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

So … only the first coffee is actually donated, everyone else is essentially spending the money they were already going to spend, but now feel like they’ve given someone else something? Is that it?

I suppose I would have done it but it seems kind of self congratulatory. I’m pretty broke myself so I’m more likely to throw in the small change at the supermarket for the person ahead who’s trying to figure out which items to put back. The most memorable one being a dude struggling to pay for two items - a packet of biscuits (his lunch I suspect) and a pack of condoms.

I’ve done this a couple of times at my local coffee emporium, but it was in return for a kindness that someone showed me directly. The first time, I had forgotten my wallet and the guy ahead of me paid for mine and his and told me to do the same later on, which I did.

The second time, I paid for a student who clearly didn’t have enough for a cup of ice water, let alone a cup of coffee. I told the owner of the coffeehouse to allow the student to get whatever he wanted, and that I’d pay for it. The student was a little confused at first, but gratefully accepted the drink and a small snack.

And some guy paid for our lunch the first time the sprog and I went to Airman’s unit for lunch. He was in uniform (obviously), and the server at the restaurant we’d gone to told us that our meal had been paid for. That was nice and it’s something I try to do when I can.

We’re all in the drive thru line at starbucks how much can we be hurting for a discount? Nice gesture but soon forgotten otherwise imo.

So, I have no problem saying no, they can pass the hat behind my back, pass me over grover, let me pay my way, and the pay it forward fairie can skip over me, would that be a problem?

I still feel pretty good about giving a ride last week to a young mother toting her toddler along the side of the highway on a hot day. I passed by then turned around to ask if she needed a lift, she was in tears and very upset but gratefully accepted my offer . I made small talk, she calmed down, found out she was homeless, but was going to a friends house to stay for awhile. I had no cash, otherwise i would have offered her some money.

To me it’s more the idea that the first person made a nice gesture. The rest of the people are passing the nice gesture along. Is it gonna help cure cancer or any other lofty goal? Of course not…it’s just a nice gesture.

Here’s another analysis of the situation, which explains why this thing doesn’t make any economic sense.

I wouldn’t have been in a Starbucks in the first place.

He claims he intentionally interfered because he (assumed) that people were doing it out of guilt and pier pressure, not generosity, but tipped the barisita $100.

Big red hypocritical flag here, the tip was a sign that it was guilt that motivated him (since he tipped so much), and peir pressure was what drive3 him to visit that Starbucks to scuttle this plan.

As so often the case those who accuse are often the one’s guilty themselves.

For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, I don’t do the drive-through. I always park and walk in even if my order is to take away in the car. And I don’t expect such a forward-thing to work inside the store where you can see the person for who you would be paying standing right behind you.

Random strangers helped me when I was down and out. When I struggled to find the words to thank them, they all told me to pay it forward someday. Now that I can, I am.

This makes much more of an impact on someone than a free coffee.

I agree with you, a free coffee will brighten up your day, but means nothing in the long run. What you did for that lady will be remembered much longer, and when her life is better, she will probably remember your kindness and pass it on.

Small acts of kindness can have a long lasting effect and make the world a better place.

I have gotten caught in pay-it-forward drive-through lines before. I’ve always played along. Because people don’t know they’re in it until after they’ve ordered, you aren’t going to get an a-hole behind you taking advantage of it, and it gives everybody a warm fuzzy–especially the people working the drive-through.

Is a bogus warm fuzzy a good thing or bad thing?

I say bad thing. Or strictly speaking, in my experience, it’s an instant gratification (more dopamine!), but pernicious and negative in terms of bad habits and a bad outlook.

This kind of thing doesn’t really seem like generosity. Unless you think welfare for the rich sounds like a jim-dandy fun.
Anyone that was needy wouldn’t have walked into a Starbucks to blow money on over priced coffee.

It’s a game for the bourgeoisie.

A good feeling is a good feeling. Even if it’s bogus. Maybe the illusion of doing something nice for someone else may make a person more likely to do an genuine good deed in the future. I have no reason to think this is true, mind you, but it makes me feel good to believe it is. :slight_smile:

Of course, the reverse could also happen. Someone feels like they already did their good deed for the day, so they are reluctant to do anything else. Kind of like what happens when I give one panhandler a dollar but can’t be bothered to help out the next one. WHY WON’T PEOPLE WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

It’s the fodder for some interesting research questions.

Holy cow! I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Its more focused on cats than humans, though. I feed the strays and feel resentful when I see well fed cats eating the kibble I leave out. How stupid is that?

But yeah, a good feeling is a good feeling. Get them where you can, there aren’t enough of them in the world.

No more so than giving a smile to someone on the street. It’s not charity, but it’s still kindness.

What does Starbucks do with the extra money once the chain is broken, if the last person doesn’t take the free drink without paying? That person’s drink is now paid for twice, right?

It seems like that is what effectively happened in this situation.
Do they ring the drink up twice? Put the extra in as a tip?

No, the chain is broken when you do not pay for the person behind you. If your first drink is paid for, it’s paid for. Your bill comes out to $X - $Paid.

There was no money left over in this scenario.

If it gets to the point where you refuse to pay $X-$Paid for your two lattes, and you insist on paying $X for both, then the barista could take the money and apply it to the person behind you. Or keep it in the till. Or pocket it.

But that’s less likely to happen.

Pier pressure only works if there’s a Starbucks at the local yacht club. :stuck_out_tongue:

Gotcha. Thanks - I should read the articles more carefully. :slight_smile:

I broke the chain once. I ordered a $2 coffee. I pulled up and they told me, “The person in front of you just paid for your drink.” I don’t think they prompted me any further, so I asked:

“What is the bill of the person behind me?”


“Um, no I’ll just take the drink, thanks.”