Show Me Your ID

Esteban writes in:

I’ve been a PA for a while in the reality tv circuit and today was actually my first coffee run something that I imagined would be smooth and a little late coming. The production coordinator handed me the company card with his and the company’s name on it.

The barista said it was company policy to see my ID, and since I’m not the production coordinator, the names didn’t match and the sale could not be completed by the cashier.

How do you get around this? I had my walkie on and even my local film offices t shirt on. I mean you can see production on me from a mile away and even googled the company name for the cashier. Is this a common thing?

I freakin’ hate it when this happens. But I’m a do-or-die kind of girl, so I will unashamedly set gender relations back 50 years by turning on the waterworks if that what it takes to get the producer her half double-decaffeinated, half half-caf, with a twist of lemon.

That’s not going to help Esteban much, though.

There are a couple of ways to prevent this from happening in the future. To start with, call ahead the first time you go someplace with your boss’s card. Let them know it’s a company card, and ask if it’ll be a problem.

Additionally, I type up a form letter on the show or company’s letter head:

To whom it may concern:

I grant permission to [TAPA] to use the [company] credit card ending in -####, for matters relating to [show].

Thank you for your cooperation.


Then, I copy both the credit card and the coordinator’s driver license underneath that.

I have no idea if this is in any way legal or official, but it’s worked 100% of the time since I started using it. And even if the barista or prop house or whoever shouldn’t take this letter at face value, so what? You’re not actually committing fraud. You’re doing what the cardholder wants you to do.

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7 Responses

  1. Working in production I’ve rarely had issues using a company card, but just in case it does, the UPM or POC can write a release letter similar to TAPA has described in this post. It’s also never a bad thing to have your PAs carry petty cash in case of emergencies.

    1. It’s also never a bad thing to have your PAs carry petty cash in case of emergencies.

      This is so true, and yet I’ve been on shows that have literally no cash on hand. It’s crazy!

  2. Yes, I sent a PA to starbucks before, and because the order was over $50 they at first refused to let her use my card (we are both female! They wanted to see ID to make sure the names matched). She talked to the manager and used whatever good personality trait she had to make it go in our favor, but I thought the story was crazy and unnecessary! Interesting to hear it has happened to others with company cards.

  3. Interesting; I’ve yet to run into this issue. Most people don’t look at the name on the card, and when they do, it’s usually a gender-matched name, so they don’t think twice when looking at me. Other times, I simply point out the company name on it and that’s the end of it.

    1. This sort of thing happens rather infrequently, but it is still worth having a plan in your back pocket, just in case.

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