If you were buying lunch anyways, would you help a stranger by swiping their frequent customer card?

During a slow period at work today, I started daydreaming about ways a person might creatively get by for a while if they were completely broke. (Am I short on cash till my next paycheck? Why yes, how’d you know! :slight_smile: ) Anyways, came up with a possibly good idea, and I’m curious how it might play out…

Imagine you’re on a busy city street, about to go into chain take-out place, when a guy catches your eye outside and asks if you’d do him a favor: he explains he’s broke, and wonders if you’d help him by handing his frequent customer card to the cashier while checking out, then hand the card back to him outside. If eight people to do this, he can turn the card in and get a free lunch.

Would you do it? Why or why not?

For the purpose of this experiment, assume the stranger to be nicely dressed (or, you know, averagely dressed), polite, and apparently employed. If you want to give a separate answer for how you’d respond to a homeless person, feel free.
And for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of this, no need to vent at me. (I’m broke, but I’m not that broke, and even if I were, I’d probably be too shy to try this approach.) This is all purely hypothetical.

Don’t think I’d be willing to do that. If the guy looked hungry, I might buy him lunch or give him mine.

When I had a grocery card, I let someone else in line use it. I’ve been on the receiving end as well when I’d forgotten my card. Sometimes the cashier would swipe a ‘store card’ so that I’d get the discount. In all cases, the cashier had no problem with it or else suggested it.

A ‘frequent eater’ card seems different to me. On one hand, the Samaritan swiping another’s card is not able to use his own card (assuming he has one); so it’s a wash. No harm, no foul. On the other hand, it’s getting around the intention of issuing the cards. It just doesn’t seem ‘right’ to me. Would I do it? I don’t know. I do know that it’s not something I would do if I were the guy with the card.

The OP gives parameters for the guy that indicate that he probably has a credit card. ISTM that he could just charge his lunch. Or he could charge a lunch at Subway or someplace else where you can get a meal for a five or six bucks.

I would just buy them a lunch.

Yeah, I would swipe it. If I wasn’t down on my own luck at the time, I would likely offer to buy them a meal instead, though.

I rarely give money directly to someone because I don’t know if it is a legitimate need. If someone actually wants to be fed and is willing to wait then it seems more likely to be true.

Assuming I have the cash, I come out of the store and hand him a sandwich and his card.

Yes, I would do it. It they have a high enough profit margin to give away a free meal for every eight, it doesn’t really matter who puts up the money for the eight meals. The store doesn’t lose anything.

I might answer differently if I had my own card and gave up my own swipe.

Hell no I’m not helping him scam the store. If I wanted to help him (which I don’t) I’d give him my own money, not the store’s.

I would do it. Doesn’t seem to be a scam. The store has budgeted to be able to give away a free lunch for every eight that are paid for. Financially, it makes no difference to the store who pays for the lunches, and who eats the free one. It’s not like I am getting a card stamped for me, and one for the other person, which would be cheating.

I’ve collected the stamp-type cards before, and once I have enough for a free meal, given them to the local big-issue sellers (for out of UK folks, big issue is a scheme where homeless people sell a weekly magazine, all very above-board). This is effectively the same thing, is it not?

Sure. Agree totally with Why Bird. It’s absolutely the least I can do besides nothing, it costs me nothing, and it takes no extra time at all.

Yup. I’d do it, and offer to buy his lunch as well.

I think I’d do it.

(Yesterday, on the evening news, was a story of a guy who’d found whole bag of winning rims from the Tim Horton’s, [roll up the rim to win a prize, after drinking your coffee, usually a coffee or doughnut, could be a BBQ or even a car!] I didn’t hear the part about where he found them, maybe fell off a garbage truck, or just left out on the curb, I’m not sure. But, after some thought on the matter he decided the best thing to do was to hand them out, 2-3 at a time to homeless/street people! And it was a big bag too!)

I’d be more likely to just buy the guy some food.

How is it scamming? The store SOLD eight meals. Why does it matter who they sold them to? Surely a customer has the right to decide what to do with their own loyalty points. They could throw them away, or give them to someone else. The store just cares that enough meals were sold to justify the freebie.

The point of the cards is to encourage repeat business from customers, not to give out a certain amount of free lunches per lunch sold. Maybe not literally a scam, depending on the small print, but certainly in bad faith.

I don’t see it as a scam. The restaurant agreed to give out a free meal for every eight meals sold.

Feels wrong. I’d just buy the guy some food.

I feel it’s pretty understood with the “frequent customer” term that it’s supposed to be the same person (or at least the same household).

Suppose I bought eight meals for myself and then gave my card to the homeless guy for him to have the free meal. Would you feel that violated the spirit of the agreement?