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August 10, 2012


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That Guy

Everything is true except for the last part. It has been in effect since the begining of the refill program

Wasting My Life Hourly

So whats changed? you cant go back and get a free trenta no water light ice green tea after 5 hours of errands?


Unless I'm missing something, that's just a posting of the actual policy. Might they be having more problems than usual with customers understanding it?


Handmade signs are not allowed!


Becca... where did you get that from? It's up to the VP for your area. It's safe to say that 90% of stores have some form of handmade or printed signs for all kinds of things. Mainly used to advertise deals, or new promos.


I have also always been told that handmade signs aren't allowed.

Starbucksgossip Webmaster

It actually looks professional printed/displayed in the store. My photo may not do it justice.


HANDWRITTEN signs are not allowed in stores. Typed and neat is perfectly fine.

Happy Barista

My store is transitioning to this exact policy Aug. 20th. I work at a Seattle SBUX.


This store may be having a big issue with customers trying to get their free refills. It could have been a miscommunication from partner to customer, or partner (sm) to partner (barista) or even a partner not caring to enforce policy. The latter sadly happens too often which then creates the 'well that other store other yonder did it for me!'. However it is communicated to our customers, this is policy. And it may just be time that it is taken seriously at this store. I'm sure we each have something our own stores need to work on!

Barista Ben

Ideally we don't do handmade signs normally. But special events or things like this are usually ok. They just want to avoid you making weird advertisement type signs that look tacky.

Also, the refill policy drives me nuts. Some people try to get refills for days/weeks and it's beyond ridiculous. We had a store next to us sharing a cup for days at a time so we started writing the date on them. SHARING a cup! So gross.

And don't get me started on refresher refills. Seems like a lot of people/partners don't realize we don't do refills on that drink.


I've always been under the impression that non-lord-and-master-approved signs are verboten, but I could very well be wrong.


We have a terrible problem with this issue. Our GM doesn't enforce. She lets the baristas rule the floor. We have people bringing in cups days old, but there is nothing an individual can do. Fighting the masses. Just another example of lack of communication & leadership following company policy!

Starbucksgossip Webmaster

At this store, and another Evanston SBUX that I frequent, I often see customers walking in with used cups and wanting to get a free refill. This store has a fairly new manager and he probably got tired of seeing the funky old cups and issued the crackdown. Good for him.


My store had to do this a while back. The policy is stated correctly but most stores "Just say yes". My store had such a problem with it we posted the policy for a couple months and then removed the sign. We had A LOT of customers coming in hours later or using their cup from the day before. Seems to have worked.


the problem will always be, that the CSC whereever it is now.... will make us look foolish, and give anybody who complains 5 free beverage coupons... making it pointless to enforce.
and that's their jobs, to retain customers who are unhappy... but they honestly have to deal with level 5 customers, when we have to deal with level 1-4. so that sign will stay up.... until it comes down, and then the cycle starts again.


That's been our policy for as long as there's been a policy. If you stay in the store, free gold card refills (otherwise they're $0.50). If you leave and come back, no refills.


This has always been the policy, i think people are abusing it more and mnore. We had one gentleman that would bring in his old, dirty cup every day and want the refil price...just say yes...was what we had to do...


The refill policy is in the Beverage Resource Manual


Dear Partners. Just say, "no, I'm sorry but store and corporate policy offers free refills to customers to haven't left. However, I can offer you a 10cent discount if you want to use the same cup." It's not that hard. You don't need to get flustered or annoyed.


spence -

It's not that annoying once or twice a day, but after you get 15 people a day who give you crap for being the only person who enforces the policy, the negativity from customers gets exhausting. "Every other store refills it! Where is the policy posted? I've never heard it before. Stop being so cheap! Well then, no tip for you!" etc. As far as I know, none of the menu boards or signs that Sbux provides us actually has the policy stated in writing, so it's like Sbux won't even back us up. The only place I've been able to find it is in fine print on the gold card pamphlets, so if this store wants to post signs, more power to them! Our DM won't let us do the same.

I <3 music

Being profitable is part of our guiding principals. This isn't a just say yes policy. That being said I've had dm's say "just say yes". Then later say go by the policy only later to go back to "just say yes". This is just one of the examples of them waffling.

S Jergens

The refill policy used to be on a sticker placed on the front of the pos terminal where the customer could read it.


This has been in effect, it is in the gold card info material! People would bring in old dirty cups that are fallingapart and ask for a refill!


I find this also a little funny, as you are supposed to also replace the cup with a new one if someone comes to you for a refill.


It's just coffee, or tea, people. Get over it-customer loyalty, brand protection-that's what affords your paychecks; not your over-inflated sense of policy enforcement! Entitled baristas, you pour out more coffee in a day than you would serve as a refill I venture to say. Just say yes. It's what we've always said-it is our service standard. Get off your soap box.


