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Java junkies at North Van coffee shop get caffeine fix with IOUs

When debit and credit card payments were knocked out by the Rogers network outage Friday, Delany's Coffee in North Van allowed customers to pay with IOUs on the honour system.
Delany's Coffee
Robin Delany and son Devin Delaney at the Edgemont location of Delany's Coffee. They extended credit to customers during the Roger's wireless outage and reported that all their customers honoured their coffee debts.

No cash, no credit card, no debit. No problem!

While most retailers were knashing their teeth Friday after a Canada-wide Rogers network failure left them unable to process any kind of electronic payment, several North Shore businesses got around the system snafu the old-fashioned way – allowing their customers to come back and pay later on the honour system.

Delany’s Coffee House in North Vancouver’s Edgemont Village was one of those offering java junkies IOUs on Friday.

The locally-owned coffee shop opens at 6 a.m., which is when baristas first noticed the electronic payment system was down, said owner Robin Delany.

That happens periodically, when electronic payment systems go offline temporarily, said Delany. But when he found he couldn’t send any text messages, Delany said he headed to the coffee shop in Edgemont Village where he discovered “there were a lot of upset people.”

That’s when he decided to allow most regular customers to pay on the IOU honour system.

Usually, most customers pay for their morning caffeine hit on credit or debit cards, said Delany. “Very few people are carrying much cash.”

Delany, who has three coffee shops on the North Shore and one in downtown Vancouver, said the decision to go with IOUs on Friday is really just an extension of what he’d normally do if a regular customer forgot their wallet.

Most customers at the Edgemont coffee shop are regulars, he said – though the store gained some customers from the nearby competition Friday, which wasn’t offering the coffee-now-pay-later option.

“We have a very loyal clientele.”

Delany estimates between 75 and 90 customers took advantage of the option to caffeinate now and pay later while the electronic payment system was down, racking up IOUs of several hundred dollars.

Almost all came back later Friday or over the weekend to pay back the cash, he said. “People weren’t looking to take advantage of us.”

Some other nearby businesses, including Edgemont's Bufala Pizzaria, were reportedly also offering the eat-now-pay-later option to customers without cash on hand on Friday.

“Their tabs were certainly higher than our tabs,” said Delany.

Delany said customers were very appreciative of the gesture from the coffee shop Friday morning.

“When you're walking into a coffee shop at 7:30 in the morning, and you can't pay with whatever form of payment you have, and you're on your way downtown, or you're going out to the valley for an hour car ride, you sure want to have a coffee,” he said.

The outage over the Rogers network Friday disrupted electronic payment systems as well as some government services across the country.

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