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Author Topic: pay it forward  (Read 9184 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #60 on: November 10, 2015, 09:54:41 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've been thinking that, too! I don't know if people actually do this in real life, but in the movies you always see someone sending a drink to another person's table, and the server's all like, "The gentleman over there sent you this drink," and he waves suavely, and there's a whole code about whether you accept the drink or not and what kind of social obligation that means. It would probably be different at a drive-thru, true, but it depends on how the cashier phrases it--certain wording could come off more like, "That specific guy there really wanted to buy you, in particular, a drink!" as opposed to, "They didn't actually care who you were, they just wanted to pay for someone's coffee."
~Lynn2000

Diane AKA Traska

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  • Or you can just call me Diane. (NE USA EHellion)
Re: pay it forward
« Reply #61 on: November 11, 2015, 12:14:53 AM »
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!).

You live in a Mentos ad from the 90s! ;D
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bah12

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #62 on: November 11, 2015, 12:22:51 AM »
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've been thinking that, too! I don't know if people actually do this in real life, but in the movies you always see someone sending a drink to another person's table, and the server's all like, "The gentleman over there sent you this drink," and he waves suavely, and there's a whole code about whether you accept the drink or not and what kind of social obligation that means. It would probably be different at a drive-thru, true, but it depends on how the cashier phrases it--certain wording could come off more like, "That specific guy there really wanted to buy you, in particular, a drink!" as opposed to, "They didn't actually care who you were, they just wanted to pay for someone's coffee."

But if they've driven away by the time you get your drink,  I think it should be fairly clear that they weren't hitting on you or interested in meeting you,  regardless of what the barista says.  But even if they did buy you a drink as a way to say they think you're attractive,  if they go away immediately and you aren't left with having to actually respond to them,  is it so bad?

Lynn2000

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #63 on: November 11, 2015, 10:28:46 AM »
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've been thinking that, too! I don't know if people actually do this in real life, but in the movies you always see someone sending a drink to another person's table, and the server's all like, "The gentleman over there sent you this drink," and he waves suavely, and there's a whole code about whether you accept the drink or not and what kind of social obligation that means. It would probably be different at a drive-thru, true, but it depends on how the cashier phrases it--certain wording could come off more like, "That specific guy there really wanted to buy you, in particular, a drink!" as opposed to, "They didn't actually care who you were, they just wanted to pay for someone's coffee."

But if they've driven away by the time you get your drink,  I think it should be fairly clear that they weren't hitting on you or interested in meeting you,  regardless of what the barista says.  But even if they did buy you a drink as a way to say they think you're attractive,  if they go away immediately and you aren't left with having to actually respond to them,  is it so bad?

I just think that there's a lot of details that could totally change my reaction. "That guy over there, who has parked his car and is leaning against the hood watching you, bought your coffee" is a lot different from "The person in the car in front of you, who is already long gone, bought the drink of whoever was behind them as a nice gesture." I'm not saying I always assume it's the former, and thus creepy and weird. But I also don't always assume it's the latter, and nice and generous.

Also, no, I'm not comfortable with a stranger buying me something because they think I'm attractive, even if I don't actually have to deal with them. That's a personal thing, it's not etiquette. If a barista told me that was what actually happened, I would honestly probably just leave the drink behind. I don't care if the person knows I did that or not, I wouldn't feel comfortable accepting it. I think buying my drink in that case is a weird thing to do, and while I won't call that person objectively rude, I'd say we wouldn't be personally compatible.

I think it really goes back to something I, and others, have said before, that even if we understand fully that someone has acted upon us with good intentions, we don't have to like it. We shouldn't yell at the cashier, or something rude like that; but we don't have to feel gratitude, or express gratitude, or immediately do the same for the next person, or accept the free drink. Those things can be done rudely but they aren't rude in themselves. And of course, if someone feels the opposite way, that's totally cool and they should feel free to react happily and appreciatively. But any time someone intrudes upon a stranger's world--whether that's buying their coffee or giving them a compliment on the street--they should realize that they are taking a risk, and the person might not react the way they hoped, and that doesn't necessarily mean the stranger is rude. Intrude away if you think it's worth it, and a lot of times, you will make someone happy. But not always, some people just want to be left alone to mind their own business the way they're doing for everyone else.
~Lynn2000

bah12

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Re: pay it forward
« Reply #64 on: November 11, 2015, 02:44:37 PM »
I completely agree that you are not required to like things you don't for whatever reason you have for not liking them.  But,  like you said,  that's a personal thing,  not etiquette...which has been my point all along.  (And a creepy person acting creepy,  is just that. Creepy people do things creepy that non creepy people do normally all the time.  Again,  that's a people problem,  not the problem with pay it forward)