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Author Topic: pay it forward  (Read 8335 times)

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bopper

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #45 on: November 10, 2015, 10:13:29 AM »
The Pay it Foward in a line puts pressure on you...to either accept or just say "pay it forward" to the next person...
But a generic pay it forward if someone does something nice for you is just for you to maybe, at some point, do a little something nice for someone at the time/situation of your choise.

rose red

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #46 on: November 10, 2015, 10:22:12 AM »
I think "pay it forward" should be at the personal discretion of the receiver.  They may not do it RIGHT NOW, but SOME DAY an opportunity will present itself.  I think that's what pay it forward is.  It's not about paying for the person behind you because someone in front of you paid for you.  Some day, when you're standing in line and someone doesn't have enough money, you can pay it forward then, or perhaps you pay it forward in another way at another time, but you get to pick the when and the how.     

Yes. I think paying for a stranger's lunch is wanting to be nice, but not a pay-it-forward situation. My concept of pay-it-forward is helping someone in need (even if it's helping out a person who need as little as a nickel or picking up a fallen mitten). It's not about paying for someone who can very well afford it themselves.

Goosey

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #47 on: November 10, 2015, 10:24:00 AM »
One problem I have with the "Pay it Forward" thing is when people get all judgmental when someone chooses not to participate.

I remember one time reading a Facebook post about a line at a drive through that had gotten a ridiculous amount of people participating in the chain. A lot of the comments were saying very not nice things about the last person who accepted the pay it forward and did not pay for the person behind him. I just kept thinking "what if he just got a coffee and the person behind him was picking up food for the whole office?"

To me, pay it forward is supposed to be an unspoken concept of how doing something kind for a person results in them or people around them doing kind things for others. It's an inspiration. But, it seems that it's become an exchange of some sort. If you buy coffee for someone, they're supposed to buy it for someone else. It also seems to have been tied to money instead of just kindness.

But that's not to say that purchasing someone's coffee wouldn't be a kindness either! It's just the way the concept is perceived now, I wish we could get away from the "chains" and the monetary ties and just go the more expansive concept of "be kind to someone to inspire kindness in the world"

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #48 on: November 10, 2015, 10:35:49 AM »
I've never actually seen this in action over things like coffee (I don't know if it isn't done here in the UK or if it's just that I don't patronise large chain coffee shops where it might occur) but I do wonder: suppose the chain has been running all day and the last person to be served did say to keep it going and leave money for that, on the assumption that somebody else would be there in a minute. Then there's a lull, no customers for the last quarter of an hour and it's time to close and cash up. What does the cashier do? Leave a note in the till that there's Plus One Large Coffee to start tomorrow? Take the value out of the till and put it in the tips jar? Pocket it? Account for the till being wrong? What?

Call me cynical, but I don't see Big Corporation being anxious to start the chain the next day. I can see them just swallowing the surplus the way they swallow the loss for spillages, wrong change etc. 

HoneyBee42

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #49 on: November 10, 2015, 10:58:24 AM »
I'll agree that the idea of "pay it forward" is cheapened with a semi-mandatory shifting of the payment from one customer to another customer (I do like GoodyGoody's idea, although not sure how I would do that when not using cash).

For me, pay it forward is something that may or may not happen in the same way as the original (like in Onyx_TKD 's sequence) or with significant time differences between receiving and giving.

I'm glad that at least I got some explanation, because I was really wondering *how* the person ahead would know how much to kick in for the person behind them.  It still seems needlessly complicated to make it a chain of semi-mandatory cost transfer, but at least one bit of befuddlement is cleared up.

For myself, I was once the recipient of a lot of generosity--we were "Giving Tree" recipients, and someone in the parish stuck an envelope in one of my children's coat pockets with a $100 bill in it (kids weren't able to identify who had done it) while going through the turmoil of the situation with my separation/divorce from my now-ex.  We were pretty close to destitute then, and needed every bit of the assistance we received.  I remember discussing with my BIL, who said that he knew someday we'd be in a better spot and would be able to pay the kindnesses forward, but not like a "when you get on your feet, you *must*".

Now, I'm in a position where I can take one or more cards from the "Giving Tree" and buy the things on it.  I have no idea if some of the people are there as a temporary thing (like I was), or someone who might never get off the list (like someone on disability).  It doesn't matter.  But I would really hate to think of someone watching to make sure that I *did* give to people from the "Giving Tree"--it'd make it feel less like doing a good thing (and teaching this behavior/attitude to my children) and more like fulfilling yet another obligation.

