A new social media trend has emerged involving Starbucks customers ordering increasingly elaborate drinks and posting them online. The unfortunate side effect of this viral trend is that the coffee giant’s workers are being sapped of their will to continue working for the company.
This new trend emerged on the social media app TikTok. There, users are posting videos of their “secret menu” drink orders, their own recipes and the modifications they are making to their orders using the Starbucks mobile app.
The company does not limit the number of modifications customers can make to drinks ordered through the app. Starbucks baristas have remarked that this can make it a lot more difficult to understand exactly what customers want.
“People will get very mad over sort of little stuff when you’ve made the drink almost perfectly,” said one barista in a Starbucks in Maryland. “And it’s frustrating to feel like you can’t say we can’t really make it that way, so people treat us like coffee-making robots.”
“These orders are driving us insane because they’re so long, so specific and it requires you to do much more work than you should be doing for one single drink,” said one Starbucks shift supervisor in New York.
This trend has been going on for several weeks now, with many ridiculously complicated Starbucks orders going viral on social media. In one incident in a Starbucks in Los Angeles, the barista, Josie Morales, posted a picture of the complicated drink order on Twitter. The order included a total of 13 modifications, including various changes and substitutions to the drink order’s ingredients, such as the addition of five bananas.
Morales captioned the image with the message, “On today’s episode of why I want to quit my job.” The order went viral, and Morales was fired for posting it.
“Custom drinks from social media like TikTok are also increasing the need for labor,” said one supervisor in Pennsylvania. “These drinks are getting more and more complicated while the company is pushing for drive-thru times under 40 to 50 seconds.”
Erika, a Starbucks shift supervisor in Ohio, said that the strict limits on wait times in the drive-thru made customers expect the store to act like a quick-service restaurant. One improvement she suggested was simplifying the store’s menu and restricting the number of modifications allowed. This would improve the well-being of workers while maintaining the limit on wait times at the drive-thru.
Starbucks workers overworked since beginning of pandemic
Many workers in Starbucks believe they do not make enough money for the intense work and customer abuse that they have to deal with on a daily basis. This situation is compounded by understaffing issues that began last year during the height of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (Related: Democrats’ plan to destroy Trump-voting Middle America proceeds as small businesses close because workers making more on govt. handouts.)
Through the entirety of the pandemic, Starbucks workers have described incidents of being verbally abused or even physically assaulted by customers. These incidents reportedly occurred over the enforcement of coronavirus safety protocols. One barista said that he and his team have been chastised for asking people to put on their masks or to wear their masks correctly.
“I’m not compensated enough for the amount of work that I do, because I’m still struggling to pay my bills, pay my rent and buy groceries,” said one shift supervisor in New York. “I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck and it’s really hard to save money. I give so much of my time and energy to this job and the compensation doesn’t measure up to the amount of work that we have to do.”
The shift supervisor added that the labor hours he and his team are given are not enough for the sheer volume of orders that they have to carry out. “They’re asking way too much of us and a lot of the time I don’t have enough people on the floor to do all the things that Starbucks asks us to do.”
Learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic has influenced the market to change drastically by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.