woman storming out of Starbucks other customers yelling at her (l) Woman screaming at Starbucks employee's faces at register (c) woman shouting from open door into Starbucks, other customer waving hand at her (r)


‘It is not illegal to yell here!’: Karen goes viral for unintelligibly screaming at a Starbucks employee



Jack Alban


Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of “Karen” spottings on the internet. While there are a variety of different scenarios where grown women throw temper tantrums over apparently petty situations and/or everyday inconveniences or because they just simply aren’t getting their way, for some reason, they seem to be attracted to verbally abusing food service retail employees.

Whether it’s shouting their opinions on mask-wearing and the COVID-19 pandemic while at a Starbucks, or trying to get a free iced coffee from a shop that doesn’t make frozen coffees, Karens just can’t seem to get themselves together whenever they step foot inside of a cafe or more specifically, Starbucks.

In yet another instance, recorded in a TikTok video uploaded by user @meltingpot960.8c, a woman in a pink top can be seen/heard yelling at the top of her lungs at a Starbucks worker who looks at her while smiling. Her expression appears to convey an amused incredulity at the Karen’s exuberant anger.

@meltingpoint960.8c i just wanted coffee 💀 #starbucks #crazygirl ♬ original sound – faeries only

The irate customer in question screams, with some words unable to be understood: “…training program that this is [unintelligible] it is not illegal to yell here! Excuse me ma’am you are [unintelligible] visiting the city!”

Another shocked Starbucks employee attempts to interject and calm down the situation while the woman continues to scream.

“Would you please ask your family to [unintelligible] several times. I will not leave your bullshit store you have been asked very loudly about your family’s contracts, do not live on this salary. Good bye with the understanding I asked quietly…” here she starts slamming the counter, screaming unintelligibly, “…loud!”

She then begins to walk out as someone behind the camera says, “Get the fuck out of here. Get the fuck out lady. Get the fuck out.”

Other customers laugh at her outburst as she leaves the store, but before she does, she lingers at the door and continues to scream as a store worker says, “Goodbye. Goodbye.”

When she finally leaves, everyone in the store starts applauding, happy to finally be free from continually being subjected to the woman’s behavior.

The video received over 17.9 million views, and several TikTok users expressed their confusion with the entire encounter. It didn’t seem as if the customer was even upset by the lack of service she was or wasn’t receiving, but was rather irate at the fact that she had asked a question pertaining to the Starbucks’ worker’s salary and she wasn’t happy with the answer, or lack thereof, that she was receiving.

Other commenters were perplexed by the manner in which the woman was speaking and how she rhythmically punctuated her words.

“What is she even yelling about,” one viewer asked.

“Why is she yelling in syllables,” another questioned.

“”YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED. VERY LOUDLY,” a third viewer joked.

“All i heard was “training program” and ‘t pain’ i am befuddled,” another noted.

A lot of users on the platform remarked that they could feel the solidarity of the customers in the store who all banded together to tell the Karen to leave. While it’s scary, uncomfortable, and shocking to deal with overly dramatic and frighteningly delusional individuals like this who lose control of their emotions, they do provide a great “bonding” environment for those observing this type of behavior.

“I love when everyone told her to get the f out so good hahah,” one viewer wrote.

“This is the kind of situation that bonds everyone in the store together for the next 5-10 min,” another commented.

So why are there so many customer freakouts recorded and uploaded online, and why do so many of them seem to occur in the US? While crappy shoppers are certainly not a problem endemic to the United States, there are studies that show how the Industrial Revolution in America introduced unique business opportunities in the form of retail stores that much of the population wasn’t exactly familiar with. Therefore, as Amanda Mull wrote for The Atlantic, prior to the onslaught of mass-produced items lining up shelves ready for purchase from the hard-working public, Americans needed to be “taught how to shop.”

Because so many shops were popping up with tons of folks rushing to staff these locations, the goal was simple: get folks to shop at your particular store. With such largesse meant that there were a lot of options for buyers—which meant that customers needed to be wooed.

“From 1870 to 1910, the number of service workers in the United States quintupled,” Mull wrote. “It’s from this morass that ‘The customer is always right’ emerged as the essential precept of American consumerism—service workers weren’t there just to ring up orders, as store clerks had done in the past. Instead, they were there to fuss and fawn, to bolster egos, to reassure wavering buyers, to make dreams come true. If a complaint arose, it was to be resolved quickly and with sincere apologies.”

This is an idea that permeated retail stores and obviously, depending on how some folks were raised, this entitled ideal is taken a bit too literally. Which could, in part, be responsible for helping to spur on the freak-outs some Karens feel more than comfortable indulging themselves in when someone steps on their shoes, or when a Starbucks employee refuses to take off a Pride pin on their apron, or won’t give them a free beverage.

Time also discusses the distinct “Karen” phenomenon and pens that the meme isolates a particular phenomenon peculiar to white women who “weaponize” their victim-hood. Perhaps what makes “Karens” so quick to jump down a worker’s throat about a seemingly inconsequential thing has to do with the fact that she sees herself as a victim while simultaneously believing that she, as a patron, is also in a position of power.

Whatever the reason, it’s evident that many people find behavior like the one exhibited by the woman in the viral TikTok above to be abhorrent.

The Daily Dot has reached out @meltingpot960.8c on TikTok for further comment.

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