One of the primary credos of the Starbucks customer experience is that patrons can expect to get their drink made the exact way that they like it, every time. And if you purchase a drink that you’re not happy with, it’s generally understood that you can get that drink remade at no extra cost. In fact, this is clearly stated in Starbucks’ return policy: “If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your food or beverage item, let us know and we’ll gladly remake it for you.”
However, according to some baristas, like TikTok user Valeria Kim (@gummyvantae), there are a number of Starbucks customers who try and abuse this system by intentionally ordering drinks incorrectly. Apparently, this is a common occurrence, as customers who engage in this practice allegedly hope that baristas will hand them the incorrectly made beverage for free or at a discount.
Kim, however, has her own way of dealing with customers who try this at her store.
@gummyvantae “Actually, I wanted it as a venti, but I’ll keep this one 🥰” no… you wont actually 😐 #catchmeifyoucan #starbiestok #justjokesfolks #ilovemyjob #real #dontfireme #iwokeupinanewbugatti🗣️🗣️🗣️📢📢📢💢💢 ♬ original sound – ∞ redakkai
Kim writes in a text overlay of the video, “‘You can’t keep dumping the drinks while staring at customers when they order it wrong on purpose.'”
She lip-syncs a sound of a man saying, “Catch me if you can, Mr. Holmes,” before the clip then cuts to her pouring out a beverage into a sink.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Kim via Instagram direct message and Starbucks via email.
Many viewers suggested that this is a common practice at Starbucks locations. One TikToker wrote, “Bruh what’s with these people ordering it wrong on purpose? Starbucks be packed sometimes. Gimmie my drink and I’m gone.”
Another penned, “nah cuz this guy ordered a hot caramel macchiato and i gave it to him and he said ‘uh i ordered this iced’ like did you now?”
Some TikTok users thought that Kim’s stance against customers who pointed out that their drink wasn’t made properly was a tad on the aggressive side. However, one person explained that Starbucks employees can usually tell when folks are trying to game the system.
A user shared, “for ppl passive aggressively apologizing in the [comments]…the baristas can tell when it’s on purpose. to get free drinks. they’re not talking abt u.”
One barista in the comments section said that they, too, dumped an improperly made beverage like Kim demonstrated in her video, and the customer was so incensed that they retaliated by reporting her.
“Omg I did this once and the customer later called corporate to complain about me and my manager printed out the complaint and handed it to me,” they wrote.
Some users said this happens so much that as a result, they’re always extremely thorough whenever they take a customer’s order.
As one user wrote, “when you triple check whether it’s hot or iced + size and somehow their grande hot wm was meant to be a venti iced wm.”