back to article I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

I can't get it up. Give me a few moments and I'll try again. Yes, I have tried rubbing it but thanks for the suggestion. What's that? I'm grasping it too firmly? Or I'm flashing in the wrong direction? Tell you what, I'll keep fiddling with it while you satisfy one of your other customers. How difficult can it be to buy a …

  1. Anonymal coward

    Evolution isn't working properly...

    I thought this sort of nonsense had died out after Y2K, but no. Bank sent a replacement departure lounge card after they decided that the old scheme was too generous, and so I had to find the appropriate app. Started that and was asked whether I would like to add a card to the app; 'Ho ho!', thought I to myself, the letter said they'd already activated the card so all should be good. Enter 16 digit magic number and activation code; no, letter only has 16 digit card number, no activation code. OK, use email. No, app doesn't know email address; enter 16 digit number and password. No, password not known, choose from email addresses to send password reset. No, no email addresses, so do not pass Go, do not collect £200, do not uninstall the app and file card with plastic waste...

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Evolution isn't working properly...

      Hmm. That sounds suspiciously like a certain retailer, whose name does not at all sound close to Tea with Max Factor.

      “All you have to do is visit zzz.com/something free and enter your 16 digit code”

      Result: 404 Page Not Found

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evolution isn't working properly...

      Bought a copy of a classic LP (Paul Simon's `Graceland') that included a card with a URL and code to provide access to a high-quality digital download I could put on my phone. The URL is supposed to be good until the end of 2018. Point your browser to the URL and, you guessed it, you get a 404 error so the URL didn't even survive past Spring 2018. Email to Sony went, unsurprisingly, unanswered. No matter... the local library had a copy of it on CD so I got my digital copy the old fashioned way: ripping it. (You try to do the right thing...)

  2. cambsukguy

    Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

    There are none of these Apps available on WinPhone.

    I am sooo broken up about not having a loyalty App and paying by contact-less is so easy I am amazed anyone bothers with other mechanisms.

    Not that I would be in a coffee shop, especially one with a queue.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

      That's OK, WinPhone's no longer available either :-)

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

      I used the Greggs rewards website on Edge up until about 6 months ago and it was utterly reliable. It makes me wonder what it says about Greggs IT that it works on Edge though....

      Greggs is the only one I am signed up to, given their lack of pretension. However that has rather changed lately as I have had free offers (unredeemed) lately for a caramel latte, a choice of premium "teas" (don't like tea at the best of times, never mind flavours that sound like shampoos) and last week a pumpkin spice latte.

      Cue angry Denis Leary rant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f_dxLiuXuw

    3. keith_w

      Re: Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

      Not available on BB10 either - Hurrah!

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

        another vite for greggs app here too. it has always scanned for me. i usually get a fair few freebies through the app too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another reason to keep on truckin' a WinPhone

          Nope. Hate the Greggs app because they constantly change the QR code you're supposed to scan. Rather than offer a simple barcode version of your loyalty card number, they're using some sort of TOTP thing that changes your barcode every couple of minutes.

          Which means...I can't just put the barcode in my Google wallet and uninstall their pointless app..like I've done with Tesco, Costa, Subway, Morrisons and just about every other retailer with a loyalty scheme.

  3. Nick Kew

    No sympathy

    You're clearly spending far too much time in Shoreditch. Try the Real World.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No sympathy

      While not app-enabled to a Shoreditch standard I encountered a "Costa Express" machine a couple of years ago. "Express" was a complete misnomer as it generated a huge queue because rather than having the simple vending machine "push button for coffee" interface it had a fancy GUI where you selected what type of coffee, flavours, toppings etc etc (one screen for each set of options) were then directed to take the correct cup to put under the nozzle (this is where most of the delays came from as there were several different cup types to select requiring debates on which to use) until finally it started to brew and dispense the drink - at this point to keep you "amused" it played what was probably intended to be "coffee making sounds" of clinking cups etc but to me sounded as if Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques was delivering the coffee. At this point people would grab their coffee and depart. Costa doubtless assume this system is brilliant because the next person would find they were faced with a "rate you experience" page that the previous person was meant to have completed and invariably everyone was pressing "very satisfied" no doubt to avoid the possibility of having a series of supplementary pages to ascertain why you weren't satisfied if they'd made any other answer.

      1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

        Re: No sympathy

        Have you seen inside one of these machines? I have and I'll never use one again.

        There are a row of plastic bags full of dark unhealthy looking urine colour liquid.

        They hang inside like operating theatre catheter bags. Just waiting to have their content warmed to body temperature and squirted into the unwary customer's cup.

        All the graphics are to distract you from the reality of the cyclopian horrors inside...

        1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: No sympathy

          And that's on a regularly maintained and cleaned machine.....

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: No sympathy

            having worked in a few hospitals as a biomedical scientist (worjing with pickled bits of people) i can say that people look far more gooey than thoae express bags.

            the cat 4 labs in manchester were the worst when the pathologists ate their lunch at their desks. all with live TB unfixed samples in the isolation cupboards next to them....

            1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
              Coat

              If it's a Category 4 lab, you're probably safer eating on the floor than you are beathing in the street.

              Although personally, I would prefer not eating next to the isolation cupboards.

              That's how one of the Resident Evil films started, no ?

  4. Michael B.

    Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

    It routinely fails between the hours of 7am and 9am, and 4pm and 6pm. Why? Well if you haven't guessed it's rush hour and they seem to have 1 386SX doing the processing for the entire country. It's even more galling that when it doesn't work you have to pay the higher cash price.

    Another piece of "genius" development is that if you do have to buy a ticket you have 5 minutes to use it by scanning it on the bus. Woe betide that the bus is full and you have to wait for the next one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

      Even better, try this on the new "MetroBus" in Bristol and there's no option to pay a "higher cash price" - its all app based tickets with possibly the ability to use a card to buy a ticket from a machine at the stop. But I think "real money" is no longer accepted.

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

      Had the reverse with EasyBus in North Wales the other week. No app, no contactless or card payments, cash only and he didn't have change for a £20 note.

      I just dredged up enough change for the return ticket I wanted.

      1. IsJustabloke
        Meh

        Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

        "I just dredged up enough change for the return ticket I wanted."

