Dear Starbucks, We Need to Talk

I think I might have to break up with you, Starbucks.

It’s been a difficult decision, but we’ve been having problems for a while. I know you’ve noticed. My coffees are made incorrectly, and your staff are indifferent and stressed out. Nobody’s happy the way they used to be. And it seems like there are fewer baristas behind the counter than when we first got together. Starbucks, are you downsizing? Are you turning out good workers and replacing them with ineffectual lame-os who don’t care if my coffee’s right?

Starbucks, your coffee is delicious—I grant you that. Your drip coffee’s quality is unparalleled, and you give me so many options to personalize my drink that no matter my mood, you promise to give me something I want. Lately, I’ve wanted a grande seven-pump sugar free vanilla soy iced coffee, and you give that to me—or at least, you try. But I’m tired of going home unsatisfied, Starbucks. I have my youth. I can’t waste my best days waiting for you to wake up and—it hurts me to even say it—smell yourself.

My last five visits—FIVE—have been substandard. I thought at first it was just a bad day, a busy morning, someone called in sick. At first, you fixed my coffee before I even knew it was wrong, and I only had to wait a minute more. I’m a patient person. I can do that. But then, when I was back East for a few days, your staff messed up my coffee twice in a row. The second time, I had to shout at someone to get him to do it right, and even then he argued that it already had soy in it when it was clearly still black!

Unfortunately, this wasn’t a right-coast issue. I’m afraid it’s national. When I got back home, I kept having problems with you, Starbucks. It seemed like you weren’t listening anymore. Yesterday, I asked for sugar-free vanilla and you wrote classic—and then didn’t put either in the drink. Your barista was sullen, depressed. And today, my barista tried to swap out my order for a “iced latte nonfat soy,” which, dear Starbucks, does not exist! Of everyone I know, I thought you would understand.

I know you’re going through a difficult time, experiencing a rebranding and a global repositioning of your corporate strategy. But I’m here now, Starbucks, and I have needs. I need you to hear me. I need things to be the way they used to be, before, when we were happy, when my coffee was always made right and was delicious.

I’m sorry, Starbucks. I think we both knew this was coming.

Size Matters

One of my little joys in life is a Starbucks coffee with soymilk (I’m sensitive about dairy) and vanilla syrup. Since this is Arizona, I spend most of the year drinking it iced. I usually go grande on it because it’s only a smidge over 2 bucks and it’s enough caffeine for starting the day. But lately, I’ve been noticing an interesting trend.

This isn’t scientific by any means, but I’d estimate that on 75% of my visits, when I order a grande iced coffee, I’m served a venti. I’m never charged for the larger size unless I say it out loud, but I can’t help wondering what’s contributing to the upsizing. Do I look especially thirsty, or perhaps tired? (Probably.) Are tall people assumed to have deeper stomachs?

It happened twice this past weekend on two consecutive visits. I’d noticed and pondered the phenomena before, but it’s not until today that I’ve felt comfortable going public with the trend.

What about you? Does Starbucks upsize you, or is this personal?