woman complaining (l) (r) barns & noble logo (m)


Barnes & Noble Café worker roasts customers who try to pay with Starbucks cards in viral TikTok

'That's embarrassing; you're embarrassing.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Mar 2, 2022   Updated on Mar 7, 2022, 9:21 am CST

A TikToker sparked both argument and discussion after posting a video roasting customers who attempt to pay with Starbucks gift cards at a Barnes & Noble Café.

The video, which was posted by user @bhadbharista, features her brandishing a sign that says the store can’t honor Starbucks cards. While she does this, audio mocks a fictional customer still attempting to pay with a Starbucks gift card. “That’s embarrassing; you’re embarrassing,” she lip-syncs in the video that has been viewed almost 10,000 times.

In the comments section, fellow customer service workers shared similar complaints about customer inattentiveness.

“Signs are just decorations in customer service jobs,” one user wrote. Another TikToker agreed, saying, “No matter how big the sign is, they won’t read them.”

“I WORK AT A BN CAFE TOO,” shared a commenter. “We have a literal sign that says we don’t take the app and ppl still try to use it.”

“Regulars who try to pay with the gift cards or the app like everyday are a different breed,” added another. “I’m like ‘girl we just did this yesterday.’”

However, other users noted that the Barnes & Noble Café system is misleading. As the bookstore chain’s cafes serve Starbucks coffee, locations can be frequently branded with Starbucks logos.

This leads to customer confusion. The customer does not know that the cafe is not actually a Starbucks location, but a location serving Starbucks coffee.

Several commenters expressed this idea in response to the TikTok.

“I tried once and indeed felt very dumb but at least the lady was nice,” one commenter wrote.

“I did this by accident and the lady called me dumb,” a TikToker recalled. “I didn’t even realize.”

According to @bhadbharista, this confusion is common even though the cafe has multiple signs saying payment by Starbucks card is not possible.

“We have two signs up… both places in front of the register and above the card reader,” @bhadbharista told the Daily Dot. Despite these signs, @bhadbharista estimates that around 25% of customers still try to pay with either a card or through the Starbucks app.

She also says that some customers handle not being told they’re wrong better than others.

“We do get a lot of customers who are super rude about it,” she said. “Some respond with an eye roll or a sigh of disapproval, but always have some snide remark about how ‘we should have that posted bigger’ — or my favorite, ‘You’re a Starbucks, you should take the Starbucks card.'”

She continued, “the latter response is my favorite because I get to follow it with ‘This is NOT a Starbucks, this is a Barnes & Noble Cafe.’”

That said, she makes sure to note that many customers handle the information just fine.

“Normally it’s fine… [and] the customer apologizes,” she added. “I normally respond with. ‘I’m sorry for the inconvenience; I know since we have some Starbucks logos up it’s misleading. However, those are just to show that we proudly serve Starbucks’ coffee and espresso in our cafe drinks!’”

Starbucks and Barnes & Noble did not immediately respond to Daily Dot’s request for comment via email.

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*First Published: Mar 2, 2022, 11:44 am CST