        I had to get off a bus I'd hailed recently because there was no way for it to give me change. :/ It would be fair to say I got several dirty looks as the bus drove away

        1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

          I am currently reading a great book, titled "Designing data intensive applications". There are many things in it that I "kind of knew", but never was aware of the details of. The point is, systems like the ones "discussed" here are typically designed by guys (invariably - a woman would have learned first) who "kind of know" how to do it but in actuality, not quite. They learn on the job, like most of us did. So, the server side services are unresponsive, lose data on occasion, do not offer a clear upgrade path for the client side app etc. Things "kind of work", if you squint enough - just not when you need them to. The answer is to learn, but when do you learn if the project budget has been eaten up already by five project managers and ten consultants, and you are half year behind the schedule?

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: designed by guys [...] who "kind of know" how to do it but in actuality, not quite

            And who've never ridden a bus or bought coffee in their lives.

            It's clear to me that the execrable user interface foisted on me after the latest ATM "upgrade" was designed by a numpty who had never used an ATM for more than pulling out cash.

            Yesterday I wanted to pay a credit card bill and transfer some money between accounts. Used to be one log-in, four key press operations. Now its TWO card log-ins, each with four keypress operations.

            Idiotic.

            1. Martin an gof Silver badge

              Re: designed by guys [...] who "kind of know" how to do it but in actuality, not quite

              execrable user interface foisted on me after the latest ATM "upgrade"

              For simple cash transactiona I have found that the ATMs around here which have an option to choose Cymraeg for the UI often have a different (sometimes radically so) interface for Welsh than Engliah. One in particular offers a much simpler, cleaner, quicker interface in Cymraeg than in English.

              Not tried any other languages, can't say that I've noticed machines around here which have any. Does anyone have any experience?

              M.

          2. dnicholas Bronze badge

            Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

            The world was built by people who "kind of knew" how to do it.

            I blagged my first job then learnt how to do it quick snap, the same over as I've progressed. Now I employ people who kind of know what they are doing. When I interview I'm not looking for the finished product, but someone who will not give up because they hit the limit of the skill or education.

            Apps to pay for something... grrr. Oyster works fine. Phone payments cause people to break step moving through barriers, so they are inherently inferior. Don't get me started on silly-haired, painted on jeans wearing, non-socked morons trying to pay for silly coffee abominations with their phablets.

    3. Patrician

      Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

      Or try using Arriva Ticket App that, between 07:00 and 09:00 and 16:00 and 18:00 routinely shows the error "unable to connect to server, please check you signal or wireless connection"; even with a full four bars of 4G and everything else on the phone is managing to find their respective servers. with no problem whatsoever.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

        One of our local bus companies offers an inexplicably massive app for Android that seems less designed to sell tickets and more focussed on providing some kind of social media experience, which seems to be its excuse for requesting every possible permission available.

        Meanwhile, the bus company doesn't offer any form of integrated ticketing (you can't get a through ticket even if there's a connecting bus run by the same operator) - despite the buses all having NFC and QR code readers. You can even get a card that looks a lot like a pre-pay Oyster card, but you can only use it to pay for point-to-point fares at their full cost, so if you have a debit card, it's entirely pointless.

        Don't underestimate the power of business to harness technology to make your life more complicated for no obvious benefit to anyone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

          The tragedy of all these different transport crapps is that not only are they inadequate in more ways than you'd assume were mathematically possible, but the problem of contactless payments was solved many years ago by TfL when the Oyster system became useable with contactless cards and NFC devices. And not just the hardware side, the overall logic of "never pay more for the day than the cheapest option you could have chosen". And it works on buses, tube, trams, DLR, river bus and Thames Clipper. I'm always happy to throw stones at the public sector, but some group of people somewhere in and around TfL deserve to be on the New Year's Honours list for how Oyster has worked out.

          All that was then required was for all the numpties running other bus, train, and rapid transit systems up and down the land (both public and private sector) to adopt Oyster. But no, the clowns all had to design their own unique, expensive, shit systems, every one different, random, illogical, unreliable, and often very poor even when used with contactless cards. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

          1. Mark 110

            Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

            Great post Led!!

            Always baffles me when someone rolls their own great thing its not just made available to everyone else as a spin off. Particularly in the public sector.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

              "Always baffles me when someone rolls their own great thing its not just made available to everyone else as a spin off. Particularly in the public sector."

              Other than TfL, is there any other public sector run transport system?

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

                then you get the likes of hong kong who have the entire islands running on integrated octopus cards for transport on bus/tube/ferries etc the same cards that can be used in shops, restaurants etc. This was back in 2004. it worked.

              2. 080

                Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

                "Other than TfL, is there any other public sector run transport system?"

                Cardiff Bus

                1. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

                  Cardiff Bus

                  And everything was going so well until some idiot planner decided to build offices and a new TV studio right on top of the extremely-well-designed-considering-it-was-the-1960s bus station right outside Cardiff Central. You used to be able to hop off a train straight (more-or-less) onto a bus that would take you anywhere within Cardiff and beyond. Now you have to hunt around a dozen sidestreets looking for the current location of the stop and queue on a crowded pavement.

                  Being publicly-run didn't help them there unfortunately.

                  That said, and I'll wait to see how it pans out, the newly-formed Transport for Wales sounds like it has someone working for it who has a sensible head on his shoulders.

                  M.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

            I think the "never pay more for the day than the cheapest option" probably explains the lack of interest in Oyster from First Bus et al.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

              I think the "never pay more for the day than the cheapest option" probably explains the lack of interest in Oyster from First Bus et al.

              There's a reason why they're known as 'Worst Bus' round here.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

            Isn't the reason they don't choose Oyster that they have to pay a health chunk of each transaction to the people that developed Oyster, and possibly TFL as well? Hence creating their own and forcing us to use the crap that came out.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

          "Don't underestimate the power of business to harness technology to make your life more complicated for no obvious benefit to anyone."

          COTD right there.

    4. IsJustabloke
      Meh

      Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

      The fact that you have to pay a higher price and that it continually fails at their (presumably) busiest time leads me to believe that behaviour is by design.

