No one likes a food waster, and with a recent viral video that captures a Starbucks employee throwing away a number of unclaimed beverages, the discussion of mass food waste from large corporations has opened up once again.
The video was shared by TikTok user @angryelmo and now has almost 400,000 views as of this past Sunday.
In the video, we can see a Starbucks employee throwing away around 25 fresh drinks that were never collected from customers via mobile order. We can only presume that there’s a better approach to managing unclaimed drinks.
Apparently, these drinks were all part of a single, large order, and when they weren’t picked up, they were tossed into a large bucket.
One of the text overlays in the video reads, “Girl, lemme take one.”
Maybe we don’t have the entirety of Starbucks to blame, as some Starbucks employees took to the comments to say that they would be more than happy to give these unclaimed drinks to customers rather than just pour them out.
In fact, one person noted that they were a manager at Starbucks for quite some time and that they’d often give away drinks when they wouldn’t get picked up. On the other hand, frequent Starbucks customers said that they love hitting their local Starbucks to nab free unclaimed drinks.
“Anytime we go to our Starbucks, and they have drinks that no one’s picked up, they give them to us for free,” they said. “The only exception is for dairy drinks, which they have to throw away after 20 minutes.”
Well, it seems we have one reason why free drinks aren’t simply being handed away to thirsty patrons — the company doesn’t want anyone to get sick.
“I work at a Starbucks, and some of our drinks sit there from 7 in the morning until the early afternoon,” one commenter wrote. “If one of those drinks is a hot coffee with regular milk in it, it’s only going to be safe to drink for a few hours at room temperature.”
Even though several viewers were angry at the site of blatant waste, another Starbucks employee in the comments said that she actually has a pretty hard time giving away drinks for free.
“Before I throw things away, I’ll always shout out, ‘Does anybody want this drink?’” she said. “About 95% of the time, people just stare at me and say nothing.”
The moral of the story for sneaky consumers is that there might be a loophole here for getting free drinks. One person even confessed to calling in drinks and showing up late just to get them for free.
Regardless of how you feel about food waste, there are legal reasons that large businesses like Starbucks don’t simply give away perishable items for free. The last thing they want is to deal with an increase in claims that people got sick from those items.