January 2012


I forgot to tell Pret A Diner that I also blog.

Earlier this week I learned that Pret A Diner, a pop-up restaurant, would be opening at the end of the week. As a subscriber to a newsletter, I was invited to join opening night, or, using the same special email address, priority access to reservations over the rest of their six week run.

After agreeing to a date with two of my friends, I emailed Pret A Diner seeking reservations only to receive back a very odd email:

Dear Adam,
Thank you for your email.
In order to book your table we only need two more things from you.
First would be a mobile number and second would be credit card details to
guarantee the booking.

Please send us these details and we will send you a booking confirmation
shortly after.

Many thanks and all the best,
Your Pret A Diner Team

Naturally this gave me pause, and, ultimately, I wrote back:

Dear Team,

Thank you for your response.

While I am perfectly willing to provide you my mobile number, your request for a credit card number, by email, is clearly insane. The only thing stupider than you asking me for this information over an unencrypted connection is me providing it.

If I actually cared enough, I would have lied to you in order to determine what bank you use and then I would have contacted your bank to inform them of your bizarre request.

It is safe to say that our dining plans for the evening of 28 January no longer include Pret A Diner, and I have already read aloud your email request to a group of friends, not one of whom volunteered to email you with their credit card details.

Good luck with your endeavor.


As I noted before, I forgot to mention that I blog…

5 comments to I forgot to tell Pret A Diner that I also blog.

  • You should have signed it “Your Adam Team”. That would have been more professional.

  • Way to go Adam!

    I love the way you threw it back at them. It shows only too well how CLUELESS they are in Germany about how to handle credit cards and related information.

    Another example: I regularly shop at a great Italian food warehouse store. Fantastic place, will always go there no matter what, but the way they handle credit card customers is just bizarre.

    Even though I have to key in a PIN to make my purchase, they insist I show ID when I present the card. I’ve been going there for years.

    The last time I was there they told me when I asked that they can’t be sure whether or not I have a PIN or sign with a signature, and that besides, PINs can be stolen. Yeah, RIGHT!

  • How insane! Well done, Adam. They show a horrible lack of regard for their customers’ financial safety asking for emailed credit card details.

    Typically German: Either restaurants won’t touch a credit card with a barge-pole or they go completely over the top with them!

    I do hope that you’re not the only person who reacted negatively to their request!

  • The Honourable Husband – What about Team Edward?

    ian in hamburg – given Germany’s really strong data protection / privacy rules, the restaurant’s request is incredibly strange. (They have not written back to me, I might note.) I don’t know what the rules are in Germany, but in the United States businesses are specifically forbidden from asking for separate ID, as long as the signatures match (back of card / receipt) — I’ve successfully refused to show my ID at any number of stores in America. They can only ask if there is a legitimate legal reason to do so…

    Emily – Who knows… I won’t be eating there and I will probably never find out. Given the business model (6 weeks here, wait awhile, then open again, people may not realize what’s going on.

  • PseudoWife

    Wow! Nothing like a free reservation that will end up costing you your credit score. I also loved the “Dear Team”.