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.
• Gregorys Coffee is a GQ-approved coffee shop chain in N.Y.C. that balances a quality product with a smart approach to design. A case in point: its logo, which is two coffee cups that form the glasses of the bespectacled founder combined w…