Starbucks gift cards that don’t work at quasi-Starbucks locales

starbucks.gif Sometimes, I really don’t get some business folks. I mean really.
Here’s the deal. If you ever go to the bookstore called Barnes & Noble, you’ll notice that they have Starbucks coffee. Wait one second, it’s a Starbucks right? Wrong.
bn.gifTechnically, those cafes are Barnes & Noble Cafes, which are wholly owned and operated by the big B&N. Yes, we know they wear the aprons, and the cups say Starbucks, and the coffee most definitely is Starbucks. They even act like the employees at the Seattle-based coffee operations, which makes anyone wonder if they didn’t all participate in the same barista training.
So what’s the deal? Why the warning above? Well, if you buy a Starbucks Card, you won’t be able to use it at B&N. You’re likely to protest like this guy, and wonder what the heck is going on when there are so many signs that point to the fact that they are who they say they are not. But believe me, even according to the Starbucks Card FAQ:

At this time, the Starbucks Card is not accepted at all airport, grocery, bookstore, casino, university, and hotel locations; nor at stores in Puerto Rico or Guam.

Doh. No bookstores, or airports? Where else would you want to use a gift card?
Is this a sign of a strained relationship between major bookstores and the latte king? Probably not. We imagine it’s due to some contracts where B&N wanted the image but to take on the profits from the coffee sales whereas Starbucks would increase their margins by sales of wholesale products by quantity. To the average Joe consumer though, it royally messes up a great way to pay for that mocha.
Caveat emptor.