By giving an act of kindness a name and a setting such as Starbucks cheapens the goodness. All of Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram are abuzz with posts about old weather-beaten homeless chaps in grimy jackets and week old stubbles supping on the cup of coffee. Cue boastful philanthropy.
Tax avoidance doesn't just damage the UK. It hurts ordinary people across the globe, wherever they live. A new piece of research by ActionAid has shown the activities of one British food company to be leeching vital funds from Zambia, one of the world's poorest countries.
Paying it forward is not a concept that has gathered huge momentum in the UK. I think if some random stranger paid for my coffee here in Manchester, my reaction would be more suspicious than grateful; we in the UK, are simply not used to strangers performing arbitrary acts of kindness for us.
Yes, America, it is you who must change. You must change your gun laws in line with the rest of the civilised world. You must collect up your murderous weapons, throw them onto the fire and destroy them.
The coffee chain is voluntarily paying £20m to the UK taxman - an action that has been celebrated as a victory over the multi-nationals, promising to have a ripple effect on other tax dodgers. But will it?
The problem is that Ed has just admitted that he is putting money into the coffers of Amazon - a company identified as a legal tax avoider and which many members of his party (and others) have promised to boycott.
If you walk into Starbucks and ask for a cheeky hazelnut latte, then the barista making your coffee will ask you your name. Alan, you will reply, or Rosie, or Lord Voldemort if you're feeling silly - and then they will put your name on the cup, ready for you to pick up.