Drive-Thru Workers Slam Pay-It-Forward Chains: ‘Tip Instead’

Doing a kind deed for others is usually a good thing, but in certain situations, it could inadvertently make things worse for others involved.

And according to a former Starbucks barista, “pay-it-forward” chains are one of those things that employees would like you to stop. In a video that has now garnered over 2.4 million views, TikTok’er “Tiffany” explained to viewers why it’s best to “break the chain.”

Pay-it-forward lines are simple in concept — one customer gets to the register at a drive-thru and offers to pay for the person behind them, thus inciting a chain of customers paying for one another.

The problem? The baristas aren’t being tipped on the orders that are being paid for, losing out on valuable money when working a service job.

@tiffanycuh #stitch with @bennettcardoso i do this so much i get free drinks at my store #nourisheveryyou #ReTokforNature #starbucks #starbuckshack #starbucksbarista ♬ original sound – miserablehotgirl

“When you get to the window, you say ‘I do not I do not want to pay for the person behind me,’ you take the money that you were gonna pay for your drink and give that to the barista as a tip as they deserve,” she explained of breaking the chain in the drive-thru line. “Take your drink for free and then you move on. That way the pay it forward line is broken, the barista is happy they have their tip and you have a free drink and your barista will probably like you a little bit more.”

Former and current baristas and other drive-thru employees flooded the comment section in solidarity, seconding her statements and explaining how damaging the pay-it-forward lines can be on the job.

“As a barista, not only should you not feel obligated to continue it, I actively don’t want you to especially when it’s busy,” one user said.

“Not a single worker WANTS a pay it forward chain. yeah it’s nice, but if you break it they will all be grateful,” another added.

According to Indeed, the average salary of a Starbucks worker is $14.64 per hour.

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