Sunday, April 4, 2010

I'll have a twenty with no sneakers

Nowadays “small” doesn’t exist. At least not when it comes to drinks. The number of calories we consume in one value meal soda is astronomical. And this doesn’t even include our wake-me-up cappuccino. After my very pretentious use of a Starbucks last night as my writing venue, I started pondering the use of “tall” for small, “grande” for medium and “venti” for large. My first Starbucks coffee was an adventure, let me tell you.

The fact that Starbucks uses its own language for placing orders reminds me of a ‘90’s cartoon on Nickelodeon. In Doug, the Honkerburger used their own terms for everything on your sandwich,. For example “sneakers” were onions. Doug makes a major faux pas when he attempts to order a burger with normal language.

Now back to the coffee. Originally, Starbucks offered only two sizes: small and tall. These ones make sense, because “tall” connotes “large.” But following the trend where you can’t order a small drink, Starbucks took it one step further and chose Italian terms for their sizes. “Tall” is now the new “small” and “grande” (meaning “large”) is now the new “medium.” What about “venti“? In Italian it actually means “twenty,” as in “twenty ounces.” But it should be noted that Italy uses the metric system, so they wouldn’t be using ounces anyway.

According to a few sources, you can still order a “short” coffee at Starbucks, and it will get you an 8 oz. glass. A “tall” will get you 12 oz. and a “grande” is 16. Surprisingly, in China you can order a “small,” “medium” and “large” at Starbucks. But this might be because the Chinese are so careful about making sure everyone knows what to do in every social situation. The uncommon sizes would just make everyone extremely uncomfortable. Unfortunately, Americans don’t consider the same courtesies.

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