      1. 080

        Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

        "The fact that you have to pay a higher price and that it continually fails at their (presumably) busiest time leads me to believe that behaviour is by design."

        Do you really believe that they have the wit to design something like this?

    5. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Try travelling with First Bus and their (cr)app

      It got even better a few weeks ago. No more frustration at peak hours. The damn thing shat itself regardless of the time of day. Then the app crashed. And would continue to crash until I uninstalled it (yes I forced it stop first and all the rest). Then it went back to accusing me of no internet connection despite 4g signal, then WIFI (both brought Google up just fine).

      But somehow a servers inability to work is a fault with my connection to the internet....

      Yet I do it because buying tickets for my daily journeys (3 times a week not enough to justify a week rider) would cost £1.40 A day more otherwise. Or £4.20 a week...or about a pint of decent beer. I'll leave it as an exercise to reader on what I'd rather spend the money on.

  5. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    Top notch

    [vomit-inducing photos of drinks that look like someone sneezed on the ice cream at a children's birthday party before taking a shit on the custard]

    laughed so loud my colleagues turned round wondering what I was working on (oops).

    I guess the apps could be deliberately be that bad, but that assumes a level of quality control and consistency beyond the capability of most mobile development shops. Much like government conspiracies its more likely to be circumstances and chance than deliberate.

    I also wonder why I want to wander around with a gazillion poorly written data reaming apps when all I need is a debit card or cash. My experience has frequently been beset with assistants running after people leaving the shop crying "your phone payment didn't go through, I need you to try it again!"

    Even real time (ish) NFC payments take so long to fail people have already left. Paying by cash is actually often both faster and more reliable.

    Its no wonder people suffer major psychological disorders when their battery runs down. That's your ticket home lost, your coffee while waiting for it to charge lost, your games, social media, news indeed your total sandal wearing, beard sporting, tree hugging, vegan life is over unless you can find someone with a compatible charger and a free socket.

    A recent example of said millennial with head enveloped with fancy baseball hat walks into pub, asking if he can charge his phone. Landlord considers and consents. The aforesaid goes outside to chat to his mate and does not even buy a pack of crisps for the trouble.

    Maybe someone will write an app that will call for a motorbike mounted charging station when battery goes less than 15% for a small fee.

    I'm old school and will always carry enough cash to get home in the event of the e-pocalypse of app failures or bank upgrades...

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Top notch

      I'm kinda curious as to what permissions all of these coffee and bus apps want, before GDPR kicked in I was in Madrid and as I visit there fairly often I thought I would get the tappy tap tap app, on hitting install the permissions it wanted were everything on my phone including contacts, my bank details and card, the keys to my car and my wife when I was working away at weekends.

      I didn't bother, particularly because I can wave my debit card at a ticket machine and get a one day ticket for a few Euros. Glad I live in the country and only go to the city when I feel like it for a bit of culture or a good curry.

      1. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

        Re: Top notch

        Interesting it wanted the keys to your wife I must say. These young Batista clearly have no limits at all!

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Top notch

          wetherspoons have usb chargers now. and an app to order to table. ive seen rows of teenagers with 1 cup of refillable coffee sat at table before and after i walked past with supermarket shopping.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In view of the site preferences

    Mr Dabbsy must have been using a [insert expletive of choice here] iPhone.

    At the very least we need to know what overpriced coloured hot water emporium he was using...

    just so that the rest of us can ignore it... you understand... /s

    Cash only for me in these places. I know that this is outmoded but at least cash can't be hacked by the numpty standing next to me in the queue?

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: In view of the site preferences

      Nothing wrong with the iPhone at S$$$$$, at least not here in Murica. Put the S$$$$$$$$$$$$ card of your choice in the Apple Wallet, allow the wallet to appear on the lock screen, and you're all set. Well, I guess that's possibly beyond the average drone, but we're all superdrones here, aren't we chaps?

      OK, it helps if I give my phone a nudge to wake it up at least 20 seconds before attempting to pay. Otherwise, no problemo.

      1. IsJustabloke
        Facepalm

        Re: In view of the site preferences

        @Daedalus

        down voted for the use of "no problemo"

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: own voted for the use of "no problemo"

          Aye.

          Everyone knows it's "Nae problemo".

          1. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: own voted for the use of "no problemo"

            "Everyone knows it's "Nae problemo".

            There should be soundbites in addition to icons. I'd vote for Nae problemo from Robb Anybody Feagle.

        2. Daedalus Silver badge

          Re: In view of the site preferences

          @IsJustabloke

          Right back at ya.

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: In view of the site preferences

        I own a smartphone. I use it for email, messaging and (surprisingly) phoning. Also, limited web browsing (because anything other than limited browsing is far too painful)

        I have a few apps on it. An HP41 calculator, Photographer's Ephemeris, Star Map, Commuter Rail status (NOT supplied by the rail company, it's a user-written app that is far better) and a few others.

        I do NOT use my phone to pay for things. Several reasons, but the big one is that should I forget to charge the phone, or be without service for whatever reason, I would be unable to do anything that costs money. I prefer not to put all my eggs in that electronic basket, thank you..

        I carry a credit card, some small amount of cash and a commuter rail monthly pass, which is also a bus and subway pass (should be, for $318/mo). Works for me. Don't need or want loyalty points, 'cause the coffee at work is free, and I figure that heavily discounts what I pay for when I'm not at work

        1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

          Re: In view of the site preferences

          I use it for email, messaging and (surprisingly) phoning.

          They can make phone calls, too?

          Huh. Who knew?

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: In view of the site preferences

          I second Antron's post.

          I also have The Photographer's Ephemeris (kinda sucks what google did), an HP Calculator program and a smattering of other electronic/electrical standards, pinouts, voltage divider calculator, blah blah.

          I use the browser to see if I have to go home and pack up something sold on eBay or how much Tesla has lost in stock value (and which exec quit today). No text but email. I want my phone to be a phone (voice) when I need it. My iPod is more than capable of damaging my hearing and I have a separate SatNav in the car so a call doesn't block out directions at the worst possible time. I don't care who is calling if I'm trying to sort out an 8-way roundabout.

