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June 08, 2010


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It seems unfair to me. I know it'd also be unfair to ban SBUX employees from Foursquare (I don't know much about it, but apparently it's worth joining) but there has to be a way to prevent this from happening. Partners already get their discounts, so I consider anything on top of that cheating.

Jim  Romenesko

You don't have to ban Starbucks employees from using Foursquare, but it seems to me that Starbucks should tell employees that Foursquare promotions are for customers and, therefore, employees shouldn't "check in" at their stores.

Drinky Crow

It's $1 off of a Frappuccino. Who cares? Quit being a whiny little baby.

Most employees are scheduled 5 days a week or less. You could beat them out by going 6-7 days a week anyhow. Anyone who stops by for coffee on their way to work would be checking in 5 days a week as well, so it's not like there isn't equivalent competition from non-employees.


I agree with the "whiny little baby" comment. Sorry, it's just a stupid internet application. Is being the "mayor" of Starbucks that important to you?


"Who cares? Quit being a whiny little baby."

Eh, it's not a big deal, but if you actually play foursquare it doesn't make a whole lotta sense, not to mention it defeats the whole point of the promotion, and the whole point of foursquare itself.


I agree with James. This promotion (I guess) is done to get customers involved and reward them for achieving whatever goal they're supposed to. Having a partner reach that goal robs potential and/or devoted customers from getting a discount. It's not a Free Drink Coupon, but it's something.

And for the record, I don't see any whining thus far.


Of course it's unfair since most people check in where they work. I'm the mayor at my starbucks where I work but they never told me anything a while back that they were going to a foursquare mayor promotion.

is it so hard to be civil

partners are customers


There is a way for employees to check in without becoming mayor. Foursquare added this recently.


Mitch: "Is being the "mayor" of Starbucks that important to you?"

From the article:
"I really don't care that much"

Where do people get 'whining' from an email that says 'I was curious'?


Wanting to be "mayor" of a Starbucks is pathetic.


...Wanting to be "mayor" of a Starbucks is pathetic. - elliot

But not as pathetic as taking the time to write to tell someone else they're pathetic. Seriously, are kids out of school?

Look, of course it's wrong. Almost any contest like this (auto dealerships, radio stations etc.) bans employees from playing (and often times their family also).

It can also be illegal. I'm guessing starbucks can get away with it because it's a foursquare promotion, but that's pretty lame. It's still starbucks giving the dollar off.

...partners are customers

You might have a point if the starbucks employee was going to a different starbucks when he was off, but he's not. The promotion is to get people to go to starbucks and buy coffee. An employee coming into work isn't the same thing.

...It's $1 off of a Frappuccino. Who cares? Quit being a whiny little baby. -drinky crow

But it's not just 1 dollar off. If the person took your advice to go 7 times a week to beat the employee working 5 times a week (a ridiculous statement, but I'm ignoring that), then he/she would save 7 dollars a week.

That's 28 dollars a month. The promotion ends in a month, but what if starbucks has a monthly promotion that changes the entire year? That's 336 dollars.

Maybe you're rich and 300 bucks a year is no big deal. It is to me, and I'm guessing many other also.


I have been on foursquare almost from it's inception a little over a year ago. I am also a Starbucks partner and mayor of my store on foursquare. Since the promotion began I have stopped checking in when I go to work. However, it could be years before anyone steels the mayorship from me, unfortunately. I didn't see this whole promotion thing coming or I would have never become mayor. I'd much rather some customer benefit from the $1 off Frappuccino coupon. I understand foursquare is trying to fix this and I have now listed myself as an employee but still, I remain mayor. And BTW, it is just another Internet 'game' 'social' kind of thing. So, let's just all get on with our lives... cappuccino anyone?


1st) Foursquare is an App open to everyone. I was checking in at the Starbucks I work at to let my friends know I was at work without having to text or call them. It was convenient and a little fun at the same time.

2nd) I became Mayor of my Starbucks. It was a fun joke between the 5 of us that had the App installed and used it. Everyone was fine with it then.

3rd) Promotion came out. People started to complain including one of my friends. I, myself, decided that the appropriate reaction would be to stop checking in unless I was SOLELY visiting the establishment on my own time and was paying for my items.

4th) Everyone really should get over it. Foursquare was not designed so employees of establishments could jerk customers out of promotions. Why doesn't everyone just do what the creators intended, Have Fun.


And for the record, I am no longer mayor. Mayorship has passed through 2 different customers who both visit, at the very least, twice a day.


well said @LongStrangeRoad

@jess it's not a contest, it's not illegal and Starbucks is not 'getting away' with anything


Who gives a shit??? My only comment is that it is truley a shame that someone took the time to call corporate over this. This is such an example of the nonsense that we have to deal with. Hopefully, the caller was rewarded with several free beverage coupons.


