How to Screw Starbucks.

"Hot water, Tea Bag"
I have no misgivings about Starbucks. They are a business. They exist to make a financial profit. While I have always had a good rapport with the staff, and benefited from many hours of free internet, it cannot escape me they remain a company, which has managed to avoid paying hardly any tax in the United Kingdom over the past three years; a pretty hefty chunk of change.

While I never wish for the store to bid Blighty adieu, or even go under; they are an employer of many thousands, after all. I do believe every one of us are within our rights to cash a minor receipt from the grip of their iron-fisted, neon claws! Or, in reality - use it as an excuse to scam a free cup of tea; which is pretty much what I am doing here.

Anyhow, I would like to present the perfect opportunity, in which to do so; saving you a cool £1.85; enough money to spend on three cans of Coca-Cola, a box of 500g Fruit and Fibre from Asda, or even go crazy and splurge on nine-and-a-quarter Freddos. All you need is a little nerve, and a thirst for the drink I am too lazy to research whether it originates from China or India. The technique is as easy as a northern hooker, and all you need is one Tea-Bag (Preferably PG Tips), and the rest works as such:  
      1. Approach the counter, or join the queue - whichever is applicable. Once served, ask politely (manners are a sign of respect, and important even if not scamming a free drink), for a paper-cup of hot water. Starbucks offer this as a complimentary refill for herbals teas and the like, and never question the reason as to why a customer asks; if anything, they are too busy to even care. 

"One delicious, hot cup of Rosie!"
      2. Smile at the barista, say thank you. Take the cup in your hand, find a seat, and then sit yourself down. 

      3. Remove said Tea-Bag form your pocket, then place inside the paper-cup. Allow a few minutes; as the leaves merge in a beautiful dance, with the boiling hot water.
4. Finally, add a little milk, sugar, or sweeteners from the counter; every Starbucks has one placed logistically near, but out of arms reach from the staff, and you are done! One, free cup of delicious hot tea, courtesy of our favourite, tax avoiding corporate machines. Simple, but effective.
It sounds ridiculous, but it works. The odd truth is all laws have loopholes, and bending the law carries zero punishment; unlike breaking it, which is bound by most constitutional systems of national law. Nothing has been stolen, prices are suggested by stores and not iron-clad; the water in this case, free. And the extras are complimentary; ever see someone grab a stack of napkins in one swoop. I can guarantee most of those are going to a new home that evening.
On a personal note however, I would advise to never commit this act in an independent coffee shop, and only do it to Starbucks once. While it would be very easy to repeat the action as many times as desired, this would make you as greedy as the company you have conned – making you no better than they are. But the one time you do decide to scam a free cuppa, feel free to happily sit there, and say to yourself “This is for all the tax pounds you never paid, staff members you ripped off, and (whatever other personal justification you can muster to commit an amoral act)” Like, it may make you feel EPIC! Though in my case, I just felt a little guilty...

Lee. (Written in Starbucks, while drinking the only free cup of tea I will ever scam. I received many free complimentary drinks, whilst writing my book in 2011; courtesy of a kind-hearted staff. I cannot morally bring myself to do it again, and am a firm believer in karma).

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