Starbucks has forcefully(*) created its own little flavor of the English you use when ordering coffee. Somehow “tall” means “small”. Instead of medium, you order a “grande”. Then there’s “room” and “drip”—-neither of which mean anything to me as a fairly enthusiastic coffee drinker.

High resolution experience. Specialized language is a good sign according to people like Kathy, etc.

But is it actually about the users? I don’t know many users who like it. Some are intimidated. More are disgusted. Some (like me) got tired of hearing Starbucks employees correct them(*) and now guiltily find themselves saying “grande” when they mean “medium”.

As a customer, none of this makes me feel like “I rule”. It makes me feel stupid and, because I’ve bent to the ridiculous language, it makes me feel cheap.

To add insult to injury, I’m finding more frequently than not, that Starbucks employees uniformly mispronounce their own ridiculous names for things. Particularly, it’s “venti” (ven-tee), not ventay. But they all say ventay.

  • Yes, “forcefully”. I haven’t confirmed this, but I’m pretty certain there’s some corporate mandate which says that if a customer manages to order a beverage without using the Starbucks terminology, the employee must rudely repeat the order back in Starbucks-speak. Enough times and customers will bend to the company’s will.