One of the best things about Seinfeld, a show about nothing, is everything can feel like an episode of Seinfeld. From joining a new gym to moving to merely taking your dog for a walk, the real world is ripe with potential storylines from that seminal '90s hit.
For Mae, who goes by @cherry.tomaeto on TikTok, her Seinfeld moment happened at Starbucks when a barista stopped making her beverage halfway through because their shift was over. Would you have stuck around? George definitely would have.
This Starbucks barista had unfinished business.
At a little before 4 p.m., Mae entered her local Starbucks for a little refresher in the form of a Refresher. Nothing can brighten your day quite like a colorful beverage. If you have a passion for passionfruit or get fired up about dragonfruit, then these are the drinks for you.
The barista behind the counter started making Mae's Refresher when "the clock hit 4." Like Cinderella leaving the ball, the Barista promptly stopped making Mae's drink. Instead of fleeing the scene leaving a glass slipper behind, the barista left Mae's half-completed beverage in her wake.
"I'm just making eye contact with this thing half-made, like surely someone is gonna finish it." Sadly, there was no prince available to scoop up Mae's drink. She waited a full 20 minutes to get her libation.
Was Mae angry? Kind of. More importantly, she begrudgingly respected the barista and their firm work boundaries. You know they aren't the kind of person who celebrates the birthday of a co-worker they don't like simply because they don't want to look mean. Nope, this person definitely understands the meaning of the word no.
That barista probably wasn't getting paid to stay.
"I worked at Starbucks for 10 years," responded one TikTok user. "She easily could have shaken, poured, and lidded that but Starbucks does not like to pay OT." Could this be true? Is Starbucks stingy when it comes to overtime pay? It wouldn't surprise me if they were.
Over on Glassdoor, which is Yelp for businesses, it's not looking good when it comes to overtime pay. "Everyone except store managers are considered part-time so they don't have to pay overtime," wrote one user in July 2023. This was echoed by two more folks in March and September 2021. The only official information I found via Starbucks said employees can bet paid time-and-a-half on certain holidays.
Maybe this was a union thing?
Starbucks employees across the country are unionizing in order to fight for "greater justice, greater equality, and a greater vision of what life can be for Starbucks workers across the United States and for workers in the coffee and restaurant industry," per Starbucks Workers United. Perhaps this barista is in a union, and knows that quitting time means quitting time.
One of the things this union is advocating for, is consistent scheduling. According to them, a "lack of sufficient hours and inconsistent schedules leads to economic instability and hardship, whether due to child care, schooling, or holding another job or internship." Having the same shifts every day or every week helps keep people sane!
Guess what, overtime pay is included in their demands! Some folks in the comments felt the barista was rude and should have just finished the beverage, and maybe that's true. I believe this was a form of self-care, and while a beverage can wait, mental health cannot.