          Loyalty cards used to be used to buy loyalty. Now they are used to track you and to add data points to your "file" online. Retailers are getting too good at interpreting buying habits. Target in the US was creepy enough to know when a woman became pregnant and would start sending coupons for baby stuff. Cash is great. No trail, no judgements. Reports on me must look really boring. All I do is pay utilities and my mortgage and naught else. I have to say that I abstain from the evil bean myself.

          1. keith_w

            Re: In view of the site preferences

            "Loyalty cards used to be used to buy loyalty. Now they are used to track you and to add data points to your "file" online."

            This was always the entire point of "loyalty" programs.

            1. Danny 14 Silver badge

              Re: In view of the site preferences

              my phone is rooted. most payment apps or banking apps wont work. oh well :)

  7. graeme leggett

    Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

    and their spoof on the American Express advert.

    the AE card enthusiastically received everywhere with extra customer service (Pamela Stephenson's "and would you like.." but this may be read by young people so I'll gloss over).

    Punchline - trying to buy rail tickets only to be asked "haven't you got any money?"

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

      I seem to remember Monty Python doing the same "and would you like.." joke on their travel agent sketch

    2. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

      I recall the punch line: "Try using American Express on British Rail - and see how far it gets you".

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

      the AE card enthusiastically received everywhere with extra customer service

      That of course would be a blatant lie if Amex put it in a real ad. For sure when I traveled to New York to visit the head office of my employer in 2004 and 2006, having a corporate Amex card got me rushed through reception at the St Regis (I kid you not. Look it up.(1)) while my colleague who'd traveled on the same plane but tried to use his own card... well, let's just say that he had a hard time of it.

      But in general, shops don't like Amex, or just plain don't accept it, and the reason is universally that Amex charges them about twice what Mastercard and VISA charge them. I have a vivid memory of trying to pay with something with my brand-new Amex card (in 1989, Amex green(2)) and the guy at the till looking at me like I was handing him a week-dead fish.

      (1) My company put enough people up there that they were able to negotiate a discount, obviously. They charged my room rate at about $270 instead of the $900 they would have charged me if I had been staying on my own account. Er. That's $900 *a*night*. Breakfast extra.

      (2) They send me a pre-approved application form, so I filled it in and in due course got the card. The following year, they sent me a similar form to get a gold card. I was only barely not a student any more, but it was fun being able to flash an Amex Gold card.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

        I was only barely not a student any more, but it was fun being able to flash an Amex Gold card.

        Now you can do the same again - get a Revolut "Metal" card. Very nice brushed black design - and metal. Of course, I got it for all the *cough* benefits :)

      2. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

        Remember the distinction between the Amex charge card and the (somewhat later) Amex credit cards. The original ad simply said that you didn't need huge amounts of cash for a deposit on a rental car, for instance, if you used the charge card. It was a year or two after that here in the US that a credit card started to appear.

      3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

        Amex.

        My company has Corporate Amex cards. They gave me one when I started. I used it to buy electronic components, since that's part of my job.

        Around the end of the month, it started getting rejected. I did some investigation and discovered that I had a low-hundred dollar limit on anything except hotel or travel charges. I travel once every three or four years.

        So, I tried (and failed) to get that limit removed. Never did discover why it was there. I returned the card to my company, told them it was not useful to me. I use my personal card and submit the expenses, which get paid within a week or two. Also, I get Amazon points. Quite a few when I charge a couple of thousand dollars worth of prototype parts. I just have to be careful to do that at the beginning of the billing period, so the reimbursement shows up before the charge card bill...

      4. LeahroyNake Silver badge

        Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

        That's $900 *a*night*. Breakfast extra.

        Wow, were you still hungry.. that's one expensive supper.

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Memories of Not The Nine O Clock News

        "That's $900 *a*night*. Breakfast extra."

        Anyone happy to pay $900 or more per night really doesn't need to worry that breakfast or anything else will be an extra charge.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My favourite experience of this sort of thing was a cash machine at Lyons airport many years ago. It had a fancy GUI interface which asked whether you wanted to withdraw cash - answer was yes as I was on a business trip to Grenoble so neede a few Euro's for autoroute toll and probably a beer and sandwich at airport on the way back (this was long enough ago when the idea of spending < £10 on a card transaction was unheard of) so I pressed the button on the screen ... nothing happened so I pressed it again ... nothing happened ... so I pressed it again ... and the machine sprang to life, quickly flicked through 3 pages of GUIs applying my 3 key presses to select first "withdraw cash", followed by "other amount", followed by "500 Euros" which it then proceeded to give me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Lyons airport - where is that?! Anywhere near Lyon?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Lyons airport - where is that?! Anywhere near Lyon?"

        An airport. Of course it wasn't near anywhere.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Lyons airport - where is that?! Anywhere near Lyon?"

        No, it's on the corner and serves High Tea while you wait for your plane. Unlike coffee shops, the service is nippy!

    2. Norman Nescio

      Once you have swiped in frustration about 20 times, it goes nuts and the interface flies from screen to screen completely out of control and then collapses in exhaustion...

      ...so I pressed the button on the screen ... nothing happened so I pressed it again ... nothing happened ... so I pressed it again ... and the machine sprang to life, quickly flicked through 3 pages of GUIs applying my 3 key presses to select first "withdraw cash", followed by "other amount", followed by "500 Euros" which it then proceeded to give me!

      Ahh yes, that old stalwart of badly implemented GUIs, the equivalent of the type-ahead buffer, without the equivalent of an interrupt key to discard currently buffered input, or the idea of discarding input until a display checkpoint is reached. There is a special circle of hell reserved for people who place the cursor over the most damaging button (often 'OK') automatically.

      I used to have a old and slow Windows machine where I learned to place the cursor at the point on the screen where a menu item would eventually appear, then wait until it was actually drawn before I could click it. My muscle memory learned it, and in a way, it felt like dancing through the application. Try to go too quickly, and everything fell in a heap. Just like me on the dance-floor.

      If the device you are working with has a keyboard, and suffers from terminal GUI slowness, it can be worthwhile to learn the relevant keyboard shortcuts (if they exist), but your average smartphone or tablet doesn't offer such fripperies.

      1. Nick Kew

        Ahh yes, that old stalwart of badly implemented GUIs

        Like ssh and pgp implementations that give you a pop-up to enter your passphrase.

