A TikToker’s casual use of the term “Karen” is sparking a debate in her comments section, as people disagree over what qualifications must be met for this broad insult to apply.
The video in question is far from some of the more shocking Karen moments the internet has been witness to. Instead of portraying an anti-masker meltdown or an entitled freakout, the entire first portion of the video, filmed and uploaded by user @dreammommy, simply shows a Whole Foods employee getting to work.
The woman works in the Whole Foods juice bar, where employees prepare a variety of healthy smoothies and juices from scratch. Masked and separated from the TikToker behind a clear glass window, the employee spends more than half of the video scooping up veggies and feeding them into a large juicing machine.
The footage continues like this for just over a minute, as the employee diligently gathers fresh veggies to include in the juice. In the last 15 seconds of the clip, the employee finally takes a moment to look up from her task, and she realizes that @dreammommy is filming her. She hesitates before leaning back and asking @dreammommy if she is filming, before adding that “you didn’t get my permission to film me on your camera. I’m at work right now.”
In response, @dreammommy claims that she wasn’t filming the employee, she was filming “the machine.” She then says that she “doesn’t need your permission to film anything.” As the clip cuts out, the employee is in the midst of responding. She notes that “you’re still filming somebody,” in the clip’s final moments.
The TikToker labeled the employee a “Karen” via the video’s text overlay, in which she claims that she was “tryin’ to record her make my juice but she turned into Whole Foods Karen” before inviting people to “like for part 2.”
@dreammommy seemingly felt justified in her decision to film, since she ultimately uploaded the video to her TikTok account. Within days, the video had rocketed to the top of her page, quickly becoming her most popular upload by far. The video has earned more than 30,000 views over four days, and continues to collect comments from viewers, many of whom feel @dreammommy overstated the employee’s status as a Karen.
“That’s not being a Karen, that’s her not wanting to being [sic] recorded,” the video’s top comment reads. “She wasn’t rude about it either.”
A number of viewers agreed, leading to a hearty debate in the video’s comment section. Numerous commenters felt that @dreammommy was the real Whole Foods Karen and joked about how, when it’s “Karen vs Karen, there is never a winner.”
Some viewers felt that @dreammommy was in the right, however, and voiced their support for her decision to record in a public place. In response to her detractors, @dreammommy and supportive commenters noted that it is perfectly legal to record someone without their permission, so long as they are in a public place.
However, many people felt that, while on the clock, the employee requests to be asked for permission were valid.
“I would be annoyed too,” one viewer said. “Why record her and not just the damn juice machine? Or just ask if she minds you recording.”
The vast majority of commenters took this stance and criticized @dreammommy for her reaction. This criticism was eventually also aimed at her reaction to negative comments. Several people accused her of deleting negative comments, and, when responding to viewers who disagreed with her, the majority of @dreammommy’s comments are either sarcastic or flippant.
Despite this, some people continued to rally behind her. They argued with critical commenters and stated that, in their opinions, the employee’s response was excessive and rude.
With no part 2 yet up, the debate is still in full swing. It has yet to be determined if the second half of the interaction will absolve @dreammommy of any claims of Karenhood, or if it will only reinforce her detractors more.
The Daily Dot reached out to @dreammommy via Instagram.
Today’s top stories
*First Published: Sep 14, 2021, 8:33 am CDT
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT’s Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.