400 People Continue Starbucks Pay-It-Forward Chain For 11 Hours

For about 11 hours, the customers of a Florida Starbucks kept a pay-it-forward chain going. Almost 400 cars each paid for the order of the customer behind them in line, continuing the chain from morning rush hour until dinner time. Are these chains inefficient? Sure. Do they brighten the day of both customers and employees? Generally.

Of course, there are the occasional grouches who say that they would have ordered something more expensive if they knew that someone else was paying the tab. Ignore those people. They are actively working against the spirit of generosity. It’s the person who starts the chain who is awesome.

How it worked in St. Petersburg yesterday was that customers would place their order at the drive-thru menu board, then learn that it had already been paid for when they pulled up to the window to pay. The barista offered them the opportunity to pay for the order of the person behind them in line in turn, which almost 400 people did.

According to employees, the final customer who broke the chain simply didn’t seem to understand what was going on, and chose not to pay for the customer behind her. Other outlets have solved this problem by keeping a rolling fund in cash for future orders, which is how a store in Connecticut kept their chain going for almost 1,500 customers over several days.

Is this a world-changing effort? No, of course not. It’s just a nice example of a few hundred people choosing to do something nice for a stranger.

Nearly 400 people ‘pay it forward’ at St. Petersburg Starbucks [Tampa Bay Times]

Read Comments4

Edit Your Comment

  1. schwartzster says:

    Please tell me I’m not the only person who thinks these things are idiotic.

    • furiousd says:

      Same, I don’t consider it Consumerist news, nor news in general. It’s nice, but not worth a whole article, just a mention if you happen to know a waitress that worked there.

    • SingleMaltGeek says:

      Yes and no.

      If I did this, I’d want to just bring some random kindness into the next person’s life, and I’d actually find it annoying that a bunch of other people kind of rode the coattails of my act without caring enough to instigate such an act themselves.

      Then again, if I found that someone who I didn’t know and who may no longer be in the store had paid for my order, I’d want to pay it forward simply because I can easily afford to get myself a fancy frou-frou coffee every day of the week if I was so inclined, and I’d rather it go to someone else who could benefit from it more.

      EDIT: clarity

  2. StevenB says:

    I was in one of these once. I was the last car. There weren’t any cars behind me so I got my stuff for free. This particular Starbucks didn’t have some kind of rollover jar or anything. Even if it did, I wouldn’t have been able to do it because I didn’t have cash anyway, I generally never do.