Former Starbucks Barista Calls 'Pay It Forward' Chains 'Extremely Annoying'

Have you ever been part of a "pay it forward" chain at a coffee shop?

The idea is that a customer will pay for their order, and then pay for the order of the person behind them in line. Then that person will pay for the person behind them, and so on.

It's a nice idea, but what's it like for the employees? One former barista shared her thoughts.

Time for full disclosure.

Unsplash | TR

I was a barista at Starbucks for years, working at two different stores. Never once did a customer try to pull this during my shift.

I've also frequented many different coffee shops over the years as a customer, and have similarly never witnessed this.

It *seems* like a nice idea, right?

The concept of paying it forward is wholesome and pure. But when you think of it in the coffee shop context, everyone's still paying as per usual. The only difference is that they're paying for a random order rather than their own.

A barista shared her thoughts.

On Instagram, former barista Hannah Wilson shared this post. She points out that everybody in line can likely cover their own order, since that's why they lined up in the first place. Additionally, if a customer feels like being generous, there's always the tip jar.

Responses were mixed.

Instagram | @hoenest

I'll be honest: I thought more people would have agreed with Hannah's viewpoint. Baristas don't tend to make a ton of money, and I'd assumed the Instagram masses might be sympathetic to the demands of their job.

Was she missing the point?

One of the major themes of the Instagram replies was this: the point of paying it forward is to make someone's day, so if someone wants to use their own money to make someone's day, they should be allowed to do so.

Other baristas chimed in.

Instagram | @hoenest

I'll take their word for it that handling such a situation isn't that complicated. But really, it sure seems a bit complicated: when someone comes to the till, you need to ask the person behind them what they want, and then charge that amount to the current customer.

What do you think?

Is paying it forward a delightful custom, or does it lead to a cascading series of confusing events for the barista? Does it even happen that often anyway?

Make sure to share your thoughts and stories in the comments!