OK, today is a departure from the normal posts around here, but I just have to rant for a minute!
Yesterday morning, I went through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A and when I got to the window to pay, I was told that the person in front of me had paid for my order. And then the cashier asked “would you like to pay for the person behind you?” With all the expectation that I would.
This is a Pay-It-Forward chain. And I hate them.
Don’t get me wrong. I love paying it forward. I’ve given money to people at the gas station. I’ll pick up a meal for a local police officer when they are in line with me or at the same restaurant. I donate in large chunks of cash and time to my favorite charities.
In each case, I have made the decision that I will pay for something. It’s a conscious effort to do something with no expectation of receiving something in return.
OK, in some cases, I do expect the tax benefit and it may affect how much I give to charity. But generally, I don’t expect something back from the people that I give to. I normally have not received any benefit prior to giving.
The problem is the chains.
The Problem With Pay-It-Forward Chains
So, back to yesterday – I went to pay and suddenly they are throwing me for a loop.
I’m not a morning person so throwing me for a loop when I’m trying to get my morning caffeine is not putting me in a good mood to start off with.
And now you want me to find some more money to pay for the guy behind me?
I made a decision on what I was comfortable buying – based on the food choices (because yes, I know – fast food) and my budget. And the cash I have on hand.
In this chain, I was fortunate – the person behind me only had an order about $1 than mine. It was easy for me to make it up and continue the chain.
But I can see where some orders could present problems. Particularly at dinner time, when you could have a car full of people.
On Father’s Day, a McDonald’s in Scottsburg, Indiana had a 167 driver pay-it-forward chain. In this chain, one driver threatened to end the chain because the bill was $27. The employees pooled the money to keep it going.
It may well be that the guy did not have the money to pay for it. If he came in, getting food for one person and now he’s being asked to pay for four people?
Side note: And really, is it a legitimate chain if the employees are paying to keep it going? I hate the idea of employees on fast-food worker wages doing this. They are putting their money in for other people to get their company’s food. Ugh!
I think that’s pretty shitty, asking someone to pay for something that they did not order and did not consciously decide to spend money on. And the expectation by the employees that you will continue the chain. And make you feel guilty if you do not. With very little time to make up your mind because you’d hate to not only end the chain but also hold up the line in the fast-food drive-thru.
I get that you are trying to be nice. But really, stop it already.