There's no entitlement involved in following a stated company policy, concerned. Starbucks has it "officially" posted everyone an employee can see, that we are to not give refill price to people who come in hours/days after their last visit. When your entire business IS coffee and tea, it's not a matter of "pff just one cup a few cents less". Thousands of stores, most of which are plagued by upper management being unable to take a strict stance on this, with anywhere from 10 to 100 customers per store abusing this policy. Everyday. Crunch the numbers and tell me "it's just coffee, or tea". I hold stock in this company and I don't like seeing our profits being frittered away because of greedy entitled customers and weak management.


I work in a very high traffic store in a small town full of uppity, high maintenance customers. Some sit there for hours on end and some come in straight from their car with a 3 day old cup to get their refill. I even have some customers who approach the POS with no cup, no receipt, no proof that they were even there that day demanding a refill. It's gotten to a point where myself and my partners feel threatened by the "call to corporate" that our customers hold over our heads on a daily basis. We also have a large number of customers who pull this one: they buy, lets say, a Venti Iced Americano...3 hours later they bring in the cup and say they want a refill on Iced Coffee. I'm sorry, you purchased a beverage that doesn't come with free refills, why does the fact that you are holding a Iced Venti cup entitle you to a refill of a different drink? It's gotten so out of hand and my SM has no idea how to correct it. Perhaps I can suggest a sign like this...although I'm sure it'll get called into corporate and tweeted to our DM and RM like everything else in our store. Sneeze the wrong way and it's been photographed, videotaped and sent to the upper management. Sorry to rant, but I was just glad to see we aren't the only store suffering from refill abuse.


And BTW, with all the technology Starbucks has at its disposal, why can't they figure out a way to track purchases on the Gold Card that will automatically charge the refill price if within the 2 hour refill policy timeframe? They have all the resources and access to the required information to make it work, instead they invested in Square. What gives?


Chaos, the two hour time frame hasn't existed in years.

Mrs. T

Actually, chaos, it doesn't matter what your original beverage is, you can still get a refill - the refill can just only be brewed coffee or tea.


The two hour time limit doesn't exist? When did they change that and where does it state the new refill policy?
Also, buying a drink does not entitle you to get a refill of coffee or tea unless you originally purchased a coffee or tea. You wouldn't go to a restaurant that serves all you can eat crab legs and ask for a lobster tail with your second helping. It's common sense.
Another problem at my store are customers who get tea lemonades and think they come with free refills. We've had too many customers get away with it for so long that now when I tell them they only save 10 cents on the refill they look a me like I'm a Starbucks Nazi. Just sayin!


"Also, buying a drink does not entitle you to get a refill of coffee or tea unless you originally purchased a coffee or tea."

It does if the company says so. Are you Howard Schultz? No? Then read the rules. Not like it's a complicated policy, jeez.


Starbucks has created a monster of a customer. You cannot buy a coffee, come back three hours later with an empty cup and expect a Refill. I tell every Customer with a registered card that they are entitled to free hot coffee, iced coffee, and iced tea refills IF THEY ARE STAYING IN THE STORE. That is company policy, and if the customers don't like it, OH WELL.


Dear Concerned, in regards to your comment "it's just coffee and tea, get over it" .....consider this: SBUX has approx 7800 company operated stores in US. At 360 days in a year X 7800 stores, thats 2,808,000 total days. Being conservative, if each store were to miss 2 sales opportunities by just saying yes and giving away 2 Grande coffees that would be 5,516,000 total missed sales. At $2.00 per missed sale that would total $11,232,000. Hmmmmmm, not chump change and surely a good reason to reconsider store policy on refills. I am now jumping off my soap box.


I love the line, "I'd like MY refill". Yes, your majesty.


My store is a kiosk store in a busy mall and our manager says no to anything but brewed coffee and tea, even then only if we can swear up and down that we've seen them here earlier in the day. Tough luck for the woman who comes every morning to get a "refill Americano" at 730 am when we open.


Regardless of the original beverage purchased you are entitled to a refill of Hot or Iced coffee or tea or a cafe' Misto. It doesn't matter what you originally purchased. It could have been a Mocha, Pumpkin spice Latte, etc....

Look it up. It is right in the beverage resource manual.

I think it is kinda funny how people get mad if we do not give them the refill price. I mean there is no logic as to why Starbucks would allow such a thing. Would you go the the next Wendy's down the road and demand a refill of your dr pepper. Or would you go through Drive Thru and order a 32 oz sprite spit in to two 16 oz cups?


when i worked there this was one of my biggest annoyances. if you're sitting there all day fine. but don't come in with a nasty old paper cup EXPECTING a $.50 refill that will then be free when you swipe your gold card. starbucks is a business and needs to make profit to stay a business.

there are times now that i work or study from starbucks and will be there for 6-8hrs at a time and have several refills. but i would never leave and come back and expect one.

this was in the BRM years ago when i worked there. it's not a new rule. it just seems like this store is finding a way to get all of their customers on the same page and enforce it. good for them.

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