Making the Profit on the Back End

Joe Strazzere quaffs a tall Starbugs:

For a couple of days in May, coffee giant Starbucks ended up double charging about 1 million of their U.S. and Canadian customers.

  • More than 1 million transactions at 7,000 Starbucks locations on May 22 and May 23 were double billed
  • The one-million Starbuck transactions involved both credit and debit cards
  • The POS charges—and the receipts given to customers—were perfectly in order. The problems kicked in hours later, in the settlement processing area
  • Starbucks has declined to say how the glitch happened
  • Starbucks has declined to say how they plan to prevent it from happening again
  • Starbucks says they’ve had some customers call whose accounts were not fixed
  • Any customers with questions should contact the company’s customer relations hotline at 1-800-23-LATTE.

It’s best you not think how precursorily most monetary transactions are tested between the commerce system and the clearinghouse.  I’ve delved into this on occasion, and the process of making that particular sausage doesn’t bother me, but the high number of rat hairs that are acceptable does.

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