For some customers, Starbucks’ very particular lexicon is a source of anxiety and possibly even anger. But it wasn’t having to order a “venti” or a “tall” that drove a NYC college professor into an argument at a Manhattan Starbucks over the weekend. Instead, it was her refusal to tell an employee what she didn’t want on her bagel.
“I just wanted a multigrain bagel,” the woman told The NY Post. “I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese.’ When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want… Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English.”
According to the professor, she was then told she wouldn’t get anything at all unless she specified that she wanted neither butter nor cheese on her bagel.
“I yelled, ‘I want my multigrain bagel!'” she said. “The barista said, ‘You’re not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese!'”
The debate escalated to the point where the manager contacted the police. The professor says the officers told her they would have to arrest her if she refused to leave.
The Post also spoke to a Starbucks employee who witnessed the incident. “She would not answer. It was a reasonable question,” the worker said. “She called [the barista] an a–hole.”
Could this situation have been resolved better by the employee and manager? Was the professor just causing a scene? Would you like butter or cheese on that?
Sometimes it is very easy to tell who is being the officious jerk and who snaps by being set upon by forces outside their control. Here, we have an NYC professor abusing a person serving her. Standard He said-She said. Can we determine who was eally the jerk here?
Well, when someone states that they were standing up for English, that they are as tickler for linguistics, they had better demonstrate some of that. Yet she states “When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want.” What??
If I want a hamburger at Burger King with nothing on it, I have to say I want a hamburger with nothing on it. I have to say “Hamburger. Plain.” So, is she such a stickler when she orders a plain hamburger at Burger King.
If she had simply said exactly what she has to say at Burger King there would have been no problem at Starbucks. “Bagel. Plain.”
The fact that she did not do so, that she escalated the order into a yelling match that required police action tells me what type of person she was in the store.
This really does sound like a very bad version of a great Seinfeld episode. Maybe there is a bagel nazi. “No bagel for you!!” But the story itself displays a pretty unreasonable customer who admits doing the yelling.