TikTok Video Goes Viral After Starbucks 'Surprise Me' Trend Goes Wrong TikToker Kristen Alk did not get the cheery response she was expecting — and the internet is divided about it.

By Jonathan Small

When coffee reviewer Kristen Alk pulled up to order at her local Starbucks drive-thru, she did what so many TikTokers have done in recent months — she ordered a "surprise me drink."

The idea behind the #surprisemedrink trend is to give the barista a chance to get creative and deliver an off-menu, hand-picked concoction of their own making. Past videos have shown baristas serving up everything from a Rainbow Sherbet Frappuccino to a Hot Butterbeer Latte.

But Alk received a surprise of a different sort.

The incident was captured in a video that has since gone viral, with nearly 1 million views in 3 days.

Rather than accept the challenge, the Starbucks employee on the other side of the microphone responded dryly, "I can get you an iced water. That sounds good."

Alk, who seemed taken aback by the sassy reaction, looked at the camera and said awkwardly, "Well, can you just make me something that sounds good?"

@kristenalk The barista did NOT pass the vibe check? #starbucksbarista #baristastarbucks #rudebarista #starbucksfail #starbuckschallenge #surprisemedrink #surprisemestarbucks #starbuckssurprisedrink #starbucksbaristarecipes #badstarbucksvisit #challengegonewrong #gonewrong #pickmydrink #starbuckschallenge2023 ♬ original sound - kristenalk

Later, Alk claimed the barista "did not pass the vibe check." But she also admitted it was a busy day at the drive-thru, with a 35-minute wait for customers to get their order.

Related: Dad Pisses Off Thousands With TikTok Explaining How to Hack Disney Ride Height Restrictions for Kids

A divided response

The video has garnered nearly 6000 comments, with viewers split between being pro-barista or pro-Alk.

On one side of the divide, commenters seem shocked that a Starbucks employee would be rude to a customer. After all, as the old business mantra goes, "The customer is always right."

"Nooooo u should def email Starbucks 'cause that's not acceptable," wrote smhh..b.

"As a barista, please ask for surprise me drinks; they are always so fun. Sorry, she was so mean to u," wrote jimen

A Tiktok viewer named Syd joked, "That's some dunkin' behavior."

On the other hand, some commenters found the whole #surprisemetrend insensitive and presumptuous, especially during a busy time when baristas are just trying to get through their orders.

"I'm on the barista's side. There's nothing worse than someone coming during/right after a rush, asking for a surprise," wrote Chasia Binney.

"As a fast food worker, it's not that we don't want to make it, but we don't know what your taste is, and not only that some come back bc they don't like it," Rosie explained.

Perhaps both sides are right.

As Alk said diplomatically at the end of the video, "I feel like it was a little bit rude, but I do understand that it might be annoying when people don't just say what they want to order."

Wavy Line
Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics

Starting a Business

Starting a New Business? Here's How to Leverage Transferable Skills From Your Prior Careers and Drive Success

Launching your own business can be daunting, but when you harness the skills from past jobs, there are a variety of things you must ask yourself. Here are three recipes for success using your prior experiences.

Business News

'Do You Hate Me?': High School Teacher Shares Wild Emails He Receives From Students

Jordan Baechler teaches high school students in Ontario, Canada.

Data & Recovery

This Father's Day, Give the Gift of No More Low Storage Warnings

Save 85% on 1TB of cloud storage for Father's Day.

Employee Experience & Recruiting

Don't Let These 11 Job Interview Myths Stop You From Getting Hired

The interview process is constantly changing — adapting to current employee-employer trends. Here's our latest list of what you should keep in mind the next time you are interviewed (or interviewing).