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September 14, 2006


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Florida barista

I agree- we call it a "poor mans latte" its so frustrating. we also get 'doppios over ice in a venti cup'.. i mean come on. My favorite is when they use all the dairy and then they bitch that there is no left-- well no kidding you just used it all!!


I think if it becomes a habit with a regular customer something should be said to them. The condiment bar is called a "condiment" bar for a reason. The milk should be used as a condiment, not the base of a beverage. Then the "Just Say Yes" policy comes into play where in all actuality we probably cannot do a thing about it unless it gets out of control. It gets on my nerves when people do this, but then I say to myself, "it's just coffee." It is nice to know that it doesn't just happen at my store though.


they may be cheating the system, but they're not cheating us as baristas. Sure they're cheating Starbucks out of a little money, but we're still making money off of them and in the end they are just driving up the prices for their fellow customers.


it's great when partners are invested in the store, it's bad when they're overly possessive of all the product

i personally applaud these people for what they're doing. they're smart enough to not fall for the extra charges when the free milk is sitting right there. granted, they're making starbucks lose money, but does starbucks really need that extra money? no.


I dubbed it a "Fake Latte" at my store.

I also coined a "Fake Chai Latte" because a woman comes in and orders a Grande tea (chai tea bags) and then asks for 2 and a half inches of fresh steamed whole milk.

Pretty funny considering Starbucks is introducing the same exact thing called the Tazo Tea Misto this Fall......

I applaud all these people for discovering loop holes. Let them get their free crap! God will judge them later I guess. (ha ha)


I have to say that this is a sucky thing to do. The custome can't afford the actual drink, then get a smaller size, or don't get it at all. If I saw the customer coming in everyday, I would probably say soemthing to my SM and see what he said about it. If it was my store, I can't say at this point as I'm new with the company. Using my knowledge so far, I would have to say they would need to be confronted about it. Granted it's not that much, but it's the fact that two venti's take up a bit of milk, probably all that is left in one of those canisters.

Now, If this is something that they do once a week, I probably wouldn't say anything and just eat the cost.

Ask me in a couple months and I might have a completely different answer for you. :)

i'd ask the writer of the thought if s/he thinks people who don't use milk or sugar should get a discount?

these cusotmers have learned how to play the game, and it doesn't really cost that much.

do you think the extra 6 oz of milk is really worth the $4 extra?
cause where i come from, milk isn't nearly that expensive...

DT said it right: "it's great when partners are invested in the store, it's bad when they're overly possessive of all the product"


PS: Customers who order these fake drinks DEMAND (note: not TELL us... they) DEMAND we charge them for however many shots and NOT an Americano. If all they want are 3 shots in a Grande cup, all they should be charged for (acc'd to them) are 3 shots (GRAND + ESPRE buttons) = "Triple Espresso"


Had customers try this before and the manager when she found out always shot them down and charged them the extra.

This isn't about starbucks losing money. This is a bout the other customers accually getting ticked off at the "poor man's latte" becuase this accursed woman kept using up all their cream.

It accually got some of the customers pretty upset at her.

I say no to it only becuase it's not fair that she steal all the cream from other paying customers who now have to wait for us to pull a fresh cream out of the fridge every day after she comes in.

Say no to this going on. It's not fair to your other customers who use those creams too.


saying no to this would be wrong.

instead, try handing her a half and half carton (like you would for soy) with their drink... that way you both win.

i tell customers all the time how to get their drinks for cheaper - and when they are already spending hundreds of dollars a month, it doesn't really hurt us that badly, since they feel more loyalty and will be customers for life that way.

be honest.

this guy got a triple long extra pump white mocha, by the time we went to put the milk in the cup - there was less than an inch of room. he paid over $5.50 for the drink, when if he ordered a triple long espresso con panna with WM it would have cost less than $4.

so i told him. he was shocked, since he'd be buying this drink for months at the $6 mark at his usual starbucks...
guess which one he became a regular at now?

while it's just shifting the money from one store to another, imagine if he had been a competitors regular, and had just stopped in my 'bux...

think about how much milk we waste on a daily basis ensuring standards are met: dumping condiment milks after 1 hour, not double steaming milk, or dumping it after it goes below 140...

we throw away way more milk than the one or two customers who sneak more than 'they should'...

relax. it's just coffee.
(or milk)


i love how people "applaud" this sort of thing when it happens at starbucks, but if this happened at any other retail establishment it would be, well, stealing...

what exactly makes this okay at starbucks?

i'm not being an asshole, i honestly want an explanation from the above people who seem to think it's okay to do this.

