promo their drinks and tell them that we don't really take those bills (assuming I knew I didn't have enough in my till).

One morning during a rush a guy and his friend come in and get two tall drips. The guy takes out a $50 and I get ready to promo the drinks when his friend "Oh don't pay with that! Here, I'll catch you this time" and pays with a $5. The guy replies with "Oh, but that's how I get free coffee!" Right at my face! Sheesh! Makes you wanna go postal on customers...

If they try to pay with a 50 or 100 and you can't make change you promo the drink. However if you can make change do it.


One morning a customer came in with $100. My barista asked him if he anything smaller, he said no, so she gave him the free coffee and newspaper. As he was leaving she overheard him saying how easy it was to get free coffee.

The next morning he came in with a $100 and ordered a coffee and a newspaper. The barista again asked if he had something smaller, he said "No". She then cheerfully rang him up and counted back 90 plus 1 dollar bills. When he responded, oh wait I have a $5, she responded, "Sorry, that $100 is in my drop box, I cannot get into it until after my shift".

He never tried to get free coffee again.


The moral of the story, we will be happy to take care of our loyal customers, even those random customers we have never seen before. But taking advantage of a kind act, will be rewarded in kind.

sbux manager chitown

It seems that every day someone comes in and says that she spoke to someone on the phone yesterday and that person said that they would comp the drink. Or give them a refund for 2 pounds of coffee when they don't even have the coffee or the reciept. Or someone takes a mug or a pound off of the wall and tries to "return it." I had a guy who would come in every day, be a complete asshole to everyone who worked there. He would get a venti coffee with 3 shots, which had to be poured on top of the coffee. He wanted lots of room, but not too much room. He also wanted it double-cupped. He would never tip, and always had a complaint. Too much room. Not enough room. You gave me decaf (I did do that a few times because he was such a jackass.) I watched this man a few times as he took the second cup, filled the entire thing with half and half, drank it, refilled it with half and half, drank it, and then poured half the coffee into the second cup, then filled both cups to the top with half and half. He must have drank two full carafes of half-and-half every freaking day! Then he saw me on the street one time and had the nerve to try and pass off some bullshit story about how he had gotten pick-pocketed and could he borrow six bucks from me. I told him to take a hike.

Daniel the Exiled

There are some Starbucks locations open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The register system has to be "closed" once every 24 hours for technical/bookkeeping purposes, the process takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete and the registers can't be used while this is taking place. Most stores will give customers their drinks for free if they happen to order during this time.

Apparently there many people now showing up during the closing time, even at the ungodly small hour of the morning it takes place, just to get free stuff. Stores now stagger their closing to minimize their impact.


Oh my god, spare me the idiotic "trying to get free one on me." People work to make your stupid coffee; you doing that is just an insult. Starbucks coffee aren't that expensive in the first place. If you want to "save" money or whatever just go to one of those coffee shops.


I have that lady, she comes in everyday gets her iced grande coffee, just a little bit of ice, and her venti cup of ice, what she does once at the condiment bar ..pour the grande in the venti, and..youpi!! GOT A VENTI ICED COFFEE...hourra!...now whatever she does, i can t afford to loose an everyday customer for that, but i wouldn t even notice if she tried to smile sometime and work on her attitude...
Note for the caramel mocha: It gets caramel sauce and syrup..and the cup ID is "CRM"...please.

Partner 1139XXX

We've got a lady who comes in and gets a doppio over ice in an iced venti cup then goes and fills them up with milk at the condiment stand.

The sad thing is that the price points are built to reflect that...so they're not ripping off the company, they're just ripping off each other...


Partner 1139xxx, maybe she didn't think about ripping off people. OR, maybe, just maybe, she just didnt care and the opportunity presented itself. Why would coffee drinkers care about ripping off the company? like it's the first thing one think of when on tries to pull of that sort of shit.

shift for starbucks

OK after working for Starbucks for 2 years and at other coffee shops before you tend to pick up pretty fast on the con artists. I don't mean the cheap people that make "poor man's latte's" at the condiment bar or the "make your own" iced coffee people or the cup of hot water for my own tea bag people. Here are some examples of what I do mean. Ex. 1)Customer comes mills around until as a fresh pot is brewing they are offered an americano for the same price as coffee but CHOOSE to wait (we may or may not ask them to pay for the coffee depending on the wait time and attitude) after handing them the coffee they ASK you to give them a coupon. Ex. 2) a wrong total is given BUT is corrected before they pay and then they ask for a coupon. Ex 3) they order the wrong drink (want iced not hot, want cafe vanilla not vanilla bean) you re-make the new drink free of charge and then want coupons. Pretty much anything else DESERVES a free drink or too. Just my humble opinion


Jeez, DC Bachelor, when do we get the primer on how to shoplift and do a dine-and-dash at a restaurant? Oh, and I've been thinking about knocking over a liquor store; any pointers?

