Starbucks App Freebie Offer Not So Straightforward

/ Source: TechNewsDaily

A Starbucks coffee card barcode posted online by an app developer has been making the rounds online, promising anyone who swipes the account info at the checkout line a free coffee.

However, walking out with a free treat from the coffee giant today isn't as easy as it seems: The mission takes time, a cashier with quick hands and patience when dealing with a long line of customers behind you.

Mobile app consultant Jonathan Stark posted his Starbucks account barcode — loaded with $300 — online for anyone to use. Stark set up a Twitter account, which now boasts more than 10,000 followers, to inform the Internet of the card's remaining balance.

Once the balance drops to zero, Stark posts a link with instructions on how to donate dollars to reload the card, similar to a "give a penny, take a penny" campaign. Mashable reported that nearly $9,000 has been donated by strangers to the card so far.

Stark said he is in no way affiliated with Starbucks.

Although you might be itching to run out the door to try this for yourself, the account balance is far more likely to be at zero when the cashier swipes your order. With so many people competing for free drinks nationwide, the balance is gone just seconds after its refreshed.

In fact, TechNewsDaily swiped a positive balance on the card three of the 20-something times it tried. However, the account repeatedly dropped back to zero by the time the cashier typed in the price. We continued this for about 20 minutes, letting customers pass every few swipe tries.

Although that attempt never worked, another staffer tried their luck 30 minutes later and walked away with two pieces of pound cake for free after their first try.

For Starbucks fans with lots of time on their hands and with access to a location without much of a line, it may be worth your while. Otherwise, the few dollars you'd save might not be worth having a whole line of angry people behind you.

Reach TechNewsDaily senior writer Samantha Murphy at Follow her on Twitter @SamMurphy_TMN.