Hmmmmm

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #50 on: November 10, 2015, 10:59:00 AM »
I've never actually seen this in action over things like coffee (I don't know if it isn't done here in the UK or if it's just that I don't patronise large chain coffee shops where it might occur) but I do wonder: suppose the chain has been running all day and the last person to be served did say to keep it going and leave money for that, on the assumption that somebody else would be there in a minute. Then there's a lull, no customers for the last quarter of an hour and it's time to close and cash up. What does the cashier do? Leave a note in the till that there's Plus One Large Coffee to start tomorrow? Take the value out of the till and put it in the tips jar? Pocket it? Account for the till being wrong? What?

Call me cynical, but I don't see Big Corporation being anxious to start the chain the next day. I can see them just swallowing the surplus the way they swallow the loss for spillages, wrong change etc.

Actually if they get a multi-day chain, they end up with so much free press that there's no way they would intentionally break the chain.

The one in Florida lasted multiple days till a guy decided it was enough and took the paid coffee but didn't pay for the next customer. And then he tipped the staff $100. His point of view was much like others. Having the staff say "your coffee's paid for would you like to pay for the next customers" was not a spontaneous expression of public service.

rose red

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #51 on: November 10, 2015, 11:04:14 AM »
^^ Which is why I think the first person may be trying to be nice, but after that, a chain is just a game and nothing to do with being nice or paying it forward. And it's not a nice game since it just inconveniences the cashier with more work and wasted time.

bah12

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #52 on: November 10, 2015, 11:19:13 AM »
One problem I have with the "Pay it Forward" thing is when people get all judgmental when someone chooses not to participate.

I remember one time reading a Facebook post about a line at a drive through that had gotten a ridiculous amount of people participating in the chain. A lot of the comments were saying very not nice things about the last person who accepted the pay it forward and did not pay for the person behind him. I just kept thinking "what if he just got a coffee and the person behind him was picking up food for the whole office?"

To me, pay it forward is supposed to be an unspoken concept of how doing something kind for a person results in them or people around them doing kind things for others. It's an inspiration. But, it seems that it's become an exchange of some sort. If you buy coffee for someone, they're supposed to buy it for someone else. It also seems to have been tied to money instead of just kindness.

But that's not to say that purchasing someone's coffee wouldn't be a kindness either! It's just the way the concept is perceived now, I wish we could get away from the "chains" and the monetary ties and just go the more expansive concept of "be kind to someone to inspire kindness in the world"

Yes.  And to answer Emmy above, this has been my point all along.  We have a people-problem.  Not a 'pay it forward' problem.  I'm positive that if something can be ruined, people will find a way to ruin it.  But, IMO, we shouldn't then go and blame the original concept.  Instead blame the judgemental people who like to spread their negative attitudes around. 

Take the sticker example.  Sure, I can understand being annoyed and someone telling my child to 'pay it forward' after giving her some stickers.  But instead of blaming the 'pay it forward' movement, I would blame the woman who used it in the wrong way.  And I'd still want my child to get a positive experience from the incident and explain (as I have) that as good as it feels to have someone do something nice for you, it also feels good to do something nice for others.  So, maybe the next time she finds herself in posession of something she neither needs nor wants, instead of keeping it anyway, or throwing it away, she can find someone that does need/want it and give it to them and make them feel happy.  And making people happy makes us feel good (or at least it makes me feel good). 

Of course I have a problem with people who insist on the 'coffee-payment-chain', or order others around, or judge others for not 'falling in line', etc.  None of those things, or the other things that we discussed here are "pay it forward", they are people that either don't understand the concept or use it as another means to find offense in something innocent.    The barista who noted that some people are confused and hostile.  Those people are likely hostile by nature.  I cannot imagine a reasonable person being upset that someone purchased their coffee "to be nice", but I can imagine an unreasonable person searching for how they must not really be nice.  I can also imagine a reasonable person being upset if the barista said that they are then "supposed to immediately pass it along by purchasing the order of the next person in line."  In this case, the barista is using "pay it forward" wrong and/or the person who received the kindness is ruining it with a negative attitue.  This is a barista/patron problem, though. 

