Skinny grande decaf latte? No, I just want a @#¡* coffee!
Are you the kind of person who feels annoyed by having to order a 'tall white Americano' when you simply want a small coffee with milk?
Then you'll be pleased to know a blow has been struck for plain English.
Lynne Rosenthal, a literature professor at New York's Mercy College, was this week thrown out of a branch of Starbucks in Manhattan after getting into an argument over the chain's 'linguistic fascism' - and is urging others to follow her rebellious lead.
Professor Rosenthal asked for a bagel, and became enraged when an employee asked whether she wanted butter or cheese with it, reasoning that if she'd wanted anything else, she would have asked for it.
'When you go to Burger King, you don't have to list the six things you don't want,' she told the New York Post. 'Linguistically, it's stupid, and I'm a stickler for correct English.'
The row escalated, with the staff member responding that she wasn't going to get anything unless she specified a choice of topping - and when Professor Rosenthal voiced her disapproval, she was asked to leave.
Three policemen were called and she was threatened with arrest.
The professor, who is in her 60s, says she has previously clashed with staff after refusing to use the absurd Starbucks lexicon of 'tall', 'grande' and 'venti', instead of small, medium or large.
She has vowed never to darken their doorstep again, and urged fellow rebels to boycott the chain.
The story has struck a chord, with no less august a publication than The Economist weighing in, and a report on The Huffington Post website attracting 2,500 comments.
While many were supportive of Professor Rosenthal - 'you can't even buy a bagel without being subjected to doublespeak, scripted talking, and the patronising of customer-hating clerks,' wrote one commenter - not everybody was convinced.
'This "lady" verbally abuses a busy, generally overworked and underpaid barista [coffee-maker] and is told to take her business elsewhere,' weighed in another.
'Kudos to Starbucks for sticking up for an employee. I'll have to make a point of stopping at one and ordering a Venti Light Mocha Frappucino, or some equally silly beverage. Heck, I might even drink the thing.'
So will the professor's actions spark a people's revolt against our caffeine-dispensing overlords?
Perhaps not, but Marie Clair of the Plain English Campaign hopes the incident might make coffee shops re-appraise the jargon they use.
'Customers should order in the language they want and staff shouldn't force them to use certain terms,' she said.
'It drives customers mad. We get hundreds of complaints a year, particularly from London commuters.
'It's not only Starbucks that is guilty. This corporate language is about image and marketing and sales; it doesn't help customers understand what product they're buying.'
While some might feel Professor Rosenthal has as much of a problem with basic politeness as Starbucks does with plain English, I do feel a pang of sympathy for her.
It's impossible these days to order a coffee without being asked if you want 'anything else with that', as if no hot drink was complete without 500 extra calories of stodge.
The practice is known as 'upselling' - trying to get you to hand over extra cash for things you didn't want, or try a more expensive version of your original order.
From the customer's point of view, it's infuriating: the temptation to scream, 'If I wanted a pastry, I would have asked for a pastry!' can be almost irrestible.
But it's unfair to take it out on the unfortunate staff, who, after all, have been ordered to behave this way.
The company that employs them has made the cynical calculation that for every ten customers who are mildly irritated by being urged to buy extras, one suggestible (or greedy) person will give in, boosting their sales.
The only answer is to stand firm, order a 'small coffee with milk' if that's what you want, and firmly but politely refuse any fripperies you don't want. In the long-term, too, it will pay to visit those shops where you're not subjected to a hard-sell along with your morning macchiato.
And ultimately, we must remember that upselling is only the latest in a long line of annoyances foisted on us by coffee shops.
This, after all, is the sector where 'regular' has mysteriously come to mean 'small', we have to say 'latte' instead of 'with milk' and there's now such a thing as a 'skinny harmless'.
That, by the way, is a decaffeinated coffee with low-fat milk, which should surely be re-named the 'largely pointless'.
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