What an ass.


Can anybody remember the 'STAR SKILLS' by memory?


I try not to grumble about some of the customers...b/c sometimes they are just having a bad day and they need their coffee. But come on! I dont know how some of these people look at themselves in the mirror every morning knowing that they are complete jerks to some college students that are just trying to pay their bills.

For example...I rolled into work at 4:45 am the other day and a man comes barging into the store b/c he was in a "hurry" he orders a tall coffee for him and his wife and whips out a $100 bill...and expects me to break it. THEN...after he gets the coffee for free meanders through the cafe and sits on the sofa where he reads the FREE newpaper. Now..rewind a bit, he was in a "hurry" right? Then after an hour of suckin up all he could he spills his coffee all over his wife and claims we gave him a faulty cup on purpose. He made me mad, but i am not THAT mean.

seriously...some people need to get lives.



Star Skills:
- Listen and acknowledge
- Maintain and enhance self esteem
- Ask for help


And I could probably tell you what LATTE stands for, and the six guiding principles too. :)

Boston Starbucks Rebel

Actuall ASM you wrote them in the incorrect order. The first one is self-esteem, second is ask for help, third is listen and acknowledge. Also LATTE is actually L.A.T.T.E.


Boston Starbucks Rebel,
I didn't realize there was a specific order to the Star Skills. Looking over my RMT mid-point assessment, they list them in the following order: self esteem, listen and acknowledge, and ask for help. And of course L.A.T.T.E. is an acronym-- sometimes I give them periods, and sometimes not, FWIW.


I love the iced doppio/iced latte trick.

I always tip around $.75 though.

Does that still make it wrong?


I have this one guy come in my store who orders a doppio and a veinte ice. He proceeds to the condiment bar and uses the whole pitcher of Half and Half to make an iced latte and when hes done he'll be like the pitcher needs to be refilled! No duh!

Boston Starbucks Rebel

This customer tried to have a venti vanilla soy latte remade because she said her last one did not have coffee. She was very mean. It was early morning so everyone was still there. Nobody remembered making a venti vanilla soy latte but of course we said yes. She then came in 10 minutes later, the cup empty and said that it was made incorrectly so we had to make her another one. We asked her which person rang her up and she said she couldn't remember. She said she came in every day but we never saw her before. We remade the drink and gave her a service recovery coupon. Then we went downstairs and sent out a general e-mail to all the stores warning of this possible scam.


yes. very wrong. you should tip us the difference in cost because we don't call you out for being the cheapskate you are, and continue to let you think you're pulling one over on us. you're the same guy who treats the produce section in the grocery store like a buffet, aren't you?


thanks all you wonderful baristas

Vancouver Barista

Seriously... these scams really work only once, maybe twice, at a starbucks location. By the second time, everyone in the store has been informed of 1) what you look like; 2) what you sound like; 3) what you order/tricks you try to pull... so unless you plan on doing this once at every starbucks in your town (think of the gas you waste)... it really doesn't work.
If you really are a regular to a particular store, and are nice to partners, we'll just give you free stuff... it's like here... take this... TAKE IT!
The doppio over ice in a venti cup... then filled with milk at the condiment stand... yeah... ripping starbucks off will only cost YOU more... the company allows a certain amount for condiment dairy usage... and calculates that as part of the cost of operating... if you abuse that... it'll be reflected in future price changes. it is a global merchandaiser of coffee, it takes the form of your local coffee shop, and mostly is a local coffee shop in the way it interacts with its community... but behind all that is a company like all others, and losing money isn't a good thing for any company, big or small. If you wouldn't do it in a mom and pop shop, don't do it anywhere... it's wrong regardless...


