The report that a TikTok artist was called a “Karen” by Starbucks staff after he was denied a free drink the day before his birthday prompted a debate regarding the restaurant chain’s birthday promotion.

In a popular TikTok video, TikToker @verifiedbluecheckmarc explains to viewers that he wanted to order an $11 frappuccino, which he claims he gets every year as a birthday reward, but was informed that he could only utilize the incentive on his birthday. He claimed that he modified his order to an iced coffee as it was the day before his actual birthday. The digital label on the coffee cup reads “Karen,” and he displays it.

“Guess who is having a birthday chat with the manager tomorrow,” he captioned the video.




The fact that the label includes asterisks around the name, according to some critics, calls into question this assertion.

“When it has those asterisks that means you mobile ordered it meaning you chose your own name lol,” one of the top comments reads.

In his response to the commenter, @verifiedbluecheckmarc reaffirmed that he had placed his drink order in person.

Other users talked about the birthday reward, emphasizing their displeasure with @verifiedbluecheckmarc and that customers could only utilize it on their birthday.

“Why are they forcing us to get it on our actual birthday now?” one commenter wrote. “Like girl I’m busy that day let me go the day after for my hangover coffee.”

“My moms birthday is on Christmas and she’s called to ask if she can go the day after/before and they said no, so now she just goes on Christmas morning,” another commenter wrote.

“I had plans to use mine for the first time ever,” a third said. “The night before my birthday I went out drinking, fell went to the ER, and couldn’t use my reward!”

It is not uncommon for firms to purportedly refer to a consumer as “Karen.” A client of Trader Joe’s said that after receiving her email about allegedly rotting peppers in the store, the grocery company addressed her as “Karen.”

The Daily Dot contacted Starbucks through email and @verifiedbluecheckmarc via direct messaging on Instagram.

Updated on July 23 @ 8:25 CT: In a phone chat with The Daily Dot, Marc Frank, also known as @verifiedbluecheckmarc on TikTok, provided additional information about the incident.

As some commenters said, Frank categorically denies using the Starbucks app to make his payment. Frank bought two completely different beverages for himself and his wife and paid for them with a credit card when he was unable to utilize his birthday incentive.

Additionally, Frank made it abundantly apparent that his caption and video were not meant to be taken seriously.

“My caption was half a joke, saying I’m going to be going to the manager tomorrow on my birthday. I just didn’t,” he says. “What am I going to do, get a gift card for $50? I’d rather have this be out there on the web.”

Frank claims that once the video acquired the second wave of views, despite the fact that he just intended it as a joke, he began to receive a lot more comments accusing him of acting like Karen.

“The first wave [of comments] was typical, what you would get for such subject matter,” he says. “But the second wave is definitely like people who are really angry and like ‘yes, you deserve that.’”

The employee who wrote “Karen” on Frank’s cup might have just been having fun with him or her because they were “a touch overworked,” according to Frank. He yet insists that he didn’t merit the label of “Karen.”

“I was a customer, and that is not the way you respond to [being frustrated],” he says. “When you give them your proper name and they type in a different name, that’s not the way to handle it.”

“I don’t know if they are still there,” Frank says of the employee. “I did not contact that store, did not contact corporate.”

Frank added that since releasing the video in June, Starbucks has not contacted him.