Epic Battle For Raspberry Syrup Ends With Starbucks Apology And Gift Card

Andy and his partner would just like some raspberry syrup in their Iced Venti Raspberry Soy Mocha, but in the midst of a change from old raspberry syrup to something called “juicy” raspberry… chaos at Starbucks. The use of juicy raspberry before the “juicy raspberry” promotion was simply not allowed. Attitudes were copped. Customers were offended. Business was lost. Apologies were issued. Gift cards were mailed.

This is an epic struggle for raspberry mochas, people. Epic.

Andy writes:

Ben and Meghann-

I won’t get into the story of how this came about, as it is all in the email that I sent to Starbucks. With the problems that I had, I decided to send my email to Howard Schultz, and the rest of the executive team. I received the response from Micelle Gass, Senior Vice President of Category Management, within 24 hours of sending the email on a weekend.

I realize this is long, but I wanted to paint a picture, rather than do the usual “I spend a lot of money with your company …etc.”

Dear Mr. Schultz,

Let me begin with some background on my partner and myself to paint a picture of our dedication to your brand.

I will begin in 1997. We became Starbucks fans over Caramel Sauce Lattes. We began by going to your stores about once a day. You know how these things go, that didn’t last for long. Eventually it was twice a day and maybe three times on the weekend.

In October of 2000 we moved to Shanghai China. A Starbucks had recently opened in the Portman Ritz Carlton, the first Starbucks in Shanghai. I did not work in China, however my partner did. We would both taxi to Starbucks in the morning, he would get his Iced Grande Caramel Sauce Latte and I would get mine. He would then go off to work, I would stay, read and get to know the Chinese baristas on their breaks. I still speak to one of them, however he no longer works at Starbucks. I would then go home and some days would make my way back for lunch, and every day I would meet my partner there after work, for yet another drink to catch up on the day. Some times we would go back for a quick decaf drink after dinner.

In July of 2001 we moved back to the United States. For the first few months we were living at our respective parents houses and would meet at Starbucks and spend time there. Soon we found a house on Eastlake to rent. With no Starbucks near, we would travel to Capitol Hill.

In June of 2003 we began a search for a house in the Seattle area. One of the deciding factors that our Real Estate Agent was advised of was that a Starbucks would need to be close to our house. We ended up finding a perfect home in the Westwood area of West Seattle. A Starbucks had recently opened in Westwood Village. We were in heaven.

Soon after moving my partner realized that he was lactose intolerant. So he had changed his drink to a Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha. This has been a constant drink for at least two years now. Starbucks became more a part of our lives as we were now in a permanent place in our lives. We began to be very close with all of the baristas and enjoyed their company every day. Jan, the Managar at your corporate location was the manager at Westwood before heading there. (She is fantastic, which is why we remember her.) Another favorite of ours, Nori, has recently been working in the Partner Contact Center. We would be sad, but happy, to see our favorite people move up within the Starbucks organization. We have been invited to different going away parties many times for certain partners that have moved on. The first people that we showed our new puppy to was our baristas at this Starbucks. The first people who got the tour of my new MINI Cooper was our baristas at Starbucks.

In 2004 we got a new neighbor in our cul de sac directly across the street from us. She is a Starbucks employee and is one of our good friends now.

Now, after this long and winded introduction, I will get to the issue at hand. About a month ago, we were informed that Raspberry Syrup was going away and will be replaced by a new syrup called Juicy Raspberry. My partner had been getting at least one Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha, most of the times, two, every day. He was to say the least very disappointed. Well, the current Stock of Raspberry syrup had went away and we were assured by our local store that Juicy Raspberry would be in soon. My partner was concerned that the new Raspberry would be more acidic and a bit more tart than the old syrup. As soon at our local Starbucks received the new syrup, they were jumping at the chance to tell us as we walked in the door. Especially the manager, as he was worried that he would loose our business if this specific syrup was not to our liking. Having tried the new syrup, my partner thought it was okay and would miss the old Raspberry syrup, but would have to do with the Juicy Raspberry. This is where the trouble starts.

We live in West Seattle and he works in Redmond. So in the morning, he would frequent the Starbucks near us and in the afternoon we would go to a Starbucks in Redmond. Both of these stores had served him Juicy Raspberry, no questions asked since they have sold through their current stock in Raspberry Syrup. Up until last Thursday.