HA HA! We had a customer call corporate last week because we were out of chocolate curls. SERIOUSLY! Some people just have way too much time on their hands.


What seems wrong to me is that so many people think that they are so important that they feel the need to let everybody know exactly where they are at all times.

But I guess that's more of a "big picture" analysis. Just sayin...

Barista Ben

I am mayor of my store, and four others. I spend a lot of time at the bux


The partner who checks in probably doesn't even use the $1 off coupon since they would be getting free drinks before, during, and after work anyways. I'm sure the partner has been using the Foursquare app since before this promotion started recently. And if I'm not mistaken, when you check in you're only checking in once, so in theory if a customer comes to the store, they can check in, and then when they leave and come back later, check in again...

At my store we have one guy who is the mayor of the store and he doesn't even drink frappuccinos so the coupon is useless to him!


The response from Starbucks is classic. Cut & paste much, anyone?

David Millar

It's not really unfair. A lot of people stop into Starbucks multiple times per day several days a week. If a lowly part-time employee has more check-ins than you, Mr. or Mrs. High-and-Mighty Starbucks Regular, than I guess you just aren't enough of a regular to get the $1 off deal.


I was mayor of a store for about a week before a partner who uses 4sq came back from vacation, and yup, she's the mayor. Funny thing is, I only stop at that store for my morning joe, I go elsewhere for frappucinos.


I don't go anywhere that much except at home and work so using 4sq would be pointless. Can a prostitute check into their bedroom?


I am the mayor of my Starbucks as well as I am mayor of the Planned Parenthood down the street as well.

If I go to my store while not on the clock and get a beverage they charge me for it. I think that means I am a customer or something.


Employees do not have an advantage on FourSquare. You can only check into the same venue once, so on a single shift the employee would only get one checkin per day, and only works 5 days a week, whereas many Starbucks customers visit 7 days a week and sometime multiple times, easily getting more checkins than any employee.

Melody (reply to BostonStarbucksRebel)

@BostonStarbucksRebel - Sure a prostitute can check into their own bedroom. You can create new locations. Heck, I added the King County Jail to Foursquare, and lo and behold, I'm the mayor of something now! hahaha!

The work around to this problem IS to add another location. It's possible to create duplicates with slightly different names. For some reason, 1912 Pike Place has like 3 Foursquare entries. The customer who wrote the email to Starbucks could simply go to Foursquare, add another location, and like magic, problem solved. One for the customer, one for the partner, and both get to be mayors. Win win! I realize it's not what foursquare or Starbucks intended, but I think it would work. (Has anyone tried this?)


My Starbucks has mulitple locations marked in 4Square, with the addresses slightly off, but only one of those locations has the promotion listed on it. We have a paper that has a picture of exactly what the screen on their phone should look like if they are the mayor. I figured this out b/c I was checking in at the wrong store...I work there and I did steal Mayor from a customer! He stole it back the next day, so I'm probably just going to let him keep it. He doesn't get Frappuccionos, so I'm sure he doesn't care...

John G.

if customer would grow up and stop compling about little promos about stuff it is now more then likely that its going to stop now becase this guy had to right in and post it on a blog and now proble got the guy fired becase four square is open to EVERYONE boo hoo grow up and stop caring about your self


...or you could just sit at your office and "check in" whenever you wanted...

Is that how this works? Do you literally have to be at the place?

Either way, it's all pretty dumb. Plus, it's one dollar off of a fatty, fatty drink that really, honestly, no one needs.


..Wanting to be "mayor" of a Starbucks is pathetic. - elliot

But not as pathetic as taking the time to write to tell someone else they're pathetic. Seriously, are kids out of school? -Jess

Pot, meet kettle.


Root cause of problem here is that Starbucks jumped on a public app and tried to promote from it. If they would have created their own version of this app, who knows, call it Starbucksville, then it would have the ability to restrict usage to non-employees.


Maybe it is just me, but I don't understand the whole idea of broadcasting where you are every minute of the day. Seems like a good way to get robbed or acquire a stalker. And provide a lot of free marketing information to corporations. I know you can limit it, but it still seems odd to me. To each his/her own.


@formerpartner starbucks didn't make up the idea of mayors with benefits, so they didn't jump anything


@knowledgebeforespeaking, when Starbucks created a promotion based on an established application that was not proprietary, then did "jump" onto a public app and tried to make it apply to their own promotion.

It was like trying to force a square out of a circle. Are you telling me that no one in marketing could have forecasted that possibly Sbux employees, of whom visit stores for work frequently, might impact the success of the promotion by taking on the role of mayor?

It just takes a few more steps in the train of thought to get there. And this is my point- Starbucks loves to create promotions and marketing that doesn't work because they don't do any analysis of the potential success or pitfalls.


I wonder what would happen if a man checked in a house of ill repute and then his wife found out?


