TikTok video goes viral after ‘Surprise me’ trend goes wrong

When coffee critic Kristen Alk stopped to order at her local Starbucks drive-thru, she did what so many TikTokers have done in recent months — she ordered a “surprise drink.”

The idea behind the #surprisemedrink trend is to give the barista a chance to get creative and deliver a hand-picked, off-the-menu concoction, made by themselves. Past videos have shown baristas pouring everything from a Rainbow Sherbet Frappuccino to a Hot Butterbeer Latte.

But Alk got a surprise of a different kind.

The incident was captured in a video that went viral, with nearly 1 million views in 3 days.

Rather than accept the challenge, the Starbucks employee on the other end of the microphone curtly responded, “I can get you some ice water. That sounds good.”

Alk, who seemed taken aback by the sassy reaction, looked into the camera and awkwardly said, “Well, can you just make something that looks good?”

@kristenalk Did the barista NOT pass the vibe check? #starbucksbarista #baristastarbucks #rudebarista #starbucksfail #starbuckschallenge #surprisemedrink #surprisemestarbucks #starbuckssurprisedrink #starbucksbaristarecipes #badstarbucksvisit #challengegonewrong #gonewrong #pickmydrink #starbuckschallenge2023 ♬ original sound – kristenalk

Later, Alk claimed that the barista “didn’t pass the vibration check”. But she also admitted it was a busy day at the drive-thru, with a 35-minute wait for customers to get their orders.

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a split answer

The video received nearly 6,000 comments, with viewers split between pro-barista and pro-Alk.

On one side of the divide, commentators seem shocked that a Starbucks employee would be rude to a customer. After all, as the old business mantra goes, “The customer is always right.”

“Nooooo, you should definitely email Starbucks because this is not acceptable,” wrote smhh..b.

“As a barista, please order surprise drinks for me, they are always so much fun. Sorry she was so mean to you,” Jimen wrote.

A TikTok viewer named Syd joked, “This is stupid behavior.”

On the other hand, some commenters found the whole #surprisemetrend insensitive and presumptuous, especially during a busy period when baristas are just trying to fill your orders.

“I’m on the barista’s side. There’s nothing worse than someone coming in during/right after a run, asking for a surprise,” wrote Chasia Binney.

“As a fast food worker, it’s not that we don’t want to do it, but we don’t know what it tastes like, and not just some come back because they don’t like it,” Rosie explained.

Maybe both sides are right.

As Alk diplomatically said at the end of the video, “I feel like it was a little rude, but I understand it can be annoying when people don’t just say what they want to ask.”

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