He happened to be early taking his carpool partner to the ferry, and thought he would go through the drive thru Starbucks in West Seattle off of the West Seattle Bridge. He asked for a Iced Venti Raspberry Soy Mocha. The barista said that they were out of Raspberry Syrup. He then inquired if they had any of the new Juicy Raspberry. The barista faltered a bit and said that they were not selling it yet. He then said that other Starbucks were selling it to him and she then asked, what I am guessing was a superior, if they could sell it. This person said no. After being asked if he would like another drink, he responded no, and continued on his way. Later that night, we went to the Starbucks that we normally go to near our house in Westwood Village. We told one of the shift managers there about his experience and she offered to call and find out why that happened. We really weren’t too worried about it, but she did call and one of the supervisors or managers at that store said that they were not to sell it until the promo began later that month. That was somewhat understandable, however since the original Raspberry Syrup was discontinued, it made sense to use the new Juicy Raspberry as a substitute.

The next day, last Friday the 8th of June, he went to a Starbucks in a QFC in Redmond. He asked for his normal drink, an Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha. The person taking his order informed him that they were out of Raspberry. He then asked if he could get the Juicy Raspberry. She checked with the barista, who was the Manager she said that she could not give it to him until the launch date. He said that other Stores were allowing him to have the Juicy Raspberry Syrup. She said that for all she knew, he “…could be a secret shopper for all she knew and she could get into a lot of trouble.” My partner then mentioned to the cashier about Starbucks “Just say yes” Policy. (Now this being the hometown of Starbucks, a lot of people know a lot of people that work for Starbucks and for as often as we go there, a lot of times we know more about the Starbucks policies and drink recipes than the newer baristas that are working these stores.) The Manager then butted into this conversation and in a very condescending and rude way said “Thats just not an option. I cannot do that.” Then turned her back on him and neither of these people offered him another drink. He then left and went to Tully’s across the street, the first visit to a Tully’s in 7 years.

Later that night after he got home we went to our Westwood Starbucks and come to find out that the person at the other West Seattle Starbucks just off the West Seattle Bridge had told the District Manager (Peter) who then talked to the Shift Manager at Westwood and told her that under no circumstances are they to sell the Juicy Raspberry. Under the “Just say yes” policy, I would imagine that if there is a new syrup that is conceivably replacing an older syrup that had been discontinued, this new syrup could be used to appease a customer.

I realize that this seems to be a lengthy letter and a bit of an effort over a syrup, however, when Starbucks has been there for us when we were half way around the world, there for us when we needed to get away from our families for a break, there for us to catch up on each others day, the baristas are there for us to make our day a bit better and make us laugh, we feel that Starbucks is a large part of our lives. I guess that you could say that we are your target customers. But after this whole thing with the Raspberry/Juicy Raspberry Syrup, it has been very frustrating and I feel that I need to tell you that we are looking at other options for our coffee source. Wether that be Tully’s, a more independent chain or simply purchasing a Jura Capresso machine and making our drinks at home.

What I would like to see happen is that the Juicy Raspberry be able to be used before the said launch date. Thats all. Not a large request and something that will keep two Starbucks junkies happy and to not have to go to Tullys. We would also like to see a more fruity flavor available, something along the lines of a Cherry promotion in the spring to coincide with Cherry Blossom festivals around the world. Just a thought.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Her response:

    Hi Andy, I am extremely sorry to hear of your challenges with the Raspberry syrup. I lead the product efforts and it was surely not our intent to have this happen. I am following up immediately with my team when I get into the office tomorrow to ensure the stores know it is ok to use the new syrup, there may have been some confusion.

    Thanks for letting us know of the situation. And again I apologize for the situation. May I get your address to send you a Starbucks Card?

    Regards,

    Michelle

I am incredibly pleased with the response that I received from her, it it exactly what I wanted to hear!

Thanks!

Andy

We’re glad that Andy got his syrup and gift card, and that Starbucks clarified their policy, but what’s up with everyone power-tripping over syrup? Andy should not have had to write the sequel to War & Peace to get his drink.

Was George W.B. running the counter? “I’m the decider, I decide who gets raspberry syrup!” Oh well, we’re happy for you, Andy. —MEGHANN MARCO
(Photo: Superchou)

Comments

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  1. BillyShears says:

    Iced Venti Raspberry Soy Mocha

    Yeah, um, I can’t work up that much “care” for people who get that specific with their caffeine.

