paysquareHave you tried Square to pay for your coffee at Starbucks? If your experience was anything like what FastCompany’s correspondents and volunteers have gone through, you might not want to try it again.

The site today published an extensive piece documenting the futile attempts of various Starbucks baristas across the country to get the much-ballyhooed Square payment system to work as promised.

FastCompany’s Austin Carr reports …

At worst, the service simply did not work. On average, however, the user experience was buggy and awkward, with Starbucks employees seemingly more confused about how Square works than their own customers. Our evidence is anecdotal —and our sample size small — but the results of our tests are telling, especially given the reputations Starbucks and Square have for customer service. It serves to show that however refined a user experience might be on a local level, scaling such a streamlined UX all at once is borderline impossible.

The site quotes Adam Brotman, Starbucks chief digital officer, saying that scanner calibration issues were contributing to the problem, but the company has since rolled out a fix. In at least one case, FastCompany visited a licensed store, vs. a company-owned store, which apparently contributed to the problem in that situation.

Starbucks and Square announced the partnership last year, along with a large investment by Starbucks in the mobile payments processor.

We’ve contacted Starbucks to see if it has more to say on the topic.

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  • Jason Grimes

    As much as I love to bash @Starbucks any new system especially with the number of employees and customers are going to experience problems. From my experience using Square at other local coffee shops is the system is simple and yes it’s a far departure for how we are used to pay. So like many major changes there are gonna be cynics, but this disruption is necessary. Just take a look at the feature set (esp for local shops) to use Square to accept payments, track drinks (instead of a punch card) and sending receipts via email. I promise you, things will get better. You will still be able to purchase your double mocha frappuccino with extra whip cream – it must may take 30 seconds longer until the process is executed flawlessly. So take a deep breath and let’s talk about other “more broken” tech issues. BTW – I love me some @geekwire and I’m not surprised that FastCompany posted a negative story – are you?

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