I recently got a prepaid card from American Express — part of the Serve line, that allows you to send and receive money from friends on Facebook. I got it primarily because it promised in game rewards for a game I particularly like on Facebook. I wanted to see how well it worked and so I put a little money on it and went to Starbucks to get my wife Elizabeth a surprise drink.

The following day, I was surprised to receive a call from American Express Serve Customer Service. They told me that they had been notified that I had left my card at that Starbucks and when I looked in my wallet, it was of course not there. I’m not sure why I thought it might be there. I was extremely grateful that they reached out to me and I also thought it was fantastic that someone at the Starbucks store had called American Express to let them know that the card was there.

As it was Friday, I was going to go to Starbucks anyway to get my weekly flowers for Elizabeth and so I went and ordered her drink, adding “Affogato style” at the end so that they would know that I did not want Elizabeth to taste plastic in her drink. I then added that I got a call about my missing American Express card.

Two people looked for the card and neither of them found it, either in the safe where lost things were kept or by the register where I left it. One of the baristas suggested that perhaps American Express had mentioned Starbucks because that was the last place I had used it.

This would be well and fine if it weren’t for the fact that I only used the card at two different places, the second of which was Starbucks, and I went home immediately after that. Additionally, the person at American Express specifically told me that the card had been found at Starbucks, not that it was last used there. We went around in circles at Starbucks before I gave up and left.

I called American Express and told them what had happened — they too were baffled as to how the card was no longer there. The only thing I can imagine is that the card was thrown away because it not only did not look like a traditional American Express card, it didn’t look like a traditional credit card at all with a whimsical drawing of a princess on it. I suppose it will be quite amusing if, the next time I go to Starbucks, I get an apology and my card — but that is not likely to happen and wouldn’t do much good as I am having a replacement card sent.

Be careful with your credit cards! You never know who will misplace them. I went back to the same Starbucks location on Sunday and asked again about the card, as there were other people working there. The woman who made my drink asked a few identifying questions and immediately knew the card I described.  She went to one of the same places the previous people had searched and had no problem in immediately locating the card. One of the people that had looked for the card looked at my card and said, “I thought it was an American Express card.” “Yes,” I said, “as it is an American Express Card.” I pointed to the American Express symbol on the card.

“Oh,” he said, “Sorry about that, man.” That was sadly one of the best apologies I have ever gotten at Starbucks.


  1. You inspired me to find my Serve card again, Gordon. I had $10 on it and bought Janna some lunch today! SMILE!

    I tried to link my Serve account from Serve to Facebook and it didn’t work. From Facebook to Serve did work. Now what? What’s the point of connecting Serve and Facebook?

    I am disappointed Starbucks wasted your time. My Serve card does not have my name on it. Does yours? Can you explain the Princess image on your card?

    1. Lots of time — because now I have to wait for a new one to come in the mail to use it again!

      I play (read : waste time playing) a game called Castleville. The game is free to play but has premium products as many free to play games do — that can only be purchased with in game cash. I have never spent a dime on this in game cash but always click on their banner ads that promise you in game cash for watching commercials, etc. I bought my mother a Mother’s Day gift through an affiliate link and got hooked up that way as well.

      Recently, the company that makes the game connected with American Express to offer these Serve cards for their most popular game.

      Funnily enough, when the barista gave me back my card, the woman standing next to me at the bar pointed to the card and said to her boyfriend, “Look, there’s the game you’re always giving me a hard time about playing too much!”

      The main point of connecting on Facebook is like this. Say we live in different cities. “David,” I say, “Be a pal and lend me five bucks so I can buy this block of tofu today?” “Sure,” you say, and send me the money through Facebook via Serve. So it’s sort of like a new PayPal but one that has a tight Facebook connection. After all, with so many people on Facebook, it makes sense to American Express to get set up like this.

      Plus, since it is a prepay card, parents can give their kids a little dinero online that they can use for games. Kids have it made now!

      (How was Janna’s lunch?)

      1. Janna’s lunch was good: Iced tea from Dunkin Donuts! I didn’t know if DD took AMEX or not — lots of stores don’t want to pay the higher vig — but checking online first, I saw that AMEX handles the DD pay cards so I thought it would be a slam dunk, and it was. The card went straight through. I don’t understand why they don’t put our names on the card, though. That’s odd.

        I like the branding of the game on your card. Fun!

        It’s good Facebook has a reliable payment system now. That should make things much slicker moving forward.

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