    It’s coffee. If I’m in Starbucks I order it black with a little bit of room for cream. Seriously, “Iced venti raspberry soy mocha” sounds like the punchline to some joke.

  2. Keeko_ca says:

    Sigh…why did I read through all of that?

  3. iMike says:

    a) I think my thesis was shorter
    b) Teh gays are picky, aren’t they
    c) WTF is the “partner” not writing on his own behalf?
    d) Jesus Christ.

  4. BillyShears says:

    Not only that, but writing a letter to executive customer service seems a little excessive. I recall an experience I had at Peet’s a few weeks back where I ordered a “tall” black coffee. They were out. I was given the option of waiting for another pot to brew or to get an Americano instead.

    I got the latter, which was just fine. (If a tad hot.) I didn’t make a scene, quote their store policies, claim that I was disgusted that they were out of “regular” coffee or whatever. I moved on, and even got that Americano for the price of a regular cup of coffee.

    There are more important things in life than going a day without your “regular.”

  5. MommaJ says:

    Geez, it’s a coffee shop, it’s a beverage. Has the phrase “get a life” ever been more appropriate? Can we get back to some real consumer issues?

  6. Fuzz says:

    Holy freakin crap. Ok, that was way to long to bother reading, but the summary seamed to tell all that was needed. Bitching about a raspberry coffee? You fail from humanity. Done. Gone. If this is something you can put that much effort into, you need to reevaluate your priorities.

  7. mopar_man says:

    @BillyShears:
    I have to agree. It goes up to the top of my “I don’t get it” list, topping the hoopla over the iPhone.

    @iMike:
    2) I was thinking the same thing.
    3) Because the writer of the e-mail wears the pants. The other “partner” wears the skirt and has no voice of their own.
    4) YES!

  8. Slytherin says:

    @Keeko_ca: Me, too. I want the last 15 minutes of my life back. All of that over a syrup. Go figure. Here’s a thought for your partner, Andy…how about trying something different in the meantime?

    Man, I really want the last 15 minutes of my life back. :(

  9. Buran says:

    I knew this was coming, that people would make fun of the guy. Come on, we all have our quirks. And it’s OK to jeer at him just because his happens to be coffee?

  10. Yozzie says:

    @iMike: These ones maybe, but trust me, we’re not all like that.

    Reading this was torture, on many levels. Just try something different until the product actually releases, ferchrissakes…

  11. Buran says:

    @BillyShears: Well, if he couldn’t get help from managers (specifically says so in the letter) what else is there to do when you get bad service? Do you think all the people who have gotten satisfaction that way are all “over the top” too when clerks just don’t care?

  12. Slytherin says:

    @iMike: No, we are not all picky. And I would NOT demand to a real estate agent that I need to live by a certain store/restaurant/whatever. That’s just sad.

  13. Buran says:

    @MommaJ: Shitty service isn’t a real issue?

  14. gamble says:

    I find it difficult to care about people who visit Starbucks up to three times a day and are experiencing a crisis when one of the flavored syrups are temporarily unavailable.

  15. MercuryPDX says:

    I have to tell you as far as ‘Rant and Rage’ letters go this one is one of the nicest I have read.

    I would not be surprised if they ask to use it in a promotion.

  16. Kos says:

    And I thought I was pissed when they stop selling McCaffrey’s Irish Ale in bars in the US. Geez.

  17. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Talk about burying the lede!

  18. FLConsumer says:

    Andy — 1,820 words written on Raspberry Syrup? Have you ever considered doing something more productive with your time. Maybe a hobby? Volunteer some more? Get a life? Something?

  19. The Bigger Unit says:

    Whaaaat a minute here. Is Andy a homosexual??! This is gonna sound bad, but “Iced Venti Raspberry Soy Mocha” sounds about the gayest drink I’ve ever heard of.

    Whew, I’ve said my piece…and didn’t bother to read that thesis either! Good god!

  20. Antediluvian says:

    Damn, that’s a lot of money dropped on coffee and coffee-related beverages over the years.

    I gave up Starbucks unofficially a while ago in favor of the affordable Dunkin Donuts varieties (save for the occassionaly mortgage-busting mocha Frapuccino). I’ve since given up coffee and caffeine to get in better shape and have found so far I don’t really miss it.

