The Starbucks debate: Are fancy coffees just too complicated?

Does it annoy you when you have to order a ‘grande, skinny, white Americano’, when all you really want is a regular coffee with milk?

Lynne Rosenthal, a literature professor at New York’s Mercy College, caused a stir this week when she was thrown out of a branch of Starbucks in Manhattan’s Upper West Side after arguing with staff over a bagel.

Professor Rosenthal went into the coffee shop chain and ordered a ‘plain bagel’, but soon became enraged when an employee repeatedly insisted she clarify whether or not she wanted it ‘without butter and cheese.’

‘I yelled, “I want my multi-grain bagel!” Ms Rosenthal explained.

‘The barista said: “You’re not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese.’

The Professor was concequently asked to leave the branch after the argument escalated, narrowly escaping arrest after three policemen were called to the scene.

‘When you go to burger king, you don’t list the six things you don’t want,’ Lynne told the New York Post.

‘Linguistically it is stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English,’ she added.

The Economist heavily attacked Professor Rosenthal, claiming that her position was verging on insanity.

‘Most twenty-first century Americans understand that when ordering quick take-out food at a counter, you will often be asked if you want various options. This is not limited to Starbucks,’ the article read.

But it seems it is not just Professor Rosenthal who has become frustrated with what she calls the chain’s ‘linguistic fascism’.

Customer Gary Pretsfelder said he refuses to use Starbucks language on principle, ordering a medium tea instead of using the term grande.

Rick Angelastro, another religious customer of the famous coffee house, said that although the constant questions can be frustrating, he couldn’t live without Starbucks.

Angelastro added, ‘They hooked me years ago. I’ll order it the way they sell it.’

Do you think it is impossible to order a simple coffee these days without being asked to part with more of your money for an extra dollop or cream or an unusually flavoured syrup? Does the multitude of options leave your head in a spin? Or is it all just part of the Starbucks ethos, which helps make your coffee so enjoyable?


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