‘Free’ Starbucks drink hack sparks backlash from baristas

‘Do you know how volume works?’ one viewer asks

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Thursday 16 December 2021 00:51
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A viral Starbucks hack that claims to result in two drinks for the price of one has sparked mixed reactions from people claiming to work for the coffee chain on TikTok.

Last month, a user by the username @starlight_1995 uploaded a video to the app, in which they revealed that they had ordered a small kiwi refresher from Starbucks with no ice, as well as a cup of ice on the side.

In the video, the customer can then be seen pouring the Starbucks beverage into the cup filled with ice. After the second cup was filled to the brim, the user held up the original cup, which was still more than halfway filled with the green liquid.

“Buy one drink and get [one] free with no additional charge,” the video concluded.

The TikTok, which has since been viewed more than 680,000 times, has prompted a debate in the comments, with some viewers claiming to be Starbucks baristas criticising the hack.

“Then y’all wonder why we run out of product,” one person commented, while another said: “The only reason we hate when people order refreshers like this is because it makes the drinks annoying to make and we run out of the base during peak.”

According to another person identifying as a Starbucks employee, in addition to causing the ingredients to “run out a lot faster,” they get “mildly annoyed” when drinks are ordered this way because “it makes the drink very hard to shake and pour”.

However, there were also those claiming to work for Starbucks who expressed their support for the advice, with someone else writing: “I used to literally recommend this to people when I was a barista. What do I care if a multi-billion-dollar company makes 26 cents less in profit?”

Others claimed that the hack does not work, as the coffee company instructs employees to only fill the base to “the third line” of the cup and then to add water.

“Lol, you know we just add more water right? We put the kiwi base to the third line and then water… you’re not really getting more juice,” one viewer responded, while another claimed that filling the cup only to the third line is “a new Starbucks corporate rule”.

They said: “It’s a new Starbucks corporate rule that if you order a drink with no ice we only fill it up to the third line on the cup.”

“I’ll still do the exact measurements on our shaker and hand you the cup half empty,” another person claimed.

While the video sparked criticism among viewers claiming to work for the company, the viral TikTok also prompted responses from people arguing that the hack is not real.

“I love when TikTok rediscovers that ice takes up space in cups,” one person commented, while another said: “Good job, you’ve accomplished two watered-down drinks.”

Someone else added: “This tactic doesn’t work at bars either. Just because you order no ice doesn’t mean you’re entitled to more drink.”

The Independent has contacted Starbucks for comment.

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