woman speaking in car (l) Starbucks checkout with tip jar, gift cards, and branded cups (c) woman speaking in car hand up (r)

Thiti Sukapan/Shutterstock @recycledboyfriend/TikTok (Licensed)

‘She just frickin’ drops the change into the tip jar’: Customer says Starbucks barista tipped herself with her cash

‘You should have def said something!’


Alexandra Samuels


A Starbucks customer claims that an employee at the chain didn’t give her back her change and assumed the leftover cash from their transaction was a tip. 

“I literally just had a Starbucks barista tip herself,” says TikToker @recycledboyfriend (Lily Kate Holbert). Her video accumulated over 87,000 views.

@recycledboyfriend Go off then queen #starbucks #barista #foodservice #tips ♬ original sound – RBF CLUB

In the video, Holbert says she’s been paying for her drinks in cash over the last week. Her logic? “If I pay in cash, then it, like, doesn’t really happen,” she jokes. “The money didn’t actually go away.”

Because she’s been ordering the same drink, though, Holbert claims she always pays the same amount. Holbert also says she typically collects the change she receives back and later turns it in “for actual cash.”

In this particular encounter, however, Holbert says a Starbucks employee didn’t give her back her money. 

“I’m waiting for the change because I know it’s supposed to come. …. She just frickin’ drops the change into the tip jar,” Holbert says. 

The top comment on Holbert’s video, with over 1,600 likes, reads: “You should [have] said something and honestly asked for [the] manager.”

Others encouraged Holbert to specifically ask for her change—and even a receipt—during future transactions.

“You should have def said something! Just nicely be like, ‘Oh, can I get my change please?’ And see what she says,” another comment reads.

A handful of commenters also pointed out that the barista probably meant no harm. 

“I’d say there’s like a 95% chance it was an accident and the barista is embarrassed,” one user speculated.

“Lol as a barista sometimes it’s muscle memory,” another TikToker wrote.

In a follow-up video, Holbert says she temporarily resorted to paying for her drinks in exact change. 

“I did just run out of $1 bills, though, so I won’t be doing that anymore,” she says. “But it was a good run for the week.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Holbert via TikTok and Starbucks by email.

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