But I just want tea

Posted on May 8, 2009


Earlier this week, I went to Starbucks.  (Some of you will say that my first mistake was patronizing the evil corporate empire, but stay with me.  I'd actually argue that Starbucks does a lot of good in this world – their contributions to fair trade and part-time employee benefits, for example.  So, although I'm not a huge fan of the locations that have rude baristas, that's not what this post is about.) 

Starbucks recently updated their menu.  I had gotten into their London Fog, which consisted of an earl gray tea and some steamed milk.  Well, that's no longer available, but on their menu, under a heading that reads "tea and milk" there are a few choices.  The rude baristas mentioned above don't exactly like to be questioned, but I like to know what I'm putting in my body, so I needed to clarify before I placed my order.  It seems logical to be sure that you're getting "tea and milk" rather than some weird powder or syrup, right?

I'm no expert on how these powders and syrups are made, but it seems like they're misrepresenting them on the menu given the heading.  Yes, you can order a tea bag and milk (with a little attitude for your "special request").  But it seems to me that if you're advertising tea, I just want tea and not unidentifiable syrupy weirdness. 

(Maybe this is too much of a personal rant.)  The more I think about people trying to eat right and take care of their bodies, the more fired up I get about companies that don't accurately represent what you're consuming.  Yes, the responsibility is partially held by consumers, but most consumers won't ask the right questions and when we're the most unhealthy nation on the planet (just guessing), it feels like we should all be trying to help each other a little more.  That's why I'm a big fan of those nutrition facts signs that are now mandatory in Manhattan.  Yes, you have to own up to the fact that you're eating 500 calories of ice cream, but at least you know it's made of cream and ice.

Am I being irrational?

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