        A bit of lag, or another application popping something at you, and it becomes very easy to fall victim to what we sometimes call ECHAN on IRC.

    3. Steve the Cynic

      followed by "500 Euros" which it then proceeded to give me!

      Reminds me of my experience with BayBank in Massachusetts. This would have been the tail end of the 1980s, and their machines had the inexplicable habit of not giving smaller bills than $10, and certainly not giving coins, but requiring you to type in the number of cents you wanted to withdraw that was only allowed to be 00.

      So my finger bounced once too often on the zero without me noticing. Well, until it proceeded to count out $500.00 in twenty dollar bills (and a couple of tens just because). It was so much that I had to do two deposits, since that much folding money wouldn't fit in one deposit envelope.

  9. Mark #255

    User Hostility

    A smartphone app which ties up to a real person, and can monitor which shop you're in (and when) sounds like solidly useful customer data.

    If the app is so convoluted that a vast proportion of potential marks give up trying to access the benefits, that sounds like a win for the app owner.

    Especially as many ex-users are likely to never uninstall the app, so it can continue surreptitiously slurping the data (with explicit user consent).

    Trebles all round!

    (Yeah, never attribute to malice and all that, but in our office we're convinced that the shiny web-based expenses thing newly foisted on us is designed to make you want to give up 'cos it was only a couple of quid...)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: User Hostility

      "in our office we're convinced that the shiny web-based expenses thing newly foisted on us is designed to make you want to give up 'cos it was only a couple of quid"

      In my time in the Cvil Service TPTB achieved that purely with paper. Even if the expenses might amount to 100 miles each way of motoring costs.

  10. Blank Reg

    These apps are yet another case of a solution without a problem. My contactless payment cards always work, never run out of power and can be dropped repeatedly without damage, and it's faster to pay with a card than either cash or an app.

    1. LeahroyNake Silver badge

      'My contactless payment cards always work, never run out of power and can be dropped repeatedly without damage, and it's faster to pay with a card than either cash or an app.'

      Not when you have cash at hand. Contactless can and did frequently for me take up to 30 seconds to approve the transaction. I'm not rude and wait until it says approved much to the disgust of some shop proprietors. The one time I flashed and dashed I was shouted back back in to the store and asked for to insert my card and pin for no apparent reason... haven't used it since.

      Withdraw cash from my banks cash point in denominations that i know. How I spend my cash is my business... including using a £20 for a £2 Greg's 'breakfast roll and coffee' so I have change for the rest of the day.

  11. Valerion

    The best solution seems to be Starbucks

    And I never thought that'd be something I'd ever say.

    But the mobile order thing works well. I know exactly where to order it when walking back to the office, so that as I enter the shop it's either just being made, or is ready within a minute or two of me arriving. No paying in store, no queueing.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: The best solution seems to be Starbucks

      I tried the Starbucks order-ahead facility once. I duly chose a drink, picked a cafe from their location list, and ordered. When I arrived later that morning, the cafe was shut. It took another few days and lots of emails to get my money back. Never again.

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: The best solution seems to be Starbucks

        I tried the Starbucks order-ahead facility once. I duly chose a drink, picked a cafe from their location list, and ordered. When I arrived later that morning, the cafe was shut. It took another few days and lots of emails to get my money back. Never again.

        Has to be the UK. You can't beat them for passive aggressive incompetence.

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: The best solution seems to be Starbucks

          How can there be a best solution that ends with you having to drink Starbucks coffee?

          1. Valerion

            Re: The best solution seems to be Starbucks

            If the alternative is Costa, we're already winning.

  12. GlenP Silver badge

    I Finally...

    Delved into the world of app payments and tickets recently in Wales when I used the Trainline app for tickets from an unmanned (and no ticket machine) station. It worked fine, and I was vindicated as the conductor on the train was unable to take card payments, his machine only worked when it had a 4G signal (I did say I was in Wales!)

    It was noticeable though that when I went to scan the barcode on the screen at the ticket barrier the "customer services" person seemed a bit surprised that it actually worked!

  13. Alister Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    After passing my handset over the contactless pad, I made sure to flourish it over the empty paper cup that she'd labelled "Tips - thank you!"

    Classic!

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      I don't drink coffee

      and therefore *never* frequent coffee shops... but as understand it, in such emporia one requests a coffee, one pays for the coffee, and at some indeterminate time later one is handed a cup of said beverage.

      WTF is the purpose of the tip jar?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't drink coffee

        WTF is the purpose of the tip jar?

        Used to be the case that its purpose was to enable unscrupulous chains to pay less than minimum wage by claiming that employees got minimum wage WITH the addition of tips. Can't say if that's still the case. If others know this still continues (for a fact) please name and shame so that I can avoid those establishments.

      2. Mark 110

        Re: I don't drink coffee

        "WTF is the purpose of the tip jar?"

        Thats to make it possible to work there and pay the rent. Having done that type of work its a joy, but woefully paid. Tips make it possible for the worker [But are also a tax dodge for the employer which is slightly annoying]

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: I don't drink coffee

          ""WTF is the purpose of the tip jar?"

          Thats to make it possible to work there and pay the rent. Having done that type of work its a joy, but woefully paid. Tips make it possible for the worker [But are also a tax dodge for the employer which is slightly annoying]"

          The thing is, though, that with everybody going cashless, there is nothing to put in the tip jar. It's even funnier since the PFY wanted paying in something other than cash.

          The best servers always return change so that a 15-20% gratuity is always to hand.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: I don't drink coffee

            "The thing is, though, that with everybody going cashless, there is nothing to put in the tip jar. It's even funnier since the PFY wanted paying in something other than cash."

            I've been in pubs and restaurants (proper ones, not those place that McD, KFC, BK call "restaurants") where when you pay by card, the card machine asks if you want to add a "gratuity" and if so, how much.

  14. quattroprorocked

    Retro does it better

    Not only does cash mean you get to tip more easily, but the actual card, with stamps, loyalty cards meant you bought MORE coffee - "oh, one coffee to my free one? Wasn't planning to, but why not". Now I have plastic card and it's "oh, my coffee is free today. Nice". The difference is maybe a cup a month. £20 a year. Per customer. That's a serious bottom line blunder.