that being said, it doesn't happen a lot at my store, so it's not something i've had to deal with too much.

it's kind of amusing though how the people who do do it seem to think they're so clever. like they've beaten the system or something. trust me, folks, if you're doing it we've already seen it. *sigh*


I never knew how cheap people can be until I started in at the store in the most upscale part of town. People do all kinds of crap to be cheap. I've seen super rich people dig a cup out of the trash and present it for a refill. I've seen a guy ask for a $0.25 refund because he ordered a venti americano in a grande cup, not a quad grande Americano, I've seen the triple shot on ice in a venti cup and fill it up at the condiment bar trick, then the old "that was supposed to be soy" or "that was a Vanilla latte" at the handoff trick, I've seen it all. A lot of VERY rich people will go to extreme measures to hold on to a few dimes.


If you, the barista, add the dairy to the drink, they should be charged for it. Simply because it's labor. Otherwise, if they wish to add anything to their drinks from the condiment bar themselves, they can. The moment the barista's start adding it, though, and this is what corporate says, they have to be charged.

Another interesting thing is that a Venti Americano (4oz of Espresso) is less than a Quad Grande Americano, another way to knock off some money, but these things aren't as bad as this Ghetto Latte. I say charge if you add it. Otherwise, no.

barista chica

sheik - i've had people come in and order tea mistos since last winter, you're supposed to charge for the size+tea+ADD DAIRY (on the syrup/milk screen i believe). i guess until there's a "tazo tea misto" you should charge like this.

by the way, does anyone know where i can find that long-rumored 25 page guide to starbucks drinks? i'd like to try to cover them all, instead of having to ask the customer "what's that?"

Boston Starbucks Rebel

I get americanos filled with just a little water and actually extra ice. It has to be made just perfect with approximately the ice touching the bottom with just enough water. I like my americanos black though so it tastes better. I think these people are so stupid because they will obviously die for clogged arteries. THink about it like 8 ounces of breve is alot of fat to go in their body. At least she will end up with a fat ass.


I agree in part to Jason. If somebody wants anything steamed in their drink they should be charged for it no matter what because it goes towards labor. If it is cold though, used as a condiment, and we just pour it in, they should not be charged. I'm not saying we should charge for the ghetto latte, but it is quite ridiculous.

James the Barista

Personally, I'm torn over this subject. Frankly, in my store this never happens; this "Ghetto latte" deal but we do have another ways to pinch a dollar. Like the Tea Refills which I use when I'm out or Iced coffee refills or brewed coffee and they want steamed half and half. People come in at 6am for a refill when they haven't even had their first one. I understand they want to save some money but to what cost? Where does the Just say Yes policy end and the ethical right thing to do begin?


Responding to James, I have this guy who comes in every morning and tries to ask for a refill. We all know he has not been in yet so we always charge him full price. Obvisouly from then on it will be a refill. This is one instance where you do not have to "Just Say Yes."

formerly "anon"

We use to get a homeless guy at my store that would ask for a Venti hot water, then he would go to the condiment bar and empty 1/3 into the trash can. He would then proceed to add tons and tons of mocha power into the cup, in addition to tons and tons of sugar. After that he would stir the "drink" up and top it off with dairy. That's what we called a "ghetto hot chocolate." Hehehe, pretty clever but we eventually put an end to it.


My favored hot tea is one of the cheapest things on the menu.

I order "Awake," or whatever "breakfast tea" is for sale -- and since it's breakfast tea, I drink it with milk and sugar. Breakfast tea without a good dollop of milk or halfandhalf is unthinkable.

So if dairy is the determining factor in the current price structure, something's pretty screwy to begin with. ;)

a barista

Its not being crafty or smart, its being cheap. All the baristas know what they are doing anyway. But, just say yes right? If these ppl are ok with being looked down and judged for being penny pinchers then fine.

wouldnt it be great if they would tip the difference?


Our location is seeing more of these "ghetto" drinks. My frustration is also with the condiment bar aspect. Twice I sent someone out to refresh the condiment bar milks and then immediatly after I had guests complain about no milk on the condiment bar. I finally figured out what was going on. Our guests were more aggrivated than us.


I'm amazed at the amount of you willing to make other customers suffer becuase someone is trying to pinch a few pennies.

The condiment bar is a not a make your drink buffet. It's a condiment bar.

Not to mention your violating one of the primary company goals.

"Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success"


Coffeeguy: Now is "profitability" above and below "enthusiastically satisfied customers" on your scale?


