Wednesday, June 08, 2011

An Incident at Starbucks

Location: A very busy Starbucks in north Phoenix.
Scenario: A middle-aged man in a polo shirt and shorts rushes in and orders a coffee. When the barista starts to ring up the order, the customer holds up a $100 bill and says, "This is all I've got." The barista calls over a manager and they start a lengthy search for change. The customer adds a newspaper to his purchase. A long line forms.
Conclusion of episode: The guy gets $93 in change, says a quick "Thanks" to the guy at the register, and departs.
Questions: I know where I fall on this matter but which one of the following responses reflects your views?

  1. The guy was an uncaring jerk. He should have waited until he had smaller bills.

  2. It's not his fault. Businesses should be able to handle such transactions without undue delay.

  3. It's not a big deal and I see no ethical issues.

  4. The guy was rude but he probably didn't realize it. Can't we all just get along?

  5. The staff should have told him they can't handle such large denominations. Stiff the weasel.

  6. Nothing here that a severe flogging wouldn't cure.


gmagana said...

Sorry, I would not choose any of the choices. My choice would be a #7:

"Boy, there are inconsiderate a-holes in the world but it's not worth my time or my getting angry about it... The employee should have set the guy aside, made him wait, and attend to other customers while change was found. Hmm, I should really stop wasting my money at Starbucks... It really adds up over time"

Kurt Harden said...

I see no ethical issues. The manager should handle the search for change while the barista eases the line.

Eclecticity said...

I will weigh in with a #2 please, with whole milk.

Kurt is just about right though too.


Anonymous said...

Not a big deal. I realize most people pay by card, but your are telling me that the Starbucks didn't have four $20 bills and a single $10 bill anywhere in the store?

Anonymous said...

At least here in Brasil, Starbucks is expensive, but we don't need - yet - a US$100.00 bill to buy a coffee! :)

I agree with Kurt.


Jack J. Foley. said...

To an extent I wonder if change isn't the issue. Using a $100 on a very small transaction is a great way to get good money in exchange for counterfeit bills. The manager has a responsibility to the business to assure there isn't a problem. Most small ticket shops around me won't take anything over a $20 as a means to minimize counterfeit bill losses.

It would have been nice if the manager had pulled him to the side so the line could keep going for everyone else - but that's just a customer service issue - not an ethics issue.

Anonymous said...

Number 2.
Plus the guy bought a newspaper as well.

anna said...

I remember a hidden camera clip where a dining couple paid for their meal with pennies. In most instances, the wait staff called the shift manager who generally acted very pissed when he/she saw the mountain of pennies. But why get an attitude? Money is money - it shouldn't feel personal.