I received one of those Adobe PDF flyers via email that instructs you to print it out and present it to the store as a coupon. This one says, “Try your coffee ICED. Stop by your neighborhood Starbucks Coffee between noon and 9pm for a complimentary iced grande beverage.” The fine print even had copyright information, 2006 Starbucks Company, and the language “All rights reserved. One Grande beverage per person per visit with this email. Please print and present this email to your Starbucks Barista. Offer good only at participating Starbucks Coffee locations. Expires September 30, 2006. Barista, please use discount code 113.”

Just to see if it works, Mr. W printed this flyer out and took it to a local Starbucks. The manager on shift came out and talked to us and yes, it is a scam. Someone spent some time copying/scanning an actual Starbucks flyer and made it into a PDF format coupon. Starbucks does not give promotions through email, ever. A real Starbucks promo would come through snail mail, it’d be a full-color ad, have a bar code on the bottom, and is usually printed on cardstock paper. Basically, she said, anything through email can be assumed to be unauthorized and fraudulent. But she honored the flyer anyway and gave Mr. W a grande iced chai tea, just this once, because we genuinely didn’t know that this was fake (at least, not for sure). Because customer service was so nice, that particular Starbucks has now earned another customer in Mr. W. He normally refused to pay for overpriced coffee except on the rarest of occasions, but now they’ve touched his overcaffeinated heart.