    No, I don't have time to monitor my coffee loyalty app. Look at your logs. ZERO accesses since I got it. You chain managing muppets.

    That said, if you have a Coffee #1 or Bill's (yes, restaurant but, secret info, you can get a take out coffee) they do top coffee.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    having made a fool of myself in front of the trendily bearded throng by paying with a £20 note and then dithering over the tips dish because my loose change comprised a tenner, a fiver, two £1 coins and a ten pence piece

    What - only £2.90 for a coffee? Not very hipster, is it?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Happy

      only £2.90

      Not hip at all.

      Please do tell where, so I can frequent should I be in the area.

      It was drinkable wasn't it?

      1. unbearable

        Re: only £2.90

        It doesn't have to be drinkable. An IV of caffeine directly into the bloodstream would suffice.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: only £2.90

          "It doesn't have to be drinkable....It's more important to be seen with the "right" branded cup"

          FTFY

    2. Steve the Cynic

      What - only £2.90 for a coffee? Not very hipster, is it?

      I can get a double espresso from Starbucks near where I live for 3,60 €. (Sorry, it's in France, so that's how it's usually written. Except when it's 3,6 € or 3€60.) At the current exchange rate, that's not far from £2.90. But then again, a double espresso isn't remotely hipster, for which I am eternally grateful.

  16. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Ryanair

    When you're trying to get your boarding pass on your phone in queue at security or the gate, it often helps to have to navigate through infinity levels of menus and screens that are the equivalent of the Planters Pretzels ad.

  17. tiggity Silver badge

    Cash

    Works for me

    On the rare occasions I grab a coffee it's from the local greasy spoon and it doesn't costa lot (as their little handwritten sign emphasized when a certain big coffee chain opened nearby) - and it does a full English breakfast as a bonus if you feel like it.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Cash

      > does a full English breakfast as a bonus if you feel like it.

      Is it Bacon Spiced Latte season already ?

    2. Jan 0

      Re: Cash

      That sounds like my local greasy spoon! Double espresso, made with beans from the top local roaster*, two quid, less if you're a frequent customer.

      * flavour that would probably kill a Starbucks regular.

  18. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Madness

    A long, long time ago, somebody invented money. The nice thing about it was that you could use it almost anywhere, to buy almost anything. Then along came plastic cards, which in many ways were even better. With the development of contactless payment, they became an easy way to pay for anything, at any price*, anywhere.

    But the "if it's not an app it's old skool" madness has now taken over. Every company in the world has to have its own app - a petrol station I used recently was promoting an app that would enable me to pay for fuel at any of their outlets (which I can do already), but not, presumably, at any other company's. Why would I want such a thing?

    * A friend who is a similar age to me (i.e. more quatrodecennial than millennial) was upset when she saw her 24-year-old son's bank statement: "It's tragic, he's having to pay for coffees and sandwiches with his card". I explained about the stigma attached to cash money these days.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Madness

      It does make it hard to read your bank statement to check the utility company , or BT , isnt ripping you off when its full of coffee and beers ... I gues you need 2 accounts ...

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Madness

        "I gues you need 2 accounts ..."

        Isn't that the norm? I mean, with contactless and whatnot.

        Bills, emergency money and big spending in an account that has a card that lives at home and has contactless payment disabled.

        Day to day pocket money account with contactless enabled.

        "It does make it hard to read your bank statement to check the utility company , or BT , isnt ripping you off"

        Oh, let me solve that for you. They are :)

        You are most correct in ensuring they are only doing the legal ripping off. Give those buggers and inch and they'll charge you 37p per month for it.

  19. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Am i missing something?

    Call me a Luddite , ive not really got into all this shit yet , but why do you need a till AND an app?

    why not pay using the app , whilst queuing , or chilling on the bean bags (im guessing here - never been in a coffee shop) then pick up your drink when they have made it?

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Am i missing something?

      Stop being sensible dear Prostetnic, this is the traditional vogon way of things.

      A good cathartic rant article before the weekend :)

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Am i missing something?

        Now that's just crazy talk.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am i missing something?

        "Call me a Luddite, but why do you need coffee? Why not just get enough sleep to begin with?"

        A very good Idea ..... but it would require the day to be more than 24hours long.

        Navigating up and down the country through many Traffic queues, road works etc burns up a large number of hours that I have to allow for to attend meetings on time.

        Much as I would like to have 8hrs+ sleep each night it is not always possible .... this is where coffee tends to be useful.

        P.S.

        I also like the taste of coffee and sometimes drink it for that very reason.

        P.P.S.

        For clarity, I am not a Luddite and therefore would prefer not to be proclaimed as such !!! :)

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Am i missing something?

          Navigating up and down the country through many Traffic queues, road works etc burns up a large number of hours that I have to allow for to attend meetings on time.

          Call me a luddite but ... Dont we have video conferencing now? I'd have thought the motorways would be empty , save for delivery trucks ..

  20. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    Almost...

    "Surely she understands that a percentage of what she charges for a coffee would immediately be sucked away in transaction fees"

    Banks also charge for cash transactions. As a business, you'll probably be charged for just about anything you do at a bank.

    Though which one they will gouge you for the most, is debatable!

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Almost...

      Banks also charge for cash transactions.

      When I was working as a jobbing electrician people thought they were doing me a favour by offering to pay in cash rather than cheque, even for the big jobs. As a Good Boy who always did his accounts (or, rather, had a Good Accountant to do them for me) I wasn't in the habit of trying to avoid taxes and while the bank charged a flat rate for cheques (something like 50p - can't remember offhand) they charged a percentage for cash - 2% if I remember correctly. Thus for any amount more than about £25 (my hourly rate was £30) it was actually cheaper (for me) to be paid by cheque than in cash, unless I was going to take the cash to the wholesalers to buy the bits for the next job.

      Things are different now, but I couldn't take cards either. The machines from the banks needed a deposit and a monthly rental, as well as a fee on each transaction and would have made the whole thing uneconomic.

      M.

