Boba shop(l), Three shop workers(c), Phone in cup(r)

@kungfuteagallatin/Tiktok @kungfuteagallatin/Tiktok @kungfuteagallatin/Tiktok

‘For all that I’m going home’: Worker has to lock cellphone up in a cup when clocking in

‘I’m a grown adult, just tell me to put it away.’


Phil West


Posted on Oct 25, 2023

A bubble tea establishment created an online advertisement showing an employee’s cell phone getting trapped inside of a cup upon clocking in. That didn’t sit well with some. 

Kung Fu Tea, an establishment in Gallatin, Tenn., an exurb about 40 miles northeast of Nashville, posted the TikTok video as an advertisement. In just its fourth-ever video, the account (@kungfuteagallatin) struck viral gold; its latest video amassed more than 766,100 views as of Wednesday morning.

The video showed a cell phone placed into a cup and put into a machine. Someone pushed the “Manual Operate” button, which encased the phone in a boba cup. The cup—with the phone now trapped inside—was then placed on a high shelf. 

@kungfuteagallatin #kungfutea #fypシ #fyp #phonetakenaway #kungfumasters #kungfufamily #kungfuout ♬ Spongebob Sad Song Steel Lick – Some guy on the internet

“getting your phone taken away at work be like,” the account wrote via text overlay.

The video certainly impressed some. Others, however, expressed shock toward the advertisement.

“This advertisement has failed to make me want to buy tea at your establishment,” one user said.

“For all that I’m going home,” another quipped. 

“I’m a grown adult, just tell me to put it away,” a third viewer wrote.

Others, however, admired the store’s innovation. 

“I would be so upset but that is also damn brilliant,” one person observed. 

“Need that for my kitchen; line cooks with heads in phones all day that take an extra 5 seconds to register ‘BEHIND, HOT’ and proceed to bump my pan,” another worker said. 

But others were seriously irked by the prospect of having to hand over their cell phones. 

“bro this criminal lmao,” one user declared.

“Lol,” another added. “They’re not taking my phone unless they’re paying my cell phone bill.”

The Daily Dot has contacted Kung Fu Tea via TikTok comment and its corporate offices via an online media form. 

According to its website, the Kung Fu Tea chain was founded in Queens, N.Y. in 2010. It has more than 350 outlets throughout the U.S. The site’s careers page notes that members of the team will have a chance to “work in a dynamic and exciting environment, interact with diverse customers and colleagues, and develop valuable skills and experience.”

For what it’s worth, there’s no mention of workers having to lock their cell phones inside a cup. 

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*First Published: Oct 25, 2023, 9:24 am CDT