    Too bad all the hard-assed servers got in the way of a simple beverage. Glad it worked out.

  21. acambras says:

    They must have a lot of money if they can afford to visit Starbucks several times a day.

  22. Andywsea says:

    Ok, I know that this was completely ridiculous over a syrup, that is even mentioned in the letter.

    This letter would never had been written if a) the girl didnt “tattle” on the shift manager when she was doing the correct thing and got her busted, and b) if the manager was not so condesending at the Redmond store.

    All things coming together really made us mad. It is about crappy customer service and district managers not following corporate communications.

  23. smallestmills says:

    I am a retail manager and the only thing that gets me through customers like this (along with gritted teeth and a smile on my face) is thinking about how good or how bad that their life is that this little thing can upset them so much. Either life is great and they have no other worries, or life is pure shit and they nitpick on everything. Either way, I’m glad they were taken care of, and I pray they never move to my area.

  24. bunnyfoofoo says:

    Uh… I agree with the above posters about having wasted 15 minutes reading this.

    I was expecting something BIG at the end like a mouse in the coffee…

    I find Starbucks to be overpriced and overrated. It’s a product, not a lifestyle. That was nuts and whiny.

  25. Keeko_ca says:

    @Andywsea:
    You could have just said just that instead of the autobiography on you and your partner’s coffee purchases IMO. It’s like the verbal equivalent to opening the SkyDome because one fan in the stands farted.

    Slight overkill!

    Anyways, glad you won in the very end.

  26. enroper says:

    All that time devoted to a letter about syrup, yet our country falls apart around us.

    Some people seriously have screwed up priorities in life.

  27. markymags says:

    3 times a day? I only go to Starbucks or Coffee Bean a handful of times a month. 6 drinks at approximately $4 (probably closer to 5 or 6 since they get Venti) equals at least $24 a day! That seems like quite a bit of cash to me.

  28. Jasmo says:

    garbage in … garbage out.

  29. acambras says:

    @Antediluvian:

    The Dunkin Donuts Caramel Coolatta tastes just as good as the Starbucks Caramel Frappucino, and it’s a lot cheaper.

  30. Andywsea says:

    @enroper:

    45 minutes at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night. Not hardly enough time to save the world.

  31. Slytherin says:

    @Keeko_ca: LOL! :) I was thinking the same thing. A teacher once gave me some great advice when I was young: “KISS”. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

  32. Brie says:

    I can see where Andy was going with this. Check out the Starbucks Gossip blog and the whole concept of “third place,” which Starbucks was for Andy and his partner. Starbucks built an empire on “third place” and “just say yes,” creating an entire customer base of people who expect to get anything they want, just the way they want it, anytime.

    Now I have a bad Journey earworm.

  33. Jasmo says:

    @Andywsea: “It is about crappy customer service and district managers not following corporate communications.”

    dude, we aren’t fooled … it’s all about precious little you.

  34. jurgis says:

    Wow… I’m not going to make fun of the author of this letter, but we really have our priorities out of whack if we can devote such time to a syrup.

    Dunkin Donuts has much better coffee… and donuts. You could eat three glazed donuts for the calorie/fat content of one “raspberry coffee cake”.

  35. Andywsea says:

    @Jasmo:

    Yup, All about me. I am sure that Starbucks was just thrilled to find out that their stores were not following the release schedule for the new syrup.

  36. pestie says:

    tl;dr

  37. Ray Wert Jr says:

    I love Starbucks. I go in and order a Grande Dark Roast, no cream, no sugar. It’s not overrated or over priced. Just because some of you deal with McD’s coffee and don’t understand what real coffee tastes like, it’s not their fault.

    Jeez, if you like Bud light, whatever, but don’t go picking on Guinness if you can’t take it any ways.

    Guess what?

    They get it right every time.

    I mean Chrissake, if a drink had 17 ingredients and they changed the wording around a bit, you’d get confused too.

