Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A double shot of kindness

Did you see the heartwarming story about the drive-thru customers at Starbucks in Loveland, Colorado, “paying it forward” by purchasing, in advance, the order of the person in the car behind them? CNN.com has the touching story here.

It’s so great, especially in these troubled economic times, to see people extending goodwill in this way, isn’t it?

The driver pulls up to the window and is told that the customer before him paid for his order. “Zounds! Really?! Well then, I… uh, I’ll pay for the next person! Yeah, that’s it. I’ll pay it forward!”

Allow me to rain on this little parade. No one’s actually getting anything here.

No one, that is, except for the asshole who decides he’s totally stoked about the schmuck ahead of him who paid for his drink and everyone else can go to hell. Guy #1 pays for his own order and this idiot’s. Everyone in between just paid for themselves (in the form of paying for someone else’s, sure, but the transaction’s no different).

This same thing happened in Seattle last year and also got some local news coverage. I thought the whole thing had been set up as a PR stunt because Starbucks’ “Pass The Cheer” ad campaign—focusing on the spirit of sharing—was in market at the time.

And yet...

As I write this I must say I can’t decide if this whole “pay it forward at the drive-thru” is the dumbest thing—because no one really gains anything from it even though they feel like they do—or the greatest thing—because everyone feels better, everyone’s mood is brightened, at no expense.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's like God. The benefit is real, as long as you believe in it. Though I doubt a $2.67 transaction can determine the damnation v. salvation of your eternal mortal soul. (Who knows, maybe it can.) I suggest you accept caffeine as your Lord and savior.