Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Plastic – No Service.”



I heard an interesting bit of semi-news, semi-advertising this morning. On the morning news it was awkwardly disguised as a Business Report.

The heavily caffeinated executives in Seattle have announced that Starbucks (St. Arbucks to you and me) is going to convert one of its stores in the Great Northwest into a “Cashless Store.” What they mean by that is that all transactions will be handled by credits and debits – no green pieces of paper will change hands –unless they are advertisements or Hold Up Notes.

When I was growing up a “Cashless Store” was one that was going out of business.

The talking head News Parrot said that St. Arbucks has something like 14 million people enrolled in their “Rewards Program” – that’s what they call their Affinity Card which is attached to a bank account and acts as a rotating debit card. Use it to pay for your coffee and eventually you “earn” a free cuppa or munchies. 14 million people – that figure surprised me. I would have expected that number to actually be closer to 100 million. There are stores all over the world and I would imagine a few on the Moon and Jupiter. There is even a Starbucks inside The Pentagon. That store is, conversely, a “Cash Only” operation. No Personal Information laden plastic cards used there. For the rest of us though – it looks like the future is going the other way.

I see several stumbling blocks along the way with this up-to-date, Uber-hipster, skinny jeans only, Millennials on the go, idea. Follow along with me on this. I will have to use the St. Arbucks where I am currently sitting as an example.

Picture if you will…

Mid-afternoon on a warm Spring day. School lets out and a flock of Middle School kids come into St. Arbucks on their way home or to their next vandalism target. They want to get a big ol’ iced milky drink with enough caffeine and sugar to light up the sky. Are these kids going to have those pieces of gold plastic in their pockets? No. What parent with even half a brain is going to give a pubescent eventual ward of the court anything that has electronic access to the family bank account? Today’s computer savvy kids could open up that magnetic strip and have all that information in three seconds. You think they would stop at a Frappuccino or two? Within minutes they would hack the nearest ATM and be making airline and hotel reservation for Las Vegas.

I know that I’m right. Seattle does not.

In a more mundane program flaw are those people, and they are out there, who refuse to sign up for any Affinity Cards on some sort of principle. They are jealous of their private purchasing information. They don’t care that they might be missing out on a free Cake-Pop or a Bacon/Cheese Sandwich. They like to keep their habits to themselves. When they buy something, anywhere, they do so in cash. Many of them don’t even have a credit rating. So, if they saunter into a “Cash-Free Starbucks” they are out of luck.

“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Plastic – No Service.”

Now that I think about it I have seen any number of people sans shoes and/or shirts slurping away inside of St. Arbucks. Thankfully they weren’t working there at the time.

You know what I think?

I think this whole story about opening up a “Cash Free” store is nothing more than a cleverly disguised piece of advertising. They put it out as a news release and 37,000 radio and TV outlets pick it up off the wire and run with it. Six billion dollars worth of free publicity. Very clever those Seattleites. Put out a story that will get people talking – which may make them thirsty- and Bing!, Bang!, Boom!, they all head off to the nearest Starbucks.

A “Cashless” store? Yeah, right. Well there goes the Tip Jar.

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2 thoughts on ““No Shirt, No Shoes, No Plastic – No Service.”

  1. What, there’s a tip jar? You’re right about the kids, they scoot down there faster than a bum on a baloney sandwich after school and come back with five dollar drinks in their hands. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they already had credit cards because who carries that much cash around all the time…

    Liked by 1 person

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