It's like a few years ago when someone went to K-mart and paid off the lay-a-way balances for some people.  No one said "you must then pay off the balance of someone else."  But, then it seemed like all over the country, people were randomly paying off lay-a-way balances.  To my knowledge, no one got offended and said that those people were causing distress for others.  No one came forward and took credit for doing it.  And no one said they started a chain reaction that made it difficult for those around them.  Someone did something nice and then other people saw that and decided to do a nice thing too.  Sure, they didn't come up with their own way to be nice, but they followed a pretty great idea and went with it.  And a lot of people were happy right around Christmas time.  I don't think that 'pay it forward' is supposed to be a continuous chain event, but it can inspire others to do similarly nice things.  Positivity spreads if we let it....as does negativity. 

mime

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #53 on: November 10, 2015, 05:06:06 PM »
One problem I have with the "Pay it Forward" thing is when people get all judgmental when someone chooses not to participate.

I remember one time reading a Facebook post about a line at a drive through that had gotten a ridiculous amount of people participating in the chain. A lot of the comments were saying very not nice things about the last person who accepted the pay it forward and did not pay for the person behind him. I just kept thinking "what if he just got a coffee and the person behind him was picking up food for the whole office?"

To me, pay it forward is supposed to be an unspoken concept of how doing something kind for a person results in them or people around them doing kind things for others. It's an inspiration. But, it seems that it's become an exchange of some sort. If you buy coffee for someone, they're supposed to buy it for someone else. It also seems to have been tied to money instead of just kindness.

But that's not to say that purchasing someone's coffee wouldn't be a kindness either! It's just the way the concept is perceived now, I wish we could get away from the "chains" and the monetary ties and just go the more expansive concept of "be kind to someone to inspire kindness in the world"

Yes.  And to answer Emmy above, this has been my point all along.  We have a people-problem.  Not a 'pay it forward' problem.  I'm positive that if something can be ruined, people will find a way to ruin it.  But, IMO, we shouldn't then go and blame the original concept.  Instead blame the judgemental people who like to spread their negative attitudes around. 

Take the sticker example.  Sure, I can understand being annoyed and someone telling my child to 'pay it forward' after giving her some stickers.  But instead of blaming the 'pay it forward' movement, I would blame the woman who used it in the wrong way.  And I'd still want my child to get a positive experience from the incident and explain (as I have) that as good as it feels to have someone do something nice for you, it also feels good to do something nice for others.  So, maybe the next time she finds herself in posession of something she neither needs nor wants, instead of keeping it anyway, or throwing it away, she can find someone that does need/want it and give it to them and make them feel happy.  And making people happy makes us feel good (or at least it makes me feel good). 

Of course I have a problem with people who insist on the 'coffee-payment-chain', or order others around, or judge others for not 'falling in line', etc.  None of those things, or the other things that we discussed here are "pay it forward", they are people that either don't understand the concept or use it as another means to find offense in something innocent.    The barista who noted that some people are confused and hostile.  Those people are likely hostile by nature.  I cannot imagine a reasonable person being upset that someone purchased their coffee "to be nice", but I can imagine an unreasonable person searching for how they must not really be nice.  I can also imagine a reasonable person being upset if the barista said that they are then "supposed to immediately pass it along by purchasing the order of the next person in line."  In this case, the barista is using "pay it forward" wrong and/or the person who received the kindness is ruining it with a negative attitue.  This is a barista/patron problem, though. 

It's like a few years ago when someone went to K-mart and paid off the lay-a-way balances for some people.  No one said "you must then pay off the balance of someone else."  But, then it seemed like all over the country, people were randomly paying off lay-a-way balances.  To my knowledge, no one got offended and said that those people were causing distress for others.  No one came forward and took credit for doing it.  And no one said they started a chain reaction that made it difficult for those around them.  Someone did something nice and then other people saw that and decided to do a nice thing too.  Sure, they didn't come up with their own way to be nice, but they followed a pretty great idea and went with it.  And a lot of people were happy right around Christmas time.  I don't think that 'pay it forward' is supposed to be a continuous chain event, but it can inspire others to do similarly nice things.  Positivity spreads if we let it....as does negativity.

