With the holiday season approaching, the "pay it forward" trend may start catching on more than usual at fast-food restaurants and coffee shops. However, several McDonald's employees recently came forward to say that the trend born out of generosity, meant to pay for the meal of the next customer in line, actually can cause quite the headache for the employees working the drive-thru.
A recent Reddit thread is full of fast-food workers shining light on the seemingly good deed, including a story from u/Moe6458, who says they are a manager at McDonald's. "This act makes the employees' lives miserable," the Reddit user wrote. "If it's just one person, fine. But paying it forward rarely stops with just one, and begins an endless chain of people paying for the car behind them. It's a recipe for disaster, people's orders getting messed up."
Starbucks employees have also chimed in on the issue, saying that pay it forward lines are prime opportunities for mixed-up orders and miscommunication. Reddit user u/Moe6485 recommended a different way to spread express generosity. "Donate to shelters and food banks. Leave a balance on a vending machine. Be kind to fast food employees who are underpaid, overworked, and really just want a holiday off," they said.
Fast-food employees don't have it easy in general, but especially during a labor shortage amid year two of a pandemic. Earlier this week, a TikTok from a McDonald's employee went viral after she documented a work story from hell. The video, posted by @brittanicurtis23, racked up almost 300,000 views in just two days, with the TikTokker complaining about a 6,400-item order totaling $7,400.
"When a customer calls and says they need 1,600 McChicken, 1,600 McDoubles, and 3,200 cookies in four hours," @brittanicurtis23 wrote. She looked frustrated at the beginning of the clip, then she showed off the boxes filled with McChicken and McDoubles sandwiches and the cookies the customer ordered. "No lie, ya girl is TIRED!" the TikTok user wrote in the captions.
In the hundreds of comments, the McDonald's employee told one user that the customer did pay before she and her coworkers made any of the food. When one person asked who would need that much food, she claimed that the order was placed by a nearby prison.