Would you have done the "pay it forward" thing at Starbucks?

I just read this article:

Man deliberately scuttles “Pay It Forward” Starbucks line.

Summary: There’s this thing where people pay for the drink of the customer behind them at Starbucks. The barista asked this guy if he wanted to do it, and he said no in a non-jerkish way (he actually tipped her $100). The article explains why he said no.

I agree with 100%. I have a hard time saying “no” in situations like this, so I admire those who are brave enough to counter the social pressure, even if they risk looking like grouches in the process. I’m a fan of random acts of kindness, but this isn’t random. It’s a ploy. It’s fake. And it’s actually not helping anyone.

I wonder if this Starbucks would have been as equally successful with getting people to donate $5 to a cause like leukemia or homelessness. I usually donate to those kinds of things when asked at the register. But I don’t know what my reaction would be if I were asked to pay for someone’s peppermint latte.

If it was the same price as what I was getting, sure. :slight_smile: I would’ve spent the money anyway.

What a dumb idea. I don’t gamble, so I would just have to say “no.”

Fortunately, I don’t do Starbucks and I can only hope that this idiocy stays there.

I’d never heard of it. Sounds like a ploy by Starbucks to get people to order more expensive items.

Kudos to the guy who said No.

No. I would have just ordered multi-thousands of dollars of drinks, knowing they would be paid for by the person in the car in front of me.

The man is simply a customer who wants coffee, as long as he gets his coffee he owes no explanation.

I thought he was kind of a dick. He drove a long way to end something other people were going out of their way to participate in. Guess he got his 15 minutes of fame.

It happened for several hours in Winnipeg

I’ve both paid for the person behind me (drive through at Timmies) and had my order paid for - it’s nice sometimes.

I agree that the whole being asked to do it ruins any nice aspect of it.

It’s just the first drink.

I’ve done it before and wouldn’t have thought anything of doing it this time. Never been asked, though. It was just “yours is paid for!” and I was like “yay! I’ll get the person behind me, then!”

It was also never news when I’ve done it, and I had no idea it was happening until I got up to the window to pay. It was a nice surprise and brightened my day a bit. So I’ve started the chain a few times (or else just paid for the person behind me- no idea if there was a chain or just the one person). To me, it’s nice because it’s small and fairly anonymous- you do a little favor for someone you don’t know and then you’re gone. No obligation to pay anyone back, no ulterior motives, no judging whether or not anyone deserves it, just a little happiness for a stranger.

I dunno. I’ve got a Starbucks gold card, so obviously I spend a lot of time under the sign of the mermaid. But if I’m gonna do a random act of kindness, I think I’d rather it be for someone who might be struggling a bit, not someone who’s popping in for their daily $4 latte.

Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, hubs and I went to dinner at our favorite steak joint. At the next table were a couple of little old ladies, and the fact that I’d just received a big check coupled with the recent tragedy started putting an idea in my head. When the birthday cake came to their table, shortly after we received our bill, that sealed it. It had seemed to me that this dinner was a bit of a splurge for them, but a birthday dinner? Come on! I slipped over to the hostess (they know us there) and asked her to have the waitress give me their bill; we would be at the bar. Oh, and mum’s the word. A short while later we saw them leaving, one with her walker. Later the hostess told me that they were very pleasantly surprised and touched. Got me all warm and fuzzy, it did. :slight_smile:

I see it as just another example of conforming to something for the sake of fitting in. It accomplishes a net zero.


I’ve had my food paid for at a drive thru twice. I figured I was getting free food, but I’d already planned to spend that money so I paid it for the next person. The counter person seemed confused, but that was OK.

One day, I was at the corner store and a young woman came in to buy gas with change. I looked out the windows and saw that she was driving a beater and had a young child strapped in. She wasn’t going to go far on 5 bucks, so I gave the clerk my card and told him to tell her to fill her tank, but not to tell her who did it. (I had to stay because the clerk had my card.) She came back in crying and blessing everyone. The clerk told her to pay it forward, and I’m sure that when her life is better, she will remember.

That’s the sort of paying it forward I like to do :slight_smile:

This can only happen at a drive-though, right? (How else do they know what the next person is going to order?)

Sorry, but for that reason alone I’d never do it. Often I see idiots waiting forever in the drive-through line when there are parking spaces right in front and virtually no wait inside. I’d never pay for a drink to perpetuate such lazy-ass behavior.

That’s a far nicer and more meaningful thing to do than just conforming

It sounds pretty silly…regimented ‘spontaneous’ kindness.

The trend seems kind of dumb to me, but going out of your way to ruin it is jerkish behavior. If he got caught up in it and didn’t want to do it, fine. But he planned to ruin peoples fun to forward his own agenda.

If this was heavily publicized in store and employees explain it to everyone I wouldn’t be that mad, but I’d be really mad if this bizarre scheme was not explained to me and I was confuzzled about WTF was going on. There are a ton of caffeine addicts out there, and the last thing you want as an addict is to be fucked with when you are trying to get your fix before work.

Yip, and if I were the barrista, I’d have used part of the tip to pay forward the next guy anyways, so to not let the guy ruin everyone else’s fun.

His entire argument is that he hates being forced into it. Yet he wasn’t. He voluntarily went to the Starbucks after hearing about it. And his goal wasn’t just to not have to do it himself, but to try and end the chain because he didn’t like it. His goal is to try to force everyone else to stop doing it.

I think he even knew that he would come off badly. Why else give (and be sure to mention to reporters that he gave) such a ridiculously large tip?