A woman talking into camera.

@codykatrina/TikTok

Viral TikTok sparks debate on ‘pay it forward’ after creator pays $30 for the customer behind her at Starbucks

Her order was only $10.

 

Laiken Neumann

IRL

Published Jul 14, 2021   Updated Jul 14, 2021, 2:02 pm CDT

A viral TikTok prompted a debate over “paying it forward” after the creator complained about paying $30 for the order behind her at a Starbucks drive-thru.

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“My order was $10, and because you had to go and order for the person behind you, my anxiety-ridden ass couldn’t be like, ‘Oh OK thanks bye.’ I had to pay for the person behind me. $30!” user @codykatrina says in the video.

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She calls “paying it forward,” a gesture in which customers pay for the orders behind them, a “scam.” She captioned the video, “We live in a toxic society.”

The video received over 1.6 million views and 180,000 likes along with a wave of criticism from other users.

The TikToker clarified in a comment that the post was a joke, noting her enraged tone.

“This is VERY clearly a joke. I was being dramatic for the joke, the caption is ‘we live in a toxic society’ in what world is that serious?” the creator said in a comment.

But many users felt she was serious and criticized her complaint.

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“You don’t have to participate in pay it forward if you don’t want to. No one is forcing you to… The only person you have to be mad [as] is yourself…” one user wrote.

“Oh wow you’re mad bc someone was trying to be a nice person? If you have 30$ to spend do it! If not just say no. don’t say being nice is a scam,” another user said. 

Some users shared suggestions to continue the kind sentiment without getting stuck with a large bill.

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“I’ve always said just pay what YOUR order was. If it was only 5 and the one behind you is 20 that’s 5 bucks they’re saving. STILL a nice surprise,” one user suggested. 

“I get yr anxiety & thanks to u I now hv a plan – I decline, pay for myself & ask the offer to be paid to the person behind me. Wld that work???” 

A couple of drive-thru workers said “pay it forward” chains complicate transactions for cashiers.

“Don’t continue the chain please!!!!! I work at wendy’s and i HATE it,” one said. 

“Pay it forward makes my managers mad and give ME anxiety because sometimes cars swap and it messes up the whole thing,” another said. 

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The Daily Dot reached out to @codykatrina and Starbucks for comment.


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*First Published: Jul 14, 2021, 1:42 pm CDT