Cutebarista: Oh I definately still think it's stealing. Hell, try this anywhere else and they'd prolly call the cops/throw you out. But because we're in the "magical world of starbucks" it's okay. It's also okay when someone grabs a handful of Sugar in the Raw and tosses it in their purse along with some Splenda "for later."

Welcome to the magical world of Starbucks. Sometimes I wish I worked for a company that cared about these things so that I could take out my day-to-day frustrations on what are essentially thieves, but then I realized that I can't have everything in life and I'd rather have my benefits and my great relationships with my customers. And as nickname is so fond of asking himself "what would howie do?"

cute barista:

i don't frequent enough places to have figured out any price savers like i could at starbucks, but if i could then it would be crafty (or cheap) and i would be okay with it.

no other place i go to is as customizable as starbucks is, and so...

although i take MANY MANY pickles when i go to quizznos. i could see one of their employees thinking i was 'stealing' since i eat them with my chips as well (free dill pickle chips!)

but the whole thing (again) is that the big boss guy in the sky has decreed that your job (and mine) is to say yes..

stop taking it so personal that people are trying to get as much as they can for as little as possible..


(sorry, that was me)


mmmm, quiznos is damm delicious eh nickname?

sorry i had such a bug up my ass last week...i was in a really bad place in my life for a few days. but it popped on saturday and i was like...absurdly legendary. one of my partners even went "ummm i was worried you were on something," I've been so giddy and happy.

Marilee Veniegas

At least some other companies are stepping up to bat after Starbucks email coupon faux pas. How chincy - not the best word of mouth campaign isn't it. I'll have a double shot of better customer service please.


Accually yes when it comes to people stealing I do put profit ahead of just saying yes as does any manager or district i've talked to about this kind of thing.

It's one thing to point out to a customer how to save money. I've done it before.

But it's another to esentially give them a free drink (about the price of a grande brewed cofee) every day in day out. Hell we may as well start giving random people a free coffee on the house then heaven forbid they fork over the 2 dollars for the drink.

This is really no diffrent then the iced coffee coupons. It's giving away free product without reason at all.


Marilee i'll ignore the solicitation for your service. Good Day =)


What's disappointing is that the freeloaders who get told they can't order a drink like that, or complain about the dairy being empty at the condiment bar, will then complain to Customer Relations and Customer Relations is forced to give a coupon or be accused by their own Supervisors of not showing enough "empathy". If an executive would listen to these freeloader phone calls all day long - just for one day - they might have more empathy themselves for ALL partners who have to deal with these people.


PYT...I'll agree with that.


"At least some other companies are stepping up to bat...Posted by: Marilee Veniegas"

And here she's talking about starbucks being "chincy", ROFLMAO...

And DT, agreed you can't have the profitablity without the enthusiastically satisfied customers, BUT, would you rather have one upset customer or several? Personally I'd rather see the several customers satisfied because they have what they need at the bar and not empty because someone was to cheap to pay what they actually wanted.
So after reading all these posts, I'd probably have to tell her that she couldn't do it any longer.


When someone uses 2 stirrers for their coffee do you call the cops on them too. Do you think corporate G.A.S. over losing the .000001 cent in cream because less than .00001 percent of the customers order differently. Do you have an even remote concept of how many BILLIONS of sugar packets the company goes through each year. Do you think that losing that .000001 cent in cream is worth the bad press you will get when that homeless guy is interviewed on the local news and remembers how you treated him like crap? Is that good corporate citizenship? or as usual the typical sign of corporate greed, pettiness and poor service everyone has all come to expect from you. When is the last time any one from any starbucks has taken a full setup down to your local homeless shelter or even firestation for no other reason that just because with. What about going down to that shelter and just handing out some coupons for a free coffee and a danish.

Judging by what I read on this site its probably zero.


Aside from saying no, what can we do start asking how many pumps of half and half in that? Do we really want to go down that route?


Come on folks, $10 is an absurd amount of money for two drinks of anything other than whisky. If Starbucks' absurd and arcane pricing points and Ozymandian concoctions get short-circuited or self-served by customers, maybe the company should take it as a sign from God that customers are wising up.


I have never used the condiments. I don't understand why people mask coffee's flavor with cow juice, tooth-decay crystals and all the other crap. But those that choose to do so are welcome to my share!


. Extra Caramel on a Caramel Macc ... Charge or Don't charge?

I do, That's what the button is on the screen for, no?

2. Venti Latte with only a half a pump of Toffee Nut... Charge or Don't charge?

No, 30 cents does not a half pump make.

