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Starbucks barista’s viral video about making ‘a grown adult their 6am milkshake’ sparks debate

"I feel like the next time I go to Starbucks, I’m going to have this thought in the back of my head that the worker is going to judge me," said one person in response to the video.
The Starbucks worker and a Frappuccino.
The Starbucks worker and a Frappuccino.@lunavoyd via Tiktok / Alamy

A Starbucks worker’s attention-grabbing post on social media has caused a tidal wave of discussion — and may have cost them their job.

On Aug. 22, Twitter user @michaelcarrotu posted a screenshot of a TikTok that is receiving a lot of attention across many social media platforms. The original video has since been deleted by the original poster on TikTok, but screenshots, clips and reposts remain. They show a Starbucks worker appearing to make what baristas across the country concoct every day: a Frappuccino.

“Watch me make a grown adult their 6am milkshake,” the caption reads. Those nine simple words paired with a still image from the Starbucks worker’s video garnered over 34,000 retweets, 5,500 quote tweets and nearly 600,000 likes on that single tweet amid viral discussions across other social media platforms.

“POV: Starbucks workers when they have to do their literal job,” reads a TikTok by @realbiggobruh showing the original clip stitched with a sarcastic reaction. This clip, which mirrors the vibe of many others on TikTok, was liked 1.4 million times and reposts of it received 37,900 upvotes on Reddit, and a further 87,000 likes on Twitter.

People have very strong opinions about the Starbucks worker’s video, taking to the comment sections on several social media platforms to voice their feelings about it.

“If you’re just going to complain about people ordering beverages maybe you shouldn’t work at a store that’s 98% beverages?” asked one Twitter user.

“6am milkshake sounds like self-care,” said another Twitter user.

“this confuses me so bad like what if bro just got off the nightshift and is rewarding themselves?” said another commenter, this time on TikTok.

“Saying ‘making a grown adult their milkshake at 6 am’ implies the grown adult is doing something wrong for wanting a milkshake,” noted another TikTok user.

“Everytime you want a milkshake is a good time for a milkshake. It’s not a 'specific' time of day food I think,” said one person on Reddit, adding that the wording might be more condescending “than it is intended though.”

“If a guy wants his Java Chip Frappuccino at 6 a.m. what’s the problem,” said another user in a TikTok stitch. “I feel like the next time I go to Starbucks, I’m going to have this thought in the back of my head that the worker is going to judge me.”

Some users, however, took to the comment section to defend the original poster, pointing out that everyone complains about their job sometimes, and that the Starbucks worker had every right to do so. 

“Why are people so triggered over this??” tweeted one person, defending the original poster. “frapps are basically glorified milkshakes lmao. and everyone has bad days and has the right to complain about their jobs! at the end of the day it was just a joke and a girl venting about how tired she was and people were being so hateful..”

“Ppl in the replies failing to understand that frappuccinos and milkshakes are HELL to make and if it’s the first thing you’re being asked at 6am you’re gonna be annoyed,” said another Twitter user who identified herself as an "ex Starbucks employee."

“Huh? What part of 'watch me make' says that she’s complaining about making it? It’s perfectly okay to judge someone buying a milkshake at 6am,” said one Redditor.

Whatever the employee’s intent, they may have faced consequences for posting the now-mega-viral video. On Aug. 21, Reddit user trainkeptarollin published a post titled “Someone I know was just fired for posting on TikTok” to the r/Starbucks subreddit. In the post, they detail a friend who posted a video that sounds quite familiar.

“My friend called me crying today because, after her entire shift, she was told by a proxy supervisor that this was their last shift,” reads the Reddit post, which has been upvoted 1,200 times. “She posted a video that went viral a few weeks back that was a light-hearted jest about serving people milkshakes in the morning.”

The Redditor also said their friend “loves her job and never knew it would upset people” and that she’s seen much of the criticisms lobbed in her direction. They also said that she deleted the TikTok after “receiving threats and told her manager immediately.”

“Her manager said she wouldn’t be fired over it, and there’s nothing to worry about,” wrote the Redditor. “But just a few weeks after the TikTok original posting, she was fired without a hint that it was coming.” TODAY Food reached out to the Redditor for comment but did not hear back.

According to Starbucks Social Media Guidelines for Canada and U.S. Partners, its employees (which they call “partners”) are asked to follow a list of do's and don'ts. Under the "do this" section, it reads: "Show respect for others’ opinions, even when you might not agree. And no trolling, bullying or flaming - there’s no winner in that game." It also mentions that "The internet doesn’t have a 'delete' key," adding that "Anything you share on the internet can take on a life of its own and be hard to remove once it’s out there, so please think before you share something."

When reached for comment on the situation, a Starbucks spokesperson issued TODAY the following statement:

"Our partners love connecting with customers through the craft of coffee, delivering the Starbucks experience that we all have come to love. The sentiment in the screenshot is not indicative of what our partners and customers experience every day in our stores."