‘They Annoyed Me’: Former Starbucks Worker Says He Would End ‘pay It Forward’ Chains Himself, Sparking Debate



For years, the ‘pay it forward’ trend has been prevalent across Starbucks locations. This involves someone buying their coffee or food and telling the barista to also cover the next order. On many occasions, this can cause a chain reaction, with customer after customer paying for the following customer’s meal.

Naturally, there is always a bit of controversy when someone stops this chain of generosity. A user on TikTok went viral earlier this year after admitting they ended the chain, saying that the customers before her had been “shamed” and “caught into this Conga line of morality.”

Another user went similarly viral after saying they stopped the chain upon learning the following customer’s order amounted to $46 while his order was only $6.


Starbucks employees, on the other hand, have been critical of such pay-it-forward chains in the past. Now, a former employee has gone viral after explaining why—and saying that he used to end the chains himself.

The video, posted by user Bennett (@bennettcardoso), currently has over 734,000 views.


In summary, Bennett claims the problem with the pay-it-forward idea is simply related to logistics. Asking a barista to ‘pay it forward’ requires them to juggle multiple orders at once on one tab, forcing them to keep track of each order instead of processing them one by one.

Instead, Bennett claims he kept with the spirit of the idea and would simply tell the next customer that their drink was free, making up an excuse as to why. This would allow the offer to be a one-off event rather than spurring a chain of people paying for the upcoming customer.

In comments, users noted the issues with the idea of ‘paying it forward’ at Starbucks.


“…the whole point is to pay it forward LATER not immediately! it does nothing to keep the cycle going in the same line,” a user observed.

“Honestly pay it forward only works if the person behind them actually gets out of paying for an order,” another agreed.

Other users shared their own ‘pay it forward’ stories.


“I usually just say ‘they paid for you, it’s your lucky day!’” a commenter claimed. “Be excited for them, and they feel no obligation to keep it going.”

“My barista literally said PLS DONT DO THAT to me when I tried to keep going,” a second added.

“Someone paid for my drink once and I happened to look at the car behind me, dude was in a Tesla,” a further user remembered. “I was like ‘he’s good’ and went about my day lmao.”




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