If you've been to Starbucks in the past week or so, you've been at risk of finding yourself trapped in a "cheer chain." What this means is that the person in line in front of you pays for your drink, and in return you're supposed to pay for the drink of the person behind you. This goes on and on, ad nauseam. The Associated Press reported on one cheer chain
that totaled 1,013 customers.
The question is, are these cheer chains a true spontaneous phenomenon, or are they a cynically created pr stunt? The phenomenon supposedly began
when Arthur Rosenfeld offered to pay for the drink of the guy behind him in the drive-thru line who was honking and yelling. Rosenfeld is a tai-chi master, and he wanted to change the man's consciousness through a random act of kindness. The guy who was honking decided to pay for the car behind him, etc. etc.
But I'm in the camp of those who, like consumerist.com
, believe they're a pr stunt. Consumerist points out that Starbucks is even issuing coupons
to encourage the cheer chain movement, plus they've set up a website
about it. (Thanks, Bob)