  21. hottuberrol

    Despite having a crappy app, my usual chain coffee shop lets you cash out from Quidco onto their loyalty card. Only their loyalty card isnt a card. It isnt even in their app. Its an email with a QR code. An email that has to be dug out and scanned in order to pay. After scanning their app to get the loyalty credit. And you cant tell how much balance you have left unless you click on a link in the email. A link that doesnt work (404 error) . And if you access the help team via the app, to discuss why you cant determine your card balance....they send you a link to contact another help team. What a palaver.

  22. unbearable

    All software sucks

    There is an old saying among software engineering types. All software sucks. Some just sucks less.

    Now that app making software makes it so simple to make a cross platform app that anybody can do it, guess what? Anybody and his slacker brother in law does. And it shows. By sucking a whole lot.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't tell them your name

    All the coffee shops around me know me as 'the strange guy called Pike who always pays with cash'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't tell them your name

      I take you aren't called Pike, but you do enjoy an episode of Croft & Perry?

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Don't tell them your name

      Or just make one up...

      "Medium latte for Fido!"

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Don't tell them your name

        "Or just make one up..."

        I always do that just to keep in practice. Not fido, but a random name off the top of my head. I am training myself to always give false information as a natural response to any enquiry. These days all you have to do is shove a form at somebody and they'll fill out all of the blanks without ever stopping to think why that piece of information is necessary to be given out.

      2. Twanky Bronze badge

        Re: Don't tell them your name

        Don't tell him, Pike!

  24. Daedalus Silver badge

    Soda jerks

    The trend to ridiculously complex touch-screen operated beverage dispensers is taking hold everywhere. OK, the machine can hold 50 types of syrup for soda instead of 10, but at the cost of a hopelessly complex UI on a touch screen that inevitably fails at some level. I use two fingers together instead of one to get the screen, usually contaminated with grease or some such, to recognize it's being poked. It's best to stick to one kind of drink if you're a regular - going for the new ginger flavoured citrus cola just leads you to "not available". Thanks, id10ts. And thanks also to the procrastinators who, not content with waiting to look at the board until asked by the server what burrito they want, carefully study all the drink choices before settling on their usual liquid candy.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Soda jerks

      > ... carefully study all the drink choices before ...

      ...sometimes having a conversation with themselves about the pro's and con's of each item.

      I hope there is a special place in hell for those folks. -------->

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Soda jerks

      "And thanks also to the procrastinators who, not content with waiting to look at the board until asked by the server what burrito they want, carefully study all the drink choices before settling on their usual liquid candy."

      On the rare occasions I go into fast food/drink emporiums, I'm usually overwhelmed by the choice. There's rarely a queue at the times I go in so the issue is the staff asking me what I want before I've even had the chance to raise my eyes to the "menu" to find out what they sell. Even though there's no queue, the staff get very impatient waiting for me to read and assimilate the menu options before I can even begin to make a choice. These places are designed around regular/frequent customers and have no patience with new customers. That strikes me as an odd way to do business.

      1. Nick Kew
        Stop

        Re: Soda jerks

        before I've even had the chance to raise my eyes to the "menu" to find out what they sell.

        I can't do that. I'd need to be on their side of the counter, and probably standing on a chair or equivalent height, to read the bloomin' board on which it's written.

        Most places will provide a menu on request - if they're not already lying around on the tables. Just occasionally they won't. At worst, asking for one (after standing in a queue where a person with better eyesight would just have read the blackboard) leads to "it's all up there", and impatient incomprehension of my need for anything else.

  25. AlexG_UK

    I'm also a bit of cash based luddite, but I talk to the minimum wage staff like they are human beings. Listen to their answers and respond accordingly. As a result I get about 40% of my coffee "on the house" with no one tracking my loyalty

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      When I pay for coffee (i.e.: not at work), I invariably go to my local, independently owned (and the owners are often behind the counter) shop. Good folks, good food and drink, and although they do take ApplePay (to the delight of SWMBO), they are happy to take cash.

      And they hire the local teens to work behind the counter.

      1. Nick Kew

        When I pay for coffee (i.e.: not at work), I invariably go to my local, independently owned (and the owners are often behind the counter) shop.

        All very well if they're open.

        Town where I used to live and still regularly visit: strong foodie reputation, lots of independent cafés. But if you want a refreshment between about 5pm and pub-o-clock, the only option is Costa.

  26. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Has anyone?

    Considered the benefits of having a flask (or thermos, for those who only recognise brandnames) of coffee handy for these occasions.

    I've never had a coffee from these coffee house chains that tasted remotely like coffee, or if it did, carried a reasonable pricetag.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone?

      Whereas a thermos will always give you something that tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Has anyone?

        "Whereas a thermos will always give you something that tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea."

        Which would be exactly as I intended, as I would have put Coffee 'in' the thermos and would be somewhat surprised if Tea/Bovril/Chilled Gazpacho Soup came 'out' when poured !!!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Has anyone?

      "Considered the benefits of having a flask (or thermos, for those who only recognise brandnames) of coffee handy for these occasions."

      As a roadwarrior of 25 years standing, the first thing I do in the morning is place the flask of hot water, the small tub of instant coffee (took a while to find a good one (for a personal values of good)), a sweetener tablet dispenser, a cooler bag with ice-pack and a pint of milk and a proper mug, all on the passenger seat in easy reach, with a towel/coat/whatever to hold it all in place with the seatbelt where it's all easily accessible while in a motorway services or a lay-by, or even the customers car park.

      I discovered many years ago that a flask of pre-made white coffee starts to curdle by the end of a long day. Likewise, a flask of pre-made black coffee leaves a horribly disgusting "skin" on the inside of the flask.

      I have considered a small 12V espresso to be kept in the boot, but discounted that as just a step to far on the scale of faffiness (and that I'd rather not be standing outside in the rain waiting for it to "perc" :-)

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: Has anyone?

        @John Brown (no body)

        At the risk of being hipsterish, you could use your flask of hot water with an AeroPress. They cost about £30 and work well, it's not quite like an espresso, but close enough for many of us.

  27. Barry Rueger

    F*ck Apps

    Nine times out of ten the Android app is signicantly poorer than a company's Web site.

    And demands ridiculous permissions to boot.