  38. 3drage says:

    I’m sure we all have our little obsessions. Kind of crummy for you guys to throw out such demeaning replies and to judge others. We all have things we are passionate about, no reason to demean these people for theirs. Internet anonymity, gotta love it. :(

  39. Andywsea says:

    @3drage:

    Thank you. That’s what I was thinking. :)

  40. megyay says:

    hahahahahahaha.

    i work at an independant coffee shop…if anyone walked in and ordered a iced venti raspberry soy mocha i would…well i would make it except we don’t have bullshit like raspberry syrup and our sizes have names that you aren’t embarassed to say out loud. but after i made their drink and they left my coworkers and i would have a good laugh.

    on the other hand, starbucks is well known for making all kinds of bizzaro drinks, so i can understand why this guy is upset. perhaps his priorities are out of whack but there are worse obsessions. but andy, seriously, a little editing would do a world of good. in addition to being excessively long, it shows the pitfalls of relying on spelling and grammar check i.e. loose instead of lose.

    i wish i had the metabolism to drink two 350 calorie beverages every day, that would be great.

  41. allstarecho says:

    Just about every bigot that commented on here, has missed the point. They were out of the old syrup, had the new syrup sitting in the back, but wouldn’t use it. I could understand if no stores had any kind of raspberry syrup and his partner had to wait just like everyone else. But if it’s in the store then it should be sold, used, whatever.. that’s what it’s there for.

  42. nickripley says:

    I am a Seattle gay, and we aren’t all like this!

    Really, no one cares about your frou-frou drinks and no one who goes to Starbucks that much is doing anything for their health or wallet.

  43. Crazytree says:

    my comment disappeared!

  44. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    THESE are the people who come to my Starbucks on Eastlake. GET THEE BACK TO SHANGHAI!

  45. Slytherin says:

    @3drage: Nah, I say crap to people’s faces all the time. Ask my boss…God knows she keeps talking to/writing me up for ripping people new assholes everyday.

  46. Black Bellamy says:

    @3drage: Actually it’s totally correct to judge others. People who don’t judge others tend to get their throats slit giving rides to people who they should never let into their cars in the first place.

  47. Rusted says:

    I always get something black with two shots of expresso in it. Adding anything else just weakens the buzz.

    “……District Manager (Peter) who then talked to the Shift Manager at Westwood and told her that under no circumstances are they to sell the Juicy Raspberry.”

    Spent a year in retail in an airport. Hey, when we got told not to sell something, we stripped it out soonest and it was gone to the warehouse. Sometimes management didn’t tell us peons why.

    There are other things in life besides iced venti raspberry soy mocha, and it doesn’t hurt to try something new now and then.

    Now speaking as someone who knows customer service, those two stores did fall down on the job. Never be rude to a customer even if one feels like shooting them.

  48. markymags says:

    @Rusted:

    “Spent a year in retail in an airport. Hey, when we got told not to sell something, we stripped it out soonest and it was gone to the warehouse. Sometimes management didn’t tell us peons why.”

    Too bad Walmart can’t hire you guys to take those Nazi shirts and poison dogfood off their shelves…

  49. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    All this over raspberry syrup? I think Andy and his partner need to seriously consider getting a hobby. Raspberry syrup is OUT. Deal with it. Sure, if my favorite drink were an Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha, I’d probably be upset, but not obsessed.

    My response would have been “Oh, that’s terrible.” That would have been the end of it, and I would have ordered something else. Life is too short to get that worked up about raspberry syrup. Even if they did have “juicy raspberry” in the store and wouldn’t use it, I just can’t see making this big of a deal out of it.

  50. RebekahSue says:

    I actually liked the letter. Andy made SURE to tell the Executives just how loyal a customer he is. With the name-dropping, that can be checked out. Often, customers who drop that much cash on a company’s product get really nasty with their requests; these people just wanted to be served something that was already in the store (though not yet for sale).

    It’s not like they wanted a bookstore to open cases of the new Harry Potter early.

    For what Starbucks charges*, they can bend a little. I’m glad they did.

    _____
    *I can’t afford Starbucks three times a MONTH. Then again, we buy Kirkland coffee which, I believe, IS Starbucks, and make it at home.

  51. Pancakes?? FRENCH TOAST!! says:

    I just refuse to believe there wasn’t a Starbucks in Eastlake in 2001.

  52. Andywsea says:

    @Sushiwriter:

    Nope, closest one was on Olive or on Broadway on Cap Hill. The Eastlake store only opened up about 2 years ago.

  53. tcp100 says:

    Hey, Consumerist.. I went to mcdonalds the other day and they were out of bbq sauce. It practically ruined my life. I was thinking of writing Exec Customer Service, making sure to include a tangent on how my car’s A/C isn’t working and this one time when I went to Joliet, IL and saw this really funny billboard.

