Starbucks gets great PR when a chain of customers pays for each others coffee. But thats not whats really going on.
When you combine coffee with a poor understanding of economics, two things can happen: You feel smug and self-congratulatory, or you demonize the wrong person. Both happened at the same Starbucks this week, when a chain of 378 people “paying it forward” was supposedly broken by “some cheap-ass” in a white Jeep.
“Cheap Bastard Ends 10 Hours of Starbucks Customers ‘Paying it Forward’” was Gawker’s headline summary of the event. The news, which began in a local paper, even made the Today show.
Everyone seems to misunderstand what’s actually happening during these “pay-it-forward” chains, which occasionally develop at this and other coffee joints. So let’s break it down, at the end of which you’ll understand this: The woman in the white Jeep is innocent. And nobody involved in these chains should be overly pleased with themselves.
I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks this is BS. Instead of paying it forward to other people who have already decided they can afford the luxury of a fancy coffee served to them in their car, try tipping the barista, giving to charity, or buying a meal for someone who really needs it.