Our team has grilled Burger King about the situation to learn how the spam came to be served and, critically, if a security compromise was the cause.
A Whopper of a pun Mr Sharwood
Burger King has just served spam to many of its customers, who have complained they received an emailed receipt to advise them of a non-existent order for no food. The tweet below is a typical example the receipt and the reaction. Why did Burger King send me this blank receipt whilst i was sleeping at 5am? & i haven't been …
Thing is, this looks like the ordering system has gone rogue and sent out a receipt for a null order. So this email template is the one you would receive if you had placed an order, so an "unsubscribe" link would make no sense.
Cock-up rather than conspiracy, I'm going to bet. But then, it normally is.
On the contrary, an option to unsubscribe would make perfect sense if, like many of us, you don't want to be spammed every time you order fast food.
The only time I want a receipt is if I'm going to be writing off a meal on my taxes. Given that I can only do that for business-related meals and the chances of fast food being a business-related meal are close to nil, I essentially never need or want a receipt for fast food.
Walking into a shop and putting a bar of chocolate in you pocket is not technically shoplifting until you leave without paying. (Do not try this. Do you really want to hope a magistrate will believe "I was just testing" when you are asking for bail?)
I would not feel comfortable leaving a shop without a physical "get out of jail free" card.
"I would not feel comfortable leaving a shop without a physical "get out of jail free" card."
Same for "Pay at the pump" gas (petrol) receipts. A state trooper will probably haul you in for questioning if the convenience store clerk (who's been on duty for 12 hours) misidentifies yours as the vehicle that drove off without paying.
> you don't want to be spammed every time you order fast food
What about not giving them your email address to start with?
They definitely do not need an email address, even if you order online, it's not like you will download the
food er, uh, whatever you order there, the person making the delivery can easily bring you a paper receipt, the old-fashioned way.
If they ask for an email address it's just to spam you, so don't complain if they do...
Given it isn't a marketing email there is no requirement for them to provide an unsubscribe link anyway.
Its a service email that in some countries they are obliged by law to provide so whether or not you want it is largely irrelevant.
Certainly in Italy companies were legally required to provide a receipt and I am not aware this has changed.
I use a custom email address for each different random retailer, that way I can know (and destroy the email address) if they ever leak it.
Ordering fast food online gives them one less chance to screw up the order. They'll screw it up anyway, of course, but at least it's accurate when it gets to the kitchen, not screwed up because of the crappy drive-thru mic.
(And yes, I got the spam blank receipt today.)
Because you were stupid enough to give your email address to a company with which the only relation you need to have is to tell them what kind of burger you want, and wait for them to deliver said culinary treat.
It's a common complaint - why is this company "spamming" me, when I gave them my real email address for no fathomably good reason, and agreed to receive this crap via the terms and conditions I agreed to without reading them?
If only those "stupid" people did the simple task of setting up a unique random email address for every single bloody website/company they ever contacted, and spent their lives monitoring all addresses incase there's an order update or similar. They would then miss all those emails that you have to click "unsubscribe" on, and the one ever BK blank order receipt, the fools!
I do not spend any extra time monitoring many email addresses. Email is either delivered to the one maildir I actually monitor or it is rejected. The only real effort is some extra concentration when I reply to ensure I remember to fake the correct From address.
"Because you were stupid enough to give your email address to a company with which the only relation you need to have is to tell them what kind of burger you want, and wait for them to deliver said culinary treat."
After two+ years of various lockdowns/shelter-at-home orders, many of these takeaway "food" outlets probably have a huge database of home addresses now too as people ordered home deliveries, linked to the email addresses.
I always get a weird look when I buy something in a shop these days and say no to giving my email address so they can send me a copy of my receipt. It's as if I should be ashamed to be perfectly happy with a good old fashioned paper one.
I even had an argument at one shop when I was returning an order (click and collect return) for my wife and was told I couldn't get a paper receipt, it had to be emailed and it was only resolved when another shop assistant came over whom I'd dealt with a couple of weeks earlier who calmly picked up the scanner and printed out a receipt for me.
There should be no pressure when making a purchase in a shop to give them more info that they can use to profile people, beyond what I choose to give or not give them.
