Why Paying It Forward At The Drive-Thru Isn't Always A Good Idea

hand grabbing take out at drive thru
hand grabbing take out at drive thru - Kmatija/Getty Images

Recently immortalized by the Netflix sketch comedy show "I Think You Should Leave," paying it forward is the process of covering another person's food order in drive-thru lines. Once that person discovers their order has been paid for, they typically choose to pay for the next customer's order, and so on down the line it goes. While the intention is good, a recent TikTok video shows just how badly paying it forward can go when visiting a fast-food establishment. According to Entrepreneur, a woman was aggressively approached by another customer after purchasing $60 worth of food at Taco Bell after she became unwittingly embroiled in a pay-it-forward chain.

According to the rattled customer, she was unaware of the pay it forward chain upon making her order, and the customer in front of her assumed she'd been ensnared by a scam artist based on the high price tag of the Taco Bell run. Fortunately, the issue was resolved amicably when the customer making the expensive order explained it was a misunderstanding and that she had no ill intent (she just really loves Taco Bell). However, this incident highlights why paying it forward at the drive-thru is generally frowned upon.

Read more: The Ultimate American Fast Food Restaurants Ranked

Confusion Abounds When People Try To Pay It Forward

Taco Bell drive thru
Taco Bell drive thru - Strekoza2/Getty Images

The customer who shared her harrowing Taco Bell tale on TikTok delved into further detail in her posted clip. According to the TikTok, an irate customer approached her car yelling "scam!" upon receiving the bill for her order. The poster was so alarmed that she even rolled up her windows and locked her doors, fearing the worst until she realized what actually happened. By happenstance, the TikToker with a large order pulled in behind the customer participating in the pay-it-forward chain, which led to the outburst.

For the most part, commenters agreed that paying it forward was a lot more hassle than it's worth. One person claimed, "People are wild. I'm not paying for no one's food. idgaf who you are." This sentiment was shared by commenters on Reddit, as one person stated, "You could be putting people behind you in an awkward financial position." Another commenter provided further insight, explaining, "It makes way more sense as a one-off act of kindness to the person behind you, not forcing them into paying for other people's food." Along with customers, fast-food workers also find paying it forward to be an unnecessary complication, which is why it's better to express your generosity in other ways.

Alternatives To This Altruistic Trend

Starbucks drive thru customer
Starbucks drive thru customer - Bloomberg/Getty Images

In the TikTok clip that revealed just how badly paying if forward can go at restaurant drive-thrus, one commenter offered a sensible alternative. "If you want to help, order extra food and give it to the growing number of homeless people you're seeing on the streets," they stated. This comment highlights how you can make the world a better place without incurring the wrath of fast-food staff (or customers). Additionally, you could provide money to local food banks.

Another video on TikTok explained how you can avoid getting involved in a pay-it-forward chain while also doing something good for your Starbucks barista. Per the post, explain to the staff member that you don't wish to pay it forward and provide the funds that you would have spent on your beverage as a tip (since the vehicle in front of you will be covering your order). Commenters on the clip agreed wholeheartedly, including a Starbucks barista who stated, "As a Starbucks employee, THIS IS WHAT WE WOULD LOVE." Another Starbucks staff member said they appreciate it when customers break the chain, explaining, "Not only should you not feel obligated to continue it, I actively don't want you to especially when it's busy."

Read the original article on Daily Meal.