Thursday, December 14, 2006

Is It Fritalian?

This story from the Consumerist highlights exactly why Starbucks sucks.

Clash of the Titans by Gregg Schultz

A few years ago, back when I had principles (really important ones), I refused to use Starbucks's stupid fake Italian names. Especially since "Grande" isn't even a large, which makes no sense whatsoever. Anyway, I order a large coffee by saying "Large Coffee." Normally they just say/ask "Venti" and when I refuse to play the game and stand there silently, they make the coffee exactly how they KNOW I want it: Large.

So one day I go in to the same Starbucks where I order the SAME THING at the SAME TIME every day, 365 days a year, and the girl, who knows what I want, asks me what I want.

Me: Large coffee please.
Girl: You mean Venti.
Me: Whatever.
Girl: I'm not making it until you you say it right.
Me.: Are you kidding?
Girl: No, seriously, it's called a venti. We don't even have large.
Me. Well, you obviously know what I want.
Girl: Still, I can't give it to you unless you order it right.
Me: You can't, or you won't?
Girl: I can't. It's a new policy.
Me. That's stupid. Isn't there some policy about giving the customer what they want?
Girl: I don't know what you want, because there's nothing called "Large" here.
Me: Well you managed to translate it a second ago, just like you do every day.
Girl: Sir, rules are rules.

Im not kidding. She said, rules are rules. At this point, there is a growing line, and the manager is standing there listening and pretending to ignore us.

Me: Excuse me?
Manager: Yes?
Me: Can I have a large coffee please?
Manager: We don't have large, sir.
Me. You've got to be kidding me.
Manager. Silent, but her eyes say, "Fuck you. I may be making 6 dollars an hour, but I have control over you right now." She walks away.

By this time the line is getting rowdy.

Guy behind me ("GBM"): What's the problem?
Me: They're making me say Venti or they won't give it to me.
GBM: You're kidding me.
Me. No.
GBM. That's fucking stupid.

Girl: Sir, can you step aside and let us serve the other customers while you decide what you want?
Me: I already decided. I want a large coffee.
Girl. We don't have large. Next in line.

GBM: I'd like a MEDIUM Mocha.
Girl. Grande?
GBM. Look, bitch, I ain't got time for this. Give me the fucking coffee.
Manager: Sir, you're going to need to leave.
GBM: I ain't goin nowhere without my mocha.
Manager: Then we'll call the police. On both of you.
Me: For what? Not speaking the Starbucks language?
Manager: You are trespassing and holding up the line. NEXT.
Customer #2 (behind GBM), really loud and slow: I'd like a . . . (pause, turns to the line behind her) . . . MEDIUM . . .

At this point, the crowd burst into applause. The woman behind Customer #2, a large woman who reminded me of Queen Latifah, started yelling something really fast, the crux of which was, "We're all speaking English today. Now give these boys their coffee and let us get out of here." The crowd behind her started yelling "Yeah" and "Give they guyS their coffee!" Finally, and only then did they manager and clerk realize that they had a mutiny of caffeine-starved customers on their hands.

Girl: God, we're only playing.
Me: Ummmm, yeah, OK. Can I have my coffee?

She then turned around, poured the coffee, and I'm not kidding, hands me a medium.
Me: I ordered large.
Girl: You said medium.
Me. Silent, dumbfounded.
Girl. That's what happens when you don't order right.
Me. Am I on Candid Camera?
Manager. No sir, you're not. And you're not really welcome here anymore.
Me. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Is it a full moon?
Girl: $1.79. Swipes my card.
Me. See you tomorrow.

The next day, they were both gone, and I think I saw the manager one more time after that. I thought she would run in the back whenever I went in there, or maybe she quit, but it was seriously the most asanine conversation I ever had. I'm actually embarrassed to have been half of it.

Starbuck's retarded convention as highlighted below, makes no fucking sense.

Short 8 oz. The smallest size Starbucks offers, but you'll probably only get this size if you ask for it by name; anyone asking for a "small" will get a Tall, which is the smallest size for which the prices are actually on the menu. Only hot drinks can be served in the Short size.
Tall 12 oz. This is what you'll get if you ask for a "small" drink.
Grande 16 oz. This is the "medium" size. Pronounced "GRAWN-day."
Venti 20 oz. hot, 24 oz. cold. For some reason the iced Venti cups hold four more ounces; for this reason, Venti espresso drinks have an extra shot of espresso in them, and cost a few cents more than their hot equivalents. Pronounced "VENN-tee," and reportedly means twenty in Italian.

How can Venti, which is 20 in Italian, be 24 oz?
Why does the menu have three languages?
Do people really feel sophisticated when they drink Starbucks?
Can anyone explain this to me?

All this is why Dunkin Donuts new commercial is so on point.

Long Live Dunkin Donuts!


  1. This is why the West Coast loves the Coffee Bean...God bless'em.

  2. Weirdness. I went to a Starbucks fairly recently with my boyfriend and they didn't give him a hard time or correct him when he asked for a medium black coffee. Then again, this was the Starbucks in Penn Station, and they just don't have the time for the foolishness described in the article.

    But whatever. Starbucks is my favorite evil corporation, and apparently the only place in New York that understands the phrase "black coffee". You could tell me that they have the weapons of mass destruction, that Starbucks employees are required to club baby seals in the back of the store, that the coffee is ground by ten year olds in Bangladesh, and I'd smile politely while sipping my grande mocha Frappucino.

  3. Great commercial. But nothing is touching this one:

  4. I'd have to roll with anyone over Starbucks.

    Coffee Bean, Dunkin Donuts, whoever.

    I bet if you said give me a black coffee at Dunkin they'd know the deal.

    - And that Nextel Commercial is the truth. I am almost absolutely sure that is how they planned the Iraq War.

  5. mmm starbucks

    but those sweet cold things they make are so good.

    in fact, in my experience, all you have to do is tell em you want something sweet and cold and they'll make it happen. but, as per the earlier comment, that's in new york.

  6. Experience has taught me that Dunkin employees do not understand what a black coffee is. Everytime I've gone there, the person taking my order looks at me all crazy-like when I ask for a black coffee. Then I have to get wildly specific ("no cream, no sugar, just the coffee, please"). And then half the time they *still* try to put cream in the coffee when I just said no cream. I thought this was a Long Island phenomenon, until I went to a Connecticut DD and the same thing happened. Yes, Starbucks is more expensive, but at least it doesn't take them 15 minutes to make a black coffee.

    At least DD does donuts right, unlike Starbucks.

    And for the person above me, the Frappucino >>>> the watery sweet, cold mess they serve at DD