The Starbucks Skinny: An Open Letter

While indulging in my afternoon holiday beverage today, I had a rather unpleasant encounter.  And I'm sure I'm not the only one. Here's a letter I sent to Starbucks after my experience.  Dear Starbucks,

I’m writing to you from your location on 78th and Lexington on New York City’s Upper East Side, a store I frequent almost daily for your addicting holiday drinks.

Today, after ordering my venti soy Gingerbread Latte I had a rather unpleasant encounter with a barista.

He asked if I wanted whipped cream on my beverage (I still don’t understand why this is offered to soy-opting customers, but that’s another story), I politely declined.  He then informed me that the whipped cream was “free” but I didn’t need the calories.  His words scalded me more than a 500 degree vat of Pike Place Blend.

Firstly, I ordered a venti latte packed with sugar and your new molasses syrup. I have an Ivy League education and pretty decent reading skills; I’m aware that I could have had a lower-calorie lunch, but these holiday drinks are my winter indulgence. If I didn’t need the calories I would have ordered an iced coffee with sugar-free syrup.  Telling a customer to “save” her calories is just bad business.

But that aside, I do not think it’s the place of any Starbucks employee, or any Starbucks customer, to tell me how many calories I do or do not need.   The mainstream media, women’s magazines, and plenty of uncouth New Yorkers already do more than enough to inform me how a woman “should look.”

Further, I don’t believe that the inappropriate comment would have been relayed to a man, or perhaps even a heavier woman (I came in wearing a size 2 Betsey Johnson dress, and I’ll fit into this outfit as long as I desire to, sipping my lattes along the way).  But just because I look a certain way does not mean that I don’t struggle with the body image insecurities of any other woman in the western world.

I’ve watched plenty of friends struggle with eating disorders, temporarily destroying their lives over something as trivial as weight, and had this comment been relayed to one of these women (maybe it has been?), I would be even more irate.

Maybe it was just an offensive joke, a one-off line to try and bond with a customer or make me laugh, but I’m sitting here completely offended.  If it weren’t for the deliciousness of your gingerbread latte (which I was tempted to throw in this particular barista’s face, I kid you not), I would not return to this location.  In fact, I will now return to this location armed with a variety of responses to the potential chauvinistic, offensive, or hurtful comments I may receive based on my order.  Should I be entering Starbucks ready to protect and defend myself?  As a young woman living independently in New York, I work hard, and I come to Starbucks to relax and enjoy a beverage, not worry about my waistline or other people’s opinions of me.

The Starbucks mission statement is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”  I did not receive my gingerbread latte feeling inspired and certainly not nurtured, and I believe that every one of your employees should strive to fulfill the mission of your company on a constant basis.

Thank you for your time.

Warmly,

Melissa, Proud Consumer of 400 Calorie Lattes

I recently married a peppermint mocha, come on, Starbucks...

 

Issa's Favorite Things 2013

Well, Oprah beat me once again this year, but not to fret because... IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR.  MY FAVORITE THINGS LIST IS OUT!!! (Last year's is also still relevant).

Disclaimer: I will not be giving these things to a large, or small, or any studio audience, but presents and re-tweets are always welcome.

And now, in no particular order: ISSA'S FAVORITE THINGS 2013

Vince Camuto Windetta Booties.  These were my splurge of the season, but they're stylish, comfortable, and match pretty much any outfit and any occasion.

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MoleskineMy weekly notebook is my best friend. I'm not sure how I'd function without it.  With one calendar side for planning and the other weekly page for notes, to-do, lists, etc, I can stay organized.  Plus there's a nice pocket in back to store business cards and Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons.

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Scoutmob. The (free) app makes my life so much more enjoyable!  With 50% deals at tons of local restaurants and businesses, I've been able to go out much more than I can truly afford, and usually at great places, as the app is curated by supposedly knowledgable community managers.  Note: two types of businesses are frequently on the app- new ones and old ones hurting for business.  Read reviews and know what you're getting in to, there are plenty of awesome finds!

The North Face Down Vest. It may be very suburban middle school of me, but I'm slightly obsessed with my metallic purple puffy vest.  Purchased on Black Friday last year, this item is the perfect layer when you don't want to wear a coat, when your stylish coat isn't warm enough, or you just want something snuggly over your pajamas.  Also, wearing it feels athletic, because I can show off my biceps?

 

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Canada Goose Trillium Parka. So I don't actually own one of these babies yet... ($650! For a jacket!) but I tried one on at Bloomingdales and it was the most comfortable and warm I've ever been. (Get the hint, readers.  Another hint: my birthday is on Thanksgivukkah).

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Reusable Starbucks Cup.  At $1 and $.10 off every drink you buy, this cup practically pays for itself.  Plus, if you're poor you can make coffee at home and then drink it at Starbucks as if you're a paying customer (you once were!) and perhaps even use their soy milk. 

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Kate Spade Wallet.  Post-grad life seemed to require a professional looking wallet from which I could produce my shiny new credit card and semi-crumpled business cards. My dirty, shredding Bat Mitzvah wristlet from Coach wasn't going to cut it  This would have been a splurge, had I not purchased it with graduation money (thanks!), and the few cents I had left fit perfectly in the inside zippered compartment.  I love this thing!

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Avocado. I don't take enough time to appreciate these majestic, sweet and savory fruits.

Joffrey Ballet School.  Their adult classes are awesome.

Lucky Peach. David Chang's food journal is not too academic but also not too fluffy, full of well-written, well-researched articles that are insightful and educational and just fun.

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Vita Coco.  This sweet but not sugary box of coconut water helped me survived the insane NYC summer heat. I may not be writing this without it.

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Orange is The New Black.  This is the best thing that Netflix has ever done.

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The Mind of a Chef. This is the best thing that PBS has ever done. (Sorry, Arthur).

Blue is the Warmest Color.  This is the best thing modern French film has ever done.

Harney & Sons TeaThe shop in Soho, which matches you with a personal tea consultant, who brews you teas to suit your tastes (fo' free), is the best.  Plus, the teas are delicious and encased in silk bags, 20 to a pack, which comes in a cute decorative tin, in the $6 range.

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Mophie. I received this in a gift bag and it has since been my life saver.  Charge the juice pack, keep it in your bag, revive your phone during a long day out.  Amazing.

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The New Yorker. Purchasing a subscription was easily the best money I spent all year. Though I recently switched to reading the iPad edition, having something informative, entertaining, and conversation-worthy in my mailbox each week is fantastic.

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Fireball. It was gross and unsophisticated college, but now that I'm an adult, spicy cinnamon whiskey shots are fun in the most ironic way possible. Think atomic fireball candy in powerful liquid form.

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Nantucket and Napa. I took not one, but two lovely white people yuppy trips this summer.  I wish I could give you all first class tickets and hotel rooms.

Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder. I don't want to wash my hair everyday and now I don't have to!  This yummy sparkly powder just rubs into your roots and makes your hair look even more glamorous days after bathing. I'm obsessed.

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Lancôme Bienfat Aqua Vital Cream.  Also known as: moisturizer.  I have no idea how this luxurious product appeared in my bathroom, but using it every morning is a pleasure.

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NeuralPop.  WHAT AN AMAZING WEBSITE.

Being a college graduate. Being a professional writer.  Being part of my family and group of friends. Being a person.

Life is good! Happy Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and birthday to ME!

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