3. Iced Tea with NO WATER ... Charge extra or not?

No, really not that much difference, and I just add a tad more ice too.

4. Iced Coffee filled to the top with no ice... charge extra or don't charge?

Is there even a button for Xtra coffee?

5. Grande Coffee with 2 and a half inches of fresh steamed heavy whipping cream... charge or don't charge?

Not unless the person was a complete jerk while ordering. 2.5 inches? I mean who cares?


according to the pos manual as I understand it.

1. No charge, only charge extra if more pumps of syrup are requested.

2. technically this is a charge. Any syrup is a charge if it's not included in the drink normally.

3. This one honestly is not covered. I'll have another look through the manual when I get time but I don't think this one's in there.

4. Again iced drinks with no ice or water are not listed as what to charge for.

5. charge add dairy. If it's whole or non fat milk no charge. That one comes from my manager honestly.


I am not a regular *$ customer but I have been in the food and bar business for 22 years. People need hobbies and for some folks, trying to "out do" the establishment is their hobby. We have had customers bring in their own steaks for us to cook for them. We have had customers ask for 6 extra salad dressings..."and please put them in a to go cup for me". If *$ price points were more reasonable, you wouldn't see a reduction of the cheap ploys that have been described.
And about rich and very rich folks getting chinzy, how do you think they got rich in the first place??? Not by spending their $$$ foolishly.


Why not hand out the half and half when they make their purchase? They get one (or two) and then have to pay for the extra. That way, no one should have to do without because someone is taking too much.

James the Barista

sushirama has a point, but in the wrong direction. Starbucks gives a lot for free to a lot of people. Donates Pastries everyday to local food banks, donates coffee to Awareness groups...beans of coffee to school to auction off...and the list goes on! Starbucks doesn't try to lower the hammer on being cheap, they cut costs to make a profit but they help the people around them first. Its a business, you can abuse the system or you can be a regular and you might get a free coffee out of our mistakes...

Not Tonight Honey

I do the same thing at my local Starbucks. The baristas know me and usually have my "doppio over ice in a venti cup" ready by the time I get to to cash register. I know I'm sticking it to the company for over three bucks, so I always, always, always put two dollars in the tip jar. Everybody is happy!

formerly "anon"

If that's the case, why does Starbucks insist on throwing the sandwiches and pastries away at the end of the night rather than have the "partners" take them home to consume, or have the partner donate it to a homeless fellow while waiting for the bus? I know a lot of people took food home or gave it away to that homeless guy at the bus stop, but I wouldn't be caught dead doing it with my store manager or some some dickhead shift closing with me. Goes to show that common sense is clearly lacking in this company.


Just so you know from where I'm coming:
(1) I visit, on average, 2 Starbucks a day. I write, and feel very comfortable working at Starbucks, and have seen it all, and (2) I've spent 25+ years in retail, the last 10 as a district manager, all for branded corporations, including The Limited, Ann Taylor, and Williams-Sonoma. That said, my point of view is, (1) ask you DM or Regional how they want you to handle or address this issue, and (2) neither you, your store manager, your district manager, nor your regional manager sets price. It is not your decision to make. Make it easier on yourself and your frustration level, and defer to the people who are paid to make these decisions. It's not your money, and it's not your cream. (Personally, I agree, it's tacky, but who am I to decide corporate philosophy?)

Lastly, a question: What is your corporate policy on people who bring in food from other restaurants, or from home, do not buy anything, and hang out, sometimes for hours, taking up valuable table space from paying customers?


I'm so confused.
If I order a short double americano, extra room, am I stealing when I pour more than an inch of half and half in it? Should I be ordering a latte? What if I don't want a latte? What if I want my short double americano, extra room, with just the right amount of half and half (determined by me and me alone) and drinkable at that precious not-hot-but-not-cold temperature I can only get if I order my short double americano, extra room and add the half and half myself?


Hey, here is the version we have at our store, so people come in and they look at coffee beans for like 5 minutes, and then some one goes over to help them and they talk for 15 minutes and then they ask for a coffee sample in a grande cup and then they head for the condiment bar and fill up the cup with milk and sugar. We also have people who save us the coffee buying scam and just ask for a coffee sample. i like the second group better.
I do not really care if they are ripping the system, because they are not exactly cheating me, but i really hate it when they try to cheat me either at the bar or at the cash register. I dont like it when they think that im stupid and think that i dont get it. they are doing it for the chaper price. i really hate it when they start acting and pretending as though they getting the same thing since ever.


Brava, Americana!


Really, this is a concern in the world? If this really bothers you, you need to get a life.

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