Well said!

mandycorn

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #54 on: November 10, 2015, 05:36:45 PM »
I'm familiar with the concept of pay it forward meaning don't repay me for this favor, just do a good turn for someone else when you can, so if I were to wind up in a coffee payment chain prior to reading this thread, I probably would have just shrugged, said a mental thank you to the person in front of me, and then continued on with my day and passed along the good vibes somewhere else. And after reading this thread, I still think I'd do the same!
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you never know if they are genuine" - Abraham Lincoln 

sammycat

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #55 on: November 10, 2015, 07:29:15 PM »
I'm familiar with the concept of pay it forward meaning don't repay me for this favor, just do a good turn for someone else when you can, so if I were to wind up in a coffee payment chain prior to reading this thread, I probably would have just shrugged, said a mental thank you to the person in front of me, and then continued on with my day and passed along the good vibes somewhere else. And after reading this thread, I still think I'd do the same!

Exactly this.

Recently on holiday I ended up with a voucher for a popcorn refill. I don't eat popcorn. I could've just thrown the voucher away, but decided to give it to the first person I came across in the next popcorn line I saw (this was at a theme park). I don't/didn't expect that person to then pay for the popcorn order of the next person as a matter of 'paying it forward'. That'd be a bit silly IMO as it'd negate them getting something (popcorn) for free. If, in a year's time, that person is in a position to do something minor like pass on an unused 'skip to the front of a line' pass to another park goer, then that's all good in my mind.

baglady

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #56 on: November 10, 2015, 07:38:12 PM »
Side note: In the movie "Pay It Forward," there were rules. People who received favors were asked to do favors for three other people. And they should be favors that the recipients could not do by or for themselves.

Real life is not a movie, however, and things are never as cut-and-dried as in the movies. I can change a tire by myself, but loosening the lug nuts is Deity's own pain in the butt. I've been known to jump up and down on the wrench to get the needed leverage. If someone happens by who can loosen them with a simple twist of his strong arms, I would consider that a favor of Haley Joel Osment proportions.

Or take the old Boy Scout cliche of helping an old lady cross the street. She may be able to do this on her own, but if she has poor eyesight and is unsteady on her feet, this will be a long, difficult and dangerous process. Having an able-bodied person with good eyesight to lean on makes it easier and less risky.

Unlike buying coffee for the next person in line at Starbucks ... because the fact that s/he is in line at Starbucks means s/he is capable of doing that thing for him/herself. If s/he didn't have the money, s/he wouldn't be at Starbucks to begin with.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2015, 08:28:07 PM by baglady »
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blarg314

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #57 on: November 10, 2015, 07:42:43 PM »

One thing that occurs to me for coffee shops specifically...

The only other time I can think of where someone spontaneously buys people drinks is at bars or nightclubs, and there it's overwhelmingly a guy buying a drink for a woman as the first step of hitting on her. So being told that someone bought them a drink, aside from random confusion, could trigger thoughts of someone expecting to chat them up as payment.


Yvaine

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #58 on: November 10, 2015, 07:46:13 PM »

One thing that occurs to me for coffee shops specifically...

The only other time I can think of where someone spontaneously buys people drinks is at bars or nightclubs, and there it's overwhelmingly a guy buying a drink for a woman as the first step of hitting on her. So being told that someone bought them a drink, aside from random confusion, could trigger thoughts of someone expecting to chat them up as payment.

I think this usually happens in the drive-thru though? And the payer will be off down the road by the time the payee finds out.

sammycat

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #59 on: November 10, 2015, 09:47:11 PM »
Unlike buying coffee for the next person in line at Starbucks ... because the fact that s/he is in line at Starbucks means s/he is capable of doing that thing for him/herself. If s/he didn't have the money, s/he wouldn't be at Starbucks to begin with.

I agree with this. IMO, paying for another customer's lunch or coffee at McDonalds just falls into the category of doing something nice; a random act of kindness, not really "paying it forward".

I believe "paying it forward" is usually for something that the recipient couldn't manage on their own, at least at that time. That may be financial support, practical practical, arranging an introduction that had been very hard to get, etc.

I've had a few instances where people have offered assistance out of the blue and got me out of a tricky spot. I wasn't in any way able to repay in kind, but over the years I think I've done things for other people that have balanced it all out, so to speak. (One thing involved a group of men from a local business turning up and lifting my (thankfully small) car off the road and onto the footpath when it broke down in the middle of peak hour traffic. I was 9 months pregnant, but even without that there's no way in the world I'd ever be able to do that exact same thing for anyone else!).