photo of a car pulling up to starbucks (l) closeup of a coffee drink (m) photo of a hand holding the coffee drink (r)

@im_blessed55/Tiktok Remix by Max Fleishman

‘They tried to set me up’: Man breaks ‘pay it forward’ streak at Starbucks drive-thru in viral TikTok, sparking debate

'The person behind me's bill was 46 when mine was 6.'

 

Clara Wang

Internet Culture

Published Jan 11, 2022   Updated Jan 11, 2022, 12:22 pm CST

A TikToker broke a 23-car “pay it forward” streak at the Starbucks drive-thru because the car behind him had a $46 bill, sparking a debate on the platform.

TikToker @im_blessed55, who has over 66,200 followers, declined to pay for the customer behind him at the drive-thru, according to his viral TikTok. The 14-second video got over 120,000 views since being posted two days ago.

“How y’all feel about this am I wrong? What would y’all have done?” the TikToker questioned in the caption of the video.

@im_blessed55

How y’all feel about this am I wrong? What would y’all have done? #starbucks #viral #fyp #payitfoward

♬ original sound – I’m Blessed

The video shows @im_blessed55 in line at a Starbucks’ drive-thru. A text overlay and text-to-speech effect note: “At Starbucks, they were doing the pay for the person behind you thing. I pulled up and ended a 23-car streak!!”

“They tried to set me up,” it continues. “The person behind me’s bill was 46 when mine was 6.”

The “pay-it-forward” phenomenon encourages drive-thru customers to pay for the customer in front of them. While seemingly a well-meaning feat of social engineering, the trend is controversial and has been criticized by Starbucks baristas specifically for being inconvenient.

His decision to break the streak created a slight rift in the comments section. Most of the comments supported his decision, however.

“Yeah. No. I don’t pay for a $46 order,” @mcfllylikeag6 said.

“As a drive-through employee, my favorite people were the ones who would end these godforsaken lines,” @broccilicheddarsoup wrote.

Others pointed out that they TikToker he could’ve at least paid the equivalent of his own bill.

“I would have put $6 on the order and the responsibility on the next car to keep it going,” @bbbabyshorty suggested.

The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and @im_blessed55 via TikTok message.

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*First Published: Jan 11, 2022, 11:57 am CST