I hate all this coffee lingo. All this doppio, no-fat, decaf, long pull, half foam, skim milk shit. Usually I'll ask for a medium black coffee -- but of course you can't do that at Starbucks. It has to be a grande Sumatra or whatever the café du jour is. I order the regular coffees because a) they're cheaper than the $3.50 lattes/cappuccinos from the big machine; b) they're delivered quickly, so you don't have to wait; and c) no one orders them, so there's usually a lot left and you don't have to stand in line, like a chump. In a pinch I'll ask for an Americano, since it's about as close as you can get to a normal coffee when they -- get this -- run out of it.

I once stood in front of the counter at a Starbucks and the guy said, "Sorry, but we don't have any more of the [insert disenfranchised 3rd nation region] coffee left." None of the three servers behind the counter were making moves to make another pot, nor were they rushing to find a dark roast replacement for the expired [insert disenfranchised 3rd nation region] blend. But I digress ....

So, last month when I showed up with my lines memorized, quickly scanning the daily coffee menu (that sounds ridiculous because it is) for the desired dark roast name, I ordered a grande Sumatra. The guy looked at me, smiled, and said, "Room?" I stared at him blankly, wondering what he meant by this. Was he asking me to get a room? Was there room enough in my belly for a grande Sumatra? Might I not want the tall (small) instead? Was I wearing a nametag that said "Room" on it? Was that how much it cost?

No. "Room" is apparently Starbucks cant for "Do you want room for cream in your cup?" I suppose it was too difficult for him to say, "Want room for cream?" I kind of laughed at him. Not kind of ... I really laughed at him -- a big belly laugh. I then wiped a tear from my eye, made some snide comment about the Starbucks jargon, and took my coffee. I walked away, leaving him with an embarrased look. In retrospect, this was probably mean. Though, in retrospect, I'd probably do it again.


Today I went in and ordered my grande Sumatra. The server (a different person) asked "Want room for cream?" I smiled and politely declined.


I thought starbucks used thos sizing names names originally because people wouldn't buy their expensive coffe if they it was possible to compare the sizes with those at other places (people had a concept of what a large coffee should cost).

The rest I suppose could be chalked up to elitism, like any sufficiently evolved register for a discourse :)

Hehehehehe.. Good post! I got a good chuckle.. actually a big belly laugh reading this.. I'm right there with ya Zucker.. I feel the same way when I go in so I just say grande bold and have been starting to proactively request that "room". That means I'm there too much

..oh wait.. I'm broke.

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