An email receipt has saved me a couple of times. Once when making use of john lewis' 2 year warranty on a tablet.
M&S food give the option on email receipt which i prefer to a stream of paper i'm only going to bin.
Last time I checked neither company were spamming me or selling off my data.
But that's the point - give you a choice by all means, but don't assume there is something wrong with you for picking one option over another.
As for spamming not all companies have the same high regard(?) for their customers as John Lewis and M&S and how would you know what they will do with your details prior to them doing it? Are seriously going to ask for, read and digest the terms and conditions in a shop before deciding whether to hand over your email address?
The problem with this is the way most receipts are printed these days. They will tend to fade after only a couple days and if you need to prove you bought something 6+ months later, good luck reading those receipts.
This is why I have multiple email accounts. One of them is my primary, another is specifically for places I figure will spam the crap out of me, but also will occasionally have something I want (like an emailed receipt).
Halfords look at you very strange when I tell them I’m not giving them an email address, so do Argos.
One web site I went to wanted an email address before I could read the pages so it got a spam one from my domain.
The problem is a lot of people only have a single address, so they don’t have that option, and they are stupid enough to hand it over to anyone.
Mind you I don’t like communicating with people and tend to keep thing private as much as possible
"Halfords look at you very strange when I tell them I’m not giving them an email address, so do Argos."
They do that to me too. But since I have my own domain, firstname.lastname@example.org goes to postmaster@ so when asked, I give them email@example.com and most look at me oddly, some even asking how come I have one of their email addresses, even sales people in supposedly IT related businesses can't seem to understand how that works.
I got three..
On the plus side, now I know all the emails I registered in their app! (it was purely to access the offers.)
Is handy to have several accounts on these things, to get around the "only one offer per day/visit" limits. Although, for BK UK the code for a cheap whopper meal (APP35) hasn't changed in years, and I sometimes don't even bother loading the app when ordering via the drive through - they've never asked to see it! (Though I'm not sure if anything has changed the with new loyalty scheme they launched a couple of weeks ago.)
I/We should each set up a domain, with a catchall address for email receipts & spam, then for every retailer give them a "custom" one that's caught by the catchall & something detrimental or negative to the retailer concerned & instantly proves if our details have been passed onto a third party....err valued partners & service providers.
.. is that it simply doesn't work at many Burger King outlets.
Plenty of them in Central London, for example, but the nearest one where you can actually order via the app is Queensway. Zone 1, but the western edge of it. Marylebone is an alternative.. except that as a train station site, none of the special offers are available.
I was in another city recently. Great, the centre's store does allow me to use the app - but not at the moment, thanks to some issue or other.
I presume that it's down to the franchise model and plenty of owners simply don't want to take orders over the app for some reason (BK takes a bigger cut?? The cost of the IT??) but I understand that Mcdonalds' app actually works...
The Macdonalds app might actually work but I'm not putting it on my phone regardless of what bonusses or points cashback offers it gives you. I did look at doing this once (there's one just around the corner from work and it'd save me 5-10 minutes standing in line with the rest of the denizens), but then I looked at exactly what it wants to access on my phone (pretty much everythuing) and decided very much against it. There's no reason for it needing access to my address book or photos, and that's just the start.
I have the App in front of me now. It does not have permissions to the address book.
I use it because it makes life very easy, and I get free coffee. I can walk in, sit at a table, order, and have the food brought to me. Saves all that tedious queuing and waving credit cards around.
This was just a marketing campaign for their new menu.
Egg and Spam
Egg, bacon and Spam
Egg, bacon, sausage and Spam
Spam, bacon, sausage and Spam
Spam, egg, Spam, Spam, bacon and Spam
Spam, Spam, Spam, egg and Spam
Spam, sausage, Spam, Spam, Spam, bacon, Spam, tomato and Spam
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam
Lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top, and Spam.
If your Burger King is truly so excruciatingly slow that you cope by ordering ahead via fondle-phone, you should eat elsewhere.
And for the narcissists:
● You are not really royalty, even though someone gave you a cardboard crown.
● You can wait for your order, because no one who is truly important eats at BK.
● Your use of the app makes you look like a chode. Someone should have slapped you, years ago.
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