Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of “Karen” spotting around the internet. While there are a variety of different scenarios in which adult women throw tantrums over seemingly insignificant situations and/or everyday inconveniences, or simply not getting their way, they seem to be drawn to verbally abusing grocery store employees for some reason.
Whether it’s giving her opinion on mask wearing and the COVID-19 pandemic at a Starbucks or trying to get a free iced coffee at a store that doesn’t make iced coffees, Karens just can’t pull themselves together to step inside a coffee shop or more specifically Starbucks.
In another case, captured in a TikTok video uploaded by user @meltingpot960.8c, a woman in a pink top can be seen/heard yelling at the top of her lungs at a Starbucks employee who looks at her with a smile . Her facial expression seems to express an amused disbelief at the Karen’s boiling anger.
@meltingpoint960.8c I just wanted coffee 💀 #starbucks #crazygirl ♬ Original sound – only fairies
The concerned angry customer screams in some unintelligible words: “…this is a training program [unintelligible] It’s not illegal to shout here! Excuse me ma’am, it’s you [unintelligible] visiting the city!”
Another shocked Starbucks employee tries to intervene and calm the situation as the woman continues to scream.
“Would you please ask your family about it [unintelligible] multiple times. I will not leave your bullshit shop, you were asked very loudly about your family’s contracts, do not live on this salary. Goodbye to the understanding I asked quietly…” Here she begins banging on the counter, screaming incomprehensibly, “…loud!”
She then walks out as someone behind the camera says, “Get the fuck out of here. fuck off lady Fuck off.”
Other customers laugh at her outburst as she leaves the store, but before she does, she lingers by the door and continues to yell while a store employee says, “Goodbye. Goodbye.”
When she finally leaves, everyone in the store starts to applaud, glad to finally be free of the woman’s behavior all the time.
The video has been viewed over 17.9 million times, with several TikTok users expressing their confusion over the entire encounter. It didn’t seem like the customer was upset about the lack of service she received or didn’t receive, but rather was quite angry that she had asked a question about the Starbucks employee’s salary and she wasn’t satisfied with the reply, or lack thereof, that she received.
Other commenters were taken aback by the way the woman spoke and the rhythmic punctuation of her words.
“What is she yelling at, anyway?” asked one viewer.
“Why is she screaming in syllables,” asked another.
“”YOU WERE ASKED. VERY LOUD,” joked a third viewer.
“All I heard was ‘exercise regimen’ and ‘no pain’, I’m confused,” noted another.
Many users on the platform commented that they could feel the solidarity of the customers in the store, who all joined together to tell Karen to leave. While frightening, uncomfortable, and shocking to deal with overly dramatic and frighteningly delusional individuals like these who lose control of their emotions, they provide a great “bonding environment” for those who witness this type of behavior.
“I love it when everyone told her to come out so good hahah,” wrote one viewer.
“This is the kind of situation that binds everyone in the store together for the next 5-10 minutes,” commented another.
So why are so many customer freakouts recorded and uploaded online, and why do so many of them seem to be occurring in the US? While crappy shoppers are certainly not an endemic problem in the United States, there are studies showing how the Industrial Revolution created unique business opportunities in America in the form of retail outlets that much of the populace wasn’t exactly familiar with. Hence, as Amanda Mull wrote for The Atlanticbefore the onslaught of mass-produced items on the shelves, ready for purchase by the industrious public, Americans “needed to be taught how to shop.”
With so many stores springing up and tons of people rushing to occupy those locations, the goal was simple: get people to shop your specific store. Such generosity meant there were plenty of options for buyers – which meant customers had to be wooed.
“From 1870 to 1910, the number of service workers in the United States increased fivefold,” Mull wrote. “Out of this quagmire emerged ‘the customer is always right’ as a core tenet of American consumerism — wait staff weren’t just there to call orders like store clerks used to be. Instead, they were there to make a fuss, boost egos, soothe wavering buyers, and make dreams come true. If a complaint arose, it should be resolved quickly and with a sincere apology.”
This is an idea that has permeated retail and obviously, depending on how some people were raised, this titled ideal is taken a little too literally. Which may be partly responsible for spurring the freaks, which some Karens feel more than comfortable with when someone steps on their shoes or when a Starbucks employee refuses to take a Pride pin off their apron, or they won’t give free drink.
time also discusses the particular “Karen” phenomenon and writes that the meme isolates a particular phenomenon inherent in white women who “weaponize” their victimhood. Maybe it’s because “Karens” jumps on a worker about a seemingly trivial matter so quickly that she sees herself as a victim and at the same time believes that she is also in a position of power as a patron.
Whatever the reason, it’s evident that many people find behavior like that of the woman in the viral TikTok above abhorrent.
The Daily Dot reached out to @meltingpot960.8c on TikTok for further comment.
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*Initial publication: June 4, 2022 at 9:49 am CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot, covering trending human interest/social media stories and real people’s reactions to them. He always tries to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and relevant facts to those stories to create your not-so-average viral post.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/karen-screams-starbucks-employee/ Karen goes viral for yelling incomprehensibly at a Starbucks employee