Take a Penny, Leave a Penny Gets Hi-Tech Facelift

Dennis Faas's picture

The goodwill service of "take a penny, leave a penny" appears to have undergone a hi-tech facelift thanks to a social experiment that blends the services of Twitter with the major coffee enterprise, Starbucks.

A few months ago, Jonathan Stark purchased a Starbucks reloadable gift card. But what made "Jonathan's Card" different than the hundreds of others purchased on the same day is that he decided to post a photo of the card on his Twitter account and encouraged visitors to use it to purchase a coffee or snack free of charge.

The concept is very unique.

A visitor would simply have to upload the card image to their smartphone, head over to their nearest Starbucks location and hold up the picture in front of the barcode scanner when it is time to pay. (Source: technorati.com)

Twitter Contributors Keep Card Afloat

The most obvious question is, "how does one know whether or not there is enough money on the card before an attempted purchase?"

Naturally, the card will only continue to work so long as people keep putting money on it, so donations are appreciated. Within the Starbucks website there is an option to reload the card using the designated number attached to the account.

Also, visitors can check out the companion Twitter stream to determine how much money is on the card prior to attempted usage. As more people continue to deposit and withdraw from the card, the system really becomes a hi-tech version of "take a penny, leave a penny."

Experiment Not Affiliated with Starbucks

When asked to comment on his experiment, Stark replied that he is not affiliated in any way with Starbucks. He did encourage those that have helped ensure that money is available on the card to take credit for their contributions by using their own social networking streams to spread the word. (Source: theglobeandmail.com)

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