LinuxHappy's Weblog

Failures and Successes of Linux-based Development

Starbucks Gold card and….. some thoughts.

Posted by linuxhappy on December 2, 2008

Well. okay. One “perk” i found out about the card today.. is that you can use your gold card and pay with cash..(you’re not forced to load the card with money) meaning. if you and your buddies go to starbucks.. they can all borrow the card to get 10% off.. (assuming the barista allows you two).  But wouldn’t this mean.. that by sliding the card.. shouldn’t the card automatically take 10% off qualitifed items off the bill?.. whatever.


This post has nothing to do with linux, other than the coffee that fuels me to do work (on or off linux), and a rant on how starbucks should get on the ball.  Ok, so I bought a starbucks gold card today.  For those of you who haven’t heard of a starbucks gold card, it’s basically a 25 dollar annual membership, and you get 10% off most starbucks purchases.  They gives you this black card, they tell you to register it online, and you can use it like cash at any of their stores.  Great.. From a software developers point of view (or any sane person) you’d think. ok… you use this “special” card at their stores, you’ve registered it on their website, and you’d think that the 10% discount should automatically apply to your purchases.  Wrong. Based on current state of affairs, starbucks employees have to notice you have the card, press a button on their screen, and then you get the 10% discount.

Case in point, I go out for coffee tonight to use my card for the first time, I get my receipt expecting a 10% discount.. nada.  I’m thinking.. hmm maybe the card hasn’t been activated yet.. but no.. I ask the barista.. and she’s like.. “ohh maybe I rang it up wrong.. ”  (like there’s a way to charge someone the wrong way?)  Another barista comes along, voids the first transaction, and then gets me my discount..

So what’s wrong here?  Starbucks doesn’t have a way to detect whether or not it’s a gold card or not?  I mean.. when I registered online, I punched in the starbucks unique identifier for my card, and it immediately detected as a gold card.  Ok… so that’s not the problem, Starbucks DOES have a list of cards that ARE indeed gold cards..  So then.. maybe it’s a matter of updating their Point-of-sale (POS) devices and they have no way of pushing updates to their POS devices.  It’s interesting because alot of desktop machines have automatic ways of recieveing updates (application layer, kernel layer, etc), but less prominent in embedded devices.  Some high end routers have this capability, but tv’s, cars, etc, .. not so much.  Why is this?

Anyways, what does this all mean?  I’ll go out on a limb here, I think that with the advent of agile software development and continuous integration, I believe that we’re going to see some generic frameworks come out for resource limited embedded devices to recieve/apply updates, run unit tests and return results, etc..  wouldn’t that be slick.


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