Woman talking(l+r), Starbucks sign(c)

LALIDA BOONMEE/Shutterstock @kailia_lopez/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘The entire demeanor and personality of this person changes’: Woman says Starbucks barista broke character when she refused to tip him

‘I NEVER tip at a drive through.’


Braden Bjella


In the past few years, shoppers around the country have noticed that they’re being asked to tip more often, and in higher amounts, than ever before.

This phenomenon, dubbed “tipflation,” has been an annoyance for those already sick of high prices, with many taking to social media to share their gripes about this practice.

For example, one user questioned why she would tip after a server encouraged her to get a spoon herself, while another said that a worker gave them “attitude” after not tipping on a bottle of water.

Now, another internet user’s tipping story has sparked discussion on TikTok.

No tip? Goodbye, good service.

In a TikTok video with over 31,000 views, user Kai (@kailia_lopez) says that she stopped by Starbucks to pick up some items for her boyfriend. Immediately, she was struck by the barista’s warm demeanor.

“I get to the drive-thru window and the person, whoever, is like, ‘Oh my gosh, good morning, how are you? What have you done this morning? Do you have any plans for today?’ Like, super nice,” Kai recalls. “Then I order his stuff, and then I get to the window, and the person is still like, ‘Yeah, like, how’s your day going?’”

However, this mood took a turn when it came time to pay. After Kai requested to pay with Apple Pay, the barista informed her that the machine was going to “ask her a question,” a common euphemism for being asked to tip. 

“I just ordered $15 worth of Starbucks at 8 a.m. OK, also, I’m in the drive-thru. No, I’m not leaving a tip,” Kai recounts. “So I smashed that no tip button.”

Upon selecting “no tip,” Kai says she saw a notable shift in the barista’s behavior.

“He looks at me, goes, ‘Mm-hmm,’ and then goes, ‘You need to tap your card now,’” Kai states. She later adds, “Hands me the food. Zero eye contact, zero words. Usually they’re like, ‘Yeah, have a good day.’ Nothing, slams the window shut.”

@kailia_lopez #tip #tipping #tippingculture #starbucks #starbucksorder #fyp #advice #whatwouldyoudo ♬ original sound – Kai

Commenters share their tipping thoughts

In the comments section, many users spoke out against the practice of tipping, especially in the drive-thru.

“I NEVER tip at a drive through,” wrote a user.

“I heard someone say they will never tip if they order while standing. I agree. I think that goes for drive thru as well,” added another.

“If I have to pay before I get my food, no tipping is necessary,” detailed a third. “Not my idea but I heard it today.”

Others noted that there are ways to order from Starbucks without being asked for a tip.

“Order through the app. They won’t ask for tip at the window,” said a user.

“I know it’s getting out of hand and when I know of the place doing that, I just avoid it,” suggested a second.

The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks and Kai via email.

Update 1:01pm CT June 26: In an email to the Daily Dot, Kai stated that she “[has] not gone back since and I don’t think I will go back to that location.”

“I think tipping right now has gone crazy,” she wrote. “Everywhere you go someone is turning around an iPad. Tipping used to be about how well someone performed a service—that’s why you tip after you get the product, like maybe at a restaurant or hair salon.”

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