Woman talking(l+r), Trader Joe's storefront(c)

Refrina/Shutterstock @kateisbabe1/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Don’t believe everything you see online’: Viewers divided after Trader Joe’s manager snatches flowers to give to customer who wanted them for free on her birthday

'I've never heard of this before.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 23, 2024   Updated on Jan 23, 2024, 3:57 pm CST

A woman who went to Trader Joe’s to request a free bouquet of flowers for her birthday—a rumored birthday freebie. She uploaded a video tearfully commenting on how an employee made her “feel like sh*t” during her visit to the location.

Katyan (@kateisbabe1) says that even though the worker gave her the flowers for free, she didn’t like how he went about doing it. Her viral post has accrued over 91,000 views and sparked varying opinions with some folks sympathizing with her plight, while others believed she was being entitled.

She records her video from her car, where she shows the flowers in question. The event she speaks of occurred presumably right before she uploaded her video.

“So guys I went to Trader Joe’s today because it’s my birthday and I went to get flowers. You might be asking yourself why is she crying she got flowers right?” Katyan prefaces. “This is my second year getting flowers at Trader Joe’s. and I came in today and I asked the manager really nicely that today’s my birthday that I came to get a bouquet of flowers.”

The Trader Joe’s employee, Katyan says, didn’t have the type of response she was expecting. “This guy, he literally look at me and he said, ‘Are you shopping today?’ And I told him, ‘No, but I’m a frequent shopper. I just came in today because it’s my birthday and I came to get a bouquet of flowers.'”

Katyan says the manager then made an exception for her, but he was not happy about it. “We usually don’t do this. Don’t believe everything you see online,” he allegedly told her.

She continues to explain: “Then he proceeded and got a bouquet of flowers… and he snatched the flowers in a very bad way. He gave them to me and he was like, ‘Happy Birthday.’ I believe you don’t make people feel like sh*t on their birthday.”

So why did Katyan think she could get a bouquet free of charge on her birthday?

There have been folks who’ve posted online, like TikToker Mary Rose Demouy, who excitedly shared how she was gifted a bouquet during a shopping experience at the store. It seemed that they believed this was company policy, but according to various commenters, it wasn’t, leading her to believe that this was just an “East Coast” thing.

The truth of the matter may lie in a Spoon University post which discusses how some Trader Joe’s workers were told they were permitted by management to give out freebies to customers upon discovering it was their birthday. One employee said that they gave a woman a free pint of ice cream along with a plastic spoon after the woman discovered she had been dumped. After discovering one shopper had an upcoming job interview, the same worker said she gifted them an extra complimentary bag of frozen chicken tikka masala.

The same article, however, states that there were other Trader Joe’s employees who had never heard of such a practice.

Commenters who replied to Katyan’s watery-eyed post seemed either sympathetic or perplexed by her sadness. “Could you imagine if everyone went into TJ on their birthday asking for free flowers?” one person said.

“So they don’t normally give ppl free flowers on their bday but they did it for you anyway and you crying? … what,” another remarked.

Someone else just couldn’t fathom why she thought she could walk into a retail store and get a bouquet of flowers for free, clearly having not heard of the alleged practice. “Why would you ask for free flowers lo,” they wrote.

There was another user on the platform who was eager to wish Katyan a happy birthday, but said they never heard of this policy: “Happy birthday! You shouldn’t expect free flowers however….. I’ve never heard of this before.”

@kateisbabe1 #traderjoes #badcustomerservice #birthdayfreebies ♬ original sound – Katyan

But others seemed a bit more sympathetic to her plight.

“You still have the whole rest of the day to enjoy. Don’t let those few minutes spoil you whole day. Enjoy your flowers, forget him. Happy Birthday!” one viewer said.

“Y’all are missing the point.. free or not he didn’t have to be rude & disrespectful. happy birthday love,” another commented.

“I’m so sorry this happened to you. I would never ask anything for free on my birthday. I’m too embarrassed,” a third said.

If birthday freebies interest you, you could always check out Nerd Wallet’s compilation of restaurants that give out complimentary birthday items to its customers, and then there’s this massive list from Finance Buzz as well.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Trader Joe’s via email and Katyan via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: Jan 23, 2024, 10:00 pm CST