The 4Square deals that only cater to the person that holds the mayor title are pretty silly, if you ask me. It doesn't encourage new business. It encourages the same regular to keep coming back to hold his position. I think the much more effective deals are where you get something on your 5th or 10th or whatever checkin. It rewards true regulars and potentially gets new people to make it a regular spot. Starbucks can change their "prize" on 4Square any time.


Failure on Starbucks for offering such a promotion without thinking. Most of my friends on Foursquare are mayors of their respective workplaces--isn't that the point? Check-in to where you are. This is a great chance for Foursqaure to show what they're made of and find a solution to this problem.

I can't believe people actually complained. It's actually quite humorous people care so much.


This is too lame. Let's move on.


I'm the mayor at my store, once the promotion started I stopped checking in for this very reason - sadly no one has taken my "mayorship" away from me.


"I can't believe people actually complained. It's actually quite humorous people care so much."

I'm the person that wrote the email to starbucks and then wrote starbucks gossip. So maybe I can answer your observation.

I didn't complain. I found the fact that the guy giving me my coffee was the same guy winning the promotion that very store set up kind of funny. Can you not see how that's funny?

I wrote starbucks corp just to see what their policy was. I specifically told them that I didn't care, nor did I want anyone to get into trouble. I was simply curious.

As far as 'caring so much', it's a dollar is a dollar, and since I go about 4 times a week, that means if I were the mayor I'd get a free drink a week. Hey, I'd love a free drink a week.

I do find it 'humorous' that you cared so much to write that you find it humorous someone would care so much. Go you!

"Maybe it is just me, but I don't understand the whole idea of broadcasting where you are every minute of the day."

I check into starbucks and a few restaurants that give specials. I do it sporadically. It takes about 20 seconds each time. That is not 'every minute of every day'. Perhaps you could make sure you understand what something is before adding your commentary :)

"The 4Square deals that only cater to the person that holds the mayor title are pretty silly, if you ask me. It doesn't encourage new business. It encourages the same regular to keep coming back to hold his position."

Sure it does. It's encourages others to try and take the title away.

Anyway, again, I don't give a damn about being mayor. And I don't care enough about the dollar to talk to the manager, which is what I would have done if I did.

I just find it funny that a store that is running a promotion gives the award to an employee. I've never heard of that. But now I have :)

just curious

random question, i've been reading some of these threads about cheap drinks. i've noticed, i will order a tall coffee in a grande coffee with soy topper. i usually get charged for a tall coffee and that's it. once in a while if i go to a different starbucks i will get charged for a grande. i really don't care which one it is, i'm just wondering what would be the right way to charge for this drink?

just curious

also--agreed with most posters, i totally don't get the point of foursquare.


@former partner for a company to not get involved when others are already so, and when their customers are clamoring would not have been a wise step. Pull your undies out of your crack


@just curious
if you want to fill a 16 oz grande cup with 12 oz of coffee topped with soy milk (4 oz), the proper charge would be tall coffee + 40 cents for add dairy + 40 cents for add soy (though I don't think any one would charge for dairy and soy.) If you're getting 10 oz of coffee and 2 oz of soy, with 4 oz of room, it should just cost a tall.



I'm not too keen on charging people for dairy or soy if it's just a bit at the top, since we don't charge people for the dairy they use at the condiment bar. However, when someone orders a tall in a grande cup, I personally use this rule: if they just want a little soy/dairy as a topper and only wanted the larger cup so they can leave room at the top, I charge for the tall. If they want it filled up to the top with milk, I see no reason why I should be charging for only a tall. They're getting 16 oz worth of drink, we just can't act like the milk "doesn't count". I had someone ask for a tall coffee in a venti cup, filled to the top with 2%, who got mad that I charged him for a venti coffee, like the milk and the fact that he's getting a full 20 oz drink is nothing. Of course, you seem to be very accommodating about the issue, especially since there doesn't seem to be a set policy. There's always "just saying yes", which most people do when people ask to be charged for a tall in a grande cup, but there's also the fact that someone is getting a bigger size for less, or the view that we should charge "add dairy" so we get the labor or charge correctly or what have you. Thanks for being so patient with us when we even differ so much amongst ourselves! :) My take is that if you got 16 oz worth of drink, their charging you for a grande was a good thing to do.


Yayyyyyy! The receipt treat is coming back. June 29 through Oct 4th. After 2pm, Any grande cold beverage will be $2 with a morning receipt. Gotta love it. The afternoons will be busy.


LV: There is a set poilcy in the Beverage Resource manual. 4 or more ounces of milk is charged for.


Javagirl is right. Anything more than 4oz is supposed to be charged as add dairy.

I've heard partners suggest to customers who ask for extra room to order it in a bigger cup. THis is maddening! Milk is even more expensive then coffee ajnd when they get that much milk it's supposed to be charged as add dairy.

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