Ya, well yesterday we had a customer throw her change back at us through the drive through window, because we droped one of her pennies! Can you believe that? Hillarious!


Are those starbucks free couponss legit? Because I want to get a few from ebay for the family for the holiday gifts. I'm a bit leary because it seems to many people are selling them on ebay.

The ads usally read " 10 coupons for $25. Each coupon will get you a free drink at Starbucks Coffee. You can choose ANY SIZE and ANY TYPE of drink, with as many number of extra espresso shots, syrup, any kind of milk or soy added to each drink as desired and you won’t have to pay anything. This makes the value of these coupons up to $10. The possibilities are endless.

Treat yourself or someone special with these coupons good for all drinks in all sizes."

White Mocha Question

Just a quick question for someone that works at starbucks.. I am new to starbucks & really enjoy the frappichinos.. I ordered a White Mocha Venti Frap the other day & it tasted rotten!! I told them it tasted funny & they made me a different drink. They looked at me like I was lying but was not.. Why would this drink taste rotten??

Also, I saw people selling Starbucks coupons on EBay for cheap... They are called recovery coupons for free drinks any size. Are these legit & how do you get them> THANKS


Wow, I don't have a clue why it would taste 'rotten', that's strange! I wonder if the base was bad. I've only been working at Starbucks for about a month and that's one thing I'm very impressed with and that's their quality and standards of their products. Dates (numbers 1-7) are posted on EVERYTHING like that when it's made so you don't keep it a day over. Very weird.


Also, I saw people selling Starbucks coupons on EBay for cheap... They are called recovery coupons for free drinks any size. Are these legit & how do you get them> THANKS

The only way I could think that these are being sold on Ebay is that an employee or 'former' employee (more likely) stole them and is selling them on Ebay. and yes they are probably 'legit' for lack of a better word, but 'hot', if you get my drift. Just a guess but I can't think any other way that they'd be available.


Thanks, If any of you are employees that are pissed with your job & need some extra cash hook me up with some coupons!!! I will pay you thru paypal or money order. I would like as many as I can get for a good price!!
email me at kenandselena@cableone.net
Put STARBUCKS in the subject line


So I'm online searching for starbucks information and happen to come across this website. Ive been with the company 7 years and have got to say that some of you people are pretty pathetic. Its a freaking job. The fact that you have to be a loser and come on here and bitch about how stupid our customers are and how much they try to rip us off and (heaven help me) correct someone for not putting the damn Star Skills in order is REALLY sad. Dont you people do enough of this at work? Get a life, losers.....


wow, talk about corporate tools...seriously, what do you care if you give someone a cup of freakin *coffee* for free? its just a cup of coffee, not to mention you are all being exploited by your employers (i mean come on, you know an hour of your time is worth more than what you're getting paid). so cast down your shackles, denounce your slave drivers and be a person of the people!! its not just starbucks that ruins lives, it's all jobs that pay too little and expect too much that are the problem. so give your fellow man a break and ask yourself whos the real jerk, the guy who want a stupid cup of coffee for free or the man who robs you of your saturday afternoon to so you make 6.50 an hour while he make 400% per cup. cmon guys, dont buy into the management's b.s. we're the real working folk, serving real people, and if one of them asks for a free cup, why not give it 'em? you deserve it! who are you to say someone else doesnt?

Starbucks actually pays all of its baristas more than minimum wage even at entry. The company also ensures timely review....and I've never seen a barista not receive a raise. Then there's the HUGE amount of opportunity to move forward in the company and be paid a fair wage with that upward mobility....Oh, and how about personal days, vacation time and benefits for even part time employees....not to mention all the free beverages you can drink during your shift and one for the road......Oh, did I mention the free pound of coffee per week????



I want to know where I can get those free Any Drink, Any Size Drink Coupons. If anyone has them,please drop me a line!


I'm a regular at several starbucks locations in Boston, and I wanted to say THANK YOU to the nice baristas, BITE ME to the rude customers (like the ones who think they're more important than every other living creature who ever was...don't MAKE me spill my soylatte on you!), and thank you to Starbucks for having soy-based bevvies. This is the intial reason I started drinking starbucks- dunkin' doesn't have soy, nor do a lot of indie shops (yes I know, some do, blah blah). Anyhoo, you Washington Square (Brookline) kids ROCK!!!!

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