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Repeat Customer

November 28th, 2008

One agent enters a downtown Starbucks. They buy a drink, then leave. After they have left another agent will enter, dressed exact same. They will act out the EXACT same routine, buy the same drink, etc. Then leave. This sequence will repeat every 5 minutes, and will be filmed secretly to see how people in the store react.

To begin the mission, we staked out the Hero Burger across the street, for our base camp. We met up there, and quickly sent our placed agents over to the Starbucks. Once there, they quickly and inconspicuosly took seats around the Starbucks, preparing to film the whole mission.

One they were all ready the first agent was sent out; Agent Cally. Knowing that I was the first agent, I knew I wouldn’t be receiving any comments, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I did my best to act out our routine as perfect as possible:
1)Enter Store
2)Get into line.
3)Drop hat by accident just before it is your turn
4)Ask if the the Vanilla Latte is good.
5)Order it with whipcream
6)In the middle of the order is interrupted by a phone call. (We’ll be passing one phone along, and the phone will be called by an agent in the store.)
7)Apologise for the interruption
8)Thank the employee nicely.
8)Pick up drink when it is done being made
9)Ask where the milk and sugar are
10)Notice a placed agent, and walk over and exclaim you havn’t seen them in years.
11)Ask where the the placed agent where the subway station is.

Our first task was to all drop our hat, and it was one of the most effective of our tasks. Within the first three people, the employees of starbucks were stating that the spot we had all dropped our hat was ‘cursed’. We chuckled about this and continued on.

Next came the order of the Vanilla Latte. Not surprisingly they did not notice this at all. They get hundreds of orders a day, and so getting 20 orders of this drink was not suspect. In the middle of our order though, came the phone call. And it was a riot. We had two place agents in the store, calling the agent who was ordering the drinks phone. So in the middle of your order it went off *atleast* twice. Plus we were passing along a phone so it was always the exact same annoying ringtone.

And in the middle of the chaos of the phone call, came paying for the drink. This is where we added an extra step to the routine. When the first agent had been ordering he had spent about a minute fiddling with his change trying to get the exact right amount, using nickles and dimes. This idea was quickly adapted to the routine, with each agent entering with as much change as possible.

From there we got the drink, and headed over to Agent Sixpence (our placed agent). Each of us pretended it was the first time they had seen him in YEARS, making a really big scene of it. Each agents talk with him always ended up going into a random direction with each making a big scene.

Finally the routine is over, and the agent would head out, back to the Hero Burger. Where the next agent would be sent out to repeat the routine.

Throughout the experience we received various comments from the staff. From claiming there was a ghost to comments on the phone going off. Engaging the customers was a bit tougher as they were always coming and going, so many did not realize what was happening all around them.


  1. christine
    December 17th, 2008 at 16:30 | #1

    this is awesome!
    is there a video?

  2. December 17th, 2008 at 16:59 | #2

    We did film this mission
    But it was tough filming in the starbucks as we didn’t want to get caught, so the camera man was stuck in one spot the whole time.
    Which means he got very little good footage
    In the end, we decided not to make the video for this one.
    Who knows though, maybe in the future we’ll put one together.

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