Sorry, that’s not a typo. This is not a “Win a Gift Card” post. But I thought I’d share a rare gift card “win.”

It goes without saying that I never go to Starbucks. When it comes to personal finance advice, “skip the Starbucks” is some of the most cliched, basic, duhhhhh advice around. It’s only slightly less obvious than “giant SUVs are more expensive to operate than small cars” and “bottled water is a scam.” I should hope that anyone who needs the “skip Starbucks” advice doesn’t read this blog, because that is purely Amateur Night. But as much as I avoid certain stores, sometimes I end up with a gift card for one of them.

So yesterday morning, I was reading my favorite news source The Onion and one of the stories hit especially close to home: Man Basks In Triumphant Glory After Purchases Line Up To Exact Value of Gift Card. Little did I know I was about to enact that exact scenario!

On my way back from the Asian Supermarket, I remembered I had a Starbucks gift card from Christmas burning a hole in my pocket. I hadn’t found a use for it yet. I don’t even know what people buy at Starbucks, besides coffee. And despite this being fake money in the form of a gift card, I still didn’t want to spend it on something I could make cheaply at home. So I decided to get some food instead.

Well, I had $10 on that gift card, and to my delight, this Starbucks’ pastries all seemed to cost $2.45. That means I could get 4 items, which would add up to $9.80. But I wasn’t sure if the food was taxed. There is a gray area where prepared food* is taxed, but food ready to eat but not really “prepared” is not taxed. Generally, bakery items are not taxed…

I threw caution to the wind and went for it!

Starbucks Gift Card (3)

Starbucks bakery nummers

And, lo and behold, there was no tax on my Starbucks pastries! The total was $9.80, leaving 20 cents on my Starbucks gift card (which I promptly threw in the garbage) and leaving all of my cash in my wallet. I love life imitating art.

FYI, the scones were okay, but that chocolate croissant was kind of a joke.

Do you have any gift card “wins?” Do you have a pile of gift cards with pocket change on them?


* Hey, for a fun read, do you want to know what the IRS’ definition of a sandwich is? It includes hot dogs, wraps, and open-faced sandwiches. Discuss!