    1. Flakk
      Pint

      Re: F*ck Apps

      Barry in before I could post my "yells-at-clouds" thought. --->

      I deliberately try to keep my smartphone as stupid as possible. More apps means greater attack surface and lost privacy.

  28. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Let the free market decide

    If a business makes it hard for you to give them money ... just stop giving them money.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Let the free market decide

      Which is exactly what I do.

      I'm not a big fan of "free market" but sometimes it's bloody obvious to not spend money with some companies.

  29. Stork Silver badge

    And in a different part of the World

    - cafés**) often do not accept anything but cash, at least not for less than €5. I guess it also makes it easier to forget the VAT*) part of the transaction...

    *) Imagine the two Irishmen/Yorkshiremen/bankers/[other types who have a reputation for thinking tax is optional]:

    - This VAT thing...

    - Yes, I remember that.

    - Did it ever go anywhere?

    - No, there was mo money in it.

    **) Yes, we do have Costa and Starbuck too

  30. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    Coffee in the UK....

    "Corr! This coffee smells like shit!” ...

    (And watch out for labcoat wearers and their "coffee"...)

  31. T 7

    I really hope you never have to use NHS IT. I mean, it's not like lives depend on it.

  32. Anonymous Coward
  33. cream wobbly

    Not the first time!

    One time I made the mistake of attempting to use apps instead of paper for a vacation.

    The airline app worked fine the night before our trip, but next afternoon at the checkin counter, it wanted me to change my password. Luckily we had our bags there and the paper versions of the paperless tickets were easily extracted and we got our flights.

    The app for a well-known theme park worked fine at the hotel the night before, but next morning when we got to the entrance whaddya know? It wanted me to change my password. Unluckily, the paper versions of the paperless tickets were back at the hotel, and to fetch them the fittest parent (not me) took 25 minutes round trip, also known as "the time it takes for the line at a well-known theme park to grow from a few hundred people to a few thousand" so we missed the first hour or so of the "early bird" stuff.

    Next time we went, we just used the paper versions of the paperless tickets. Which are all bigger and use about four times as much paper compared to the old paper tickets that the paperless tickets were supposed to replace.

  34. doug_bostrom

    "I am now contributing to saving the planet by owning a dozen solid plastic reusable cups that will probably outlast all life on it. "

    Look on the bright side. Every molecule of HC drilled, pumped, massaged, excreted temporarily into your hand and then put safely back underground in a landfill is a fraction of a millimeter less sea level rise. In other words, a forever plastic cup is better than an ephemeral flame.

    The whole plastics recycling thing is crazy. Bury it back underground, as fast as possible before the HC gets burnt or the plastic ends up floating in the ocean.

  35. PhilipN Silver badge

    Mind wandered ...

    While thinking about this remembered getting DV’ed the last time I called out the guy who holds up a long queue of the caffeine-desperate at rush hour by using a card - the kind requiring a VOUCHER to be PRINTED and then he has to find a space on a busy counter to sign the thing. Bastard! All for a 2 or 3 dollar/quid cup of coffee. Was he claiming it on Expenses?

    Point of the comment is time was - the time of pen and paper - you could ask the restaurant to write a receipt for a lot more than the actual bill. Now that is how to charge expenses. Course none of us ever did that?

  36. earl grey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    at popular prices

    I like 'em.

    Thank you Benny Hill

  37. Mage Silver badge

    I have expanded my scope for payment apps

    Why?

    Are you a masochist?

    Here I have NEVER been in any shop that didn't take Euros.

    I use IBAN, Paypal, Credit Card online. Only on my own laptop, at home. I don't trust public WiFi.

    I do have apps on my phone, only one needs a connection. Others are for notes, calculator, reading, spirit level ... I can't download paid apps, as my phone and its associated Google account do not know my real identity or any payment method.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nudge, nudge

    You are not being a luddite if you prefer cash, you're being nudge resistant.

    Can't introduce negative retail interest rates until we get rid of cash.

  39. herman Silver badge

    Hmm, ten years ago, my bank had two factor authentication with a security token and everything worked nicely - I could pay bills online and transfer money to other banks for about 2 years of happiness. Then, they started to improve the system security and features. Now, nothing works and I have to use an ATM to get cash, to take to an exchange service to pay bills or send to another bank...

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Barclays?

  40. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

    For your next challenge, Mr Dabbs...

    ...buy an electric car and have a go at using public chargers.

  41. Tim99 Silver badge
    Trollface

    An explanation?

    "These are big coffee shop chains with bags of cash and immense marketing resources, so they can afford a few grand on an app that only needs to do two things: (1) pay for a drink and (2) tick your loyalty card."

    Alistair, I thought that you were nearly as cynical as me (Well all right, I'm older, so I have more experience and practice). The truth is likely to be: At the marketing meeting that decided that they needed an "App", the 29 year old who was sitting fiddling with their phone said that this was easy. Said person then got in touch with their 29 year old mate's 26 year old brother "who was, yeah, really good". The brother leads an Agile team of a 23 year old and two interns who use 5 different 5GB frameworks of Apps development de-jour. The system was tested, once, by the 29 year old and then shipped...

  42. Big_Baldy_Bloke

    First 10 characters of your password are good enough

    I registered for West Midlands Railway on their website and then downloaded their app only to find I couldn't login because there was an "error in my username or password". I eventually read a help panel which said, in effect, "just use the first 10 characters of your password in the app" and it will work. And it did. Strangest app design and password management I have experienced.

    Even now the app has this Password Help:

    Our website and app now accepts passwords longer than 10 characters.

    If you registered with us prior to 29 August 2018, your password will be 10 characters or less. To sign into the app, please use the first 10 characters of the password you created during your purchase or registration.....

  43. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Paying with an app is Big Brother's dream.

    Governments and big corporations don't want us to use untraceable cash, too much freedom, not enough traceability.

    Ditch these #£$@! payment apps, fight for your privacy.

  44. VAX Wizard
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for the tip, Alistair

    You wrote: After passing my handset over the contactless pad, I made sure to flourish it over the empty paper cup that she'd labelled "Tips - thank you!"

    I have been wondering for some time how to tip with ApplePay. Now I know. And, it works without my fingerprint!

    Good on you.

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