    You think I could get an article on it?

  54. bossco says:

    OMG. God help us if he ever has a real life problem. You can imagine the poor starbuck’s baristas seeing him come through the door going “oh no!” I am sure this letter must be framed and hanging on a wall in some Starbuck’s Office.

  55. Addison says:

    Does anyone else think that maybe the Starbucks culture has gone even more over the top than the Mac culture? I remember flying into SEATAC my first time for my brother’s wedding. I asked the gate agent where the rental car counters were and it was something like “go down two Starbucks, make a left, and it’ll be just past the fourth Starbucks on your right.”

  56. thewacokid04 says:

    Ug. i work for the bux, and this kind of thing happens a lot. Here is a sort of……..formula, for dealing with customers like this.

    just say yes. get them to leave happy. WHATEVER IT TAKES. why? because they …..are….CRAZY. If the end result wont A) get me fired, or B) Break the law, then its happening. If thats what it takes to get the CRAZY person out of my store happy, then thats what i will do. why? because people….are….CRAZY! Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows this. Its fact. Its law. Its not “bad”, usually, but its the damn truth. I cant explain why someone wants a Iced, 5shot, 1/2 caff, venti, 3 pump vanilla 4 pump caramel, breve, with whip, mocha drizzle, 4 splenda latte. I CANT. Some people can wrap their heads around Schrodingers Cat, and some people can wrap their heads around the idea of a person that would order that drink. I have a hard time with both.

    NO, we are not supposed to use that syrup until the appropriate date.
    Yes, we should have just SAID YES to make the CRAZY person happy. CRAZY or not, its not a big deal. its just a syrup. its not selling the new Paul Mccartney album 3 weeks ahead of time. whatever. No one is getting hurt. it will all be ok, i promise. just give the CRAZY person what they want so they will go home happy. Its that easy.

    What happens when you dont make the CRAZY person happy? They go home and write CRAZY letters to anyone that will listen. in this case, our CEO.

    Once you realize that the customer could potentially be CRAZY, “just say yes” becomes a lot easier to use. It doesnt have to mean youre buckling to someone who may be rude, or have a request that isnt kosher for whatever place you work in. Remember…..if it wont get you fired, or its not against the law, just make them happy, because they are CRAZY.

  57. Milesthecat says:

    It chaps my ass when a consumer thinks just because they have been using a product for XX number of years/times, that they are entitled to special treatement. The one store you frequent was probably doing you a favor to shut your whiney traps up. So this one time they cannot bend over backwards for you, you are turning your backs on them. Nice. Bet you ditched your mom when her breast milk dried up.

  58. SOhp101 says:

    Yes Starbucks is a ripoff but when you pay that much for coffee, they better kiss your ass.

  59. seanSF says:

    Holy shit, there really are people like this in the world? I just thought they were over-the-top characters usually played by Parker Posey (god, I love her) but didn’t actually exist off the screen.

    It’s such a weird and wonderful world we live in.

  60. EricaKane says:

    Making life difficult for workers for following policy. That will show them! YEAH.

    Did you ever consider that the person who let you have the Juicy was breaking policy! And you probably got them in trouble over this.

    I can’t believe the editors thought this was worth posting.

  61. shiny says:

    I’ll relay a story about my wife’s experiences recently with Starbucks. And hopefully I’ll make it a tad shorter than Andy’s acount:

    Wife likes Frappuccino. Wife sees in window – New! Orange Mocha Frappuccino. Wife goes in and orders one.

    Wife hates said Frappuccino. Says tastes like orange children’s Tylenol.

    Wife goes to different Starbucks few days later. Chats with barista. Mentions she didn’t like orange mocha frappucinno. Barista apologizes — and gives wife a coupon for free frappuccino next visit!

    Week later – wife goes back to original Starbucks. Tells barista there she received coupon at other Starbucks. Barista so moved by story that she comps yet another Frappuccino. Wife wowed by service.

    The End.

    I hope this made sense to everyone. I had originally kept in the portion of the story where we moved from Birmingham after our parakeet Roger passed away. I apologize if the omission made the story more difficult to follow.

  62. jurgis says:

    @shiny: I just had to chime in… that Orange Mocha Frappucino/Cappucino is disgusting.

  63. Fuzz says:

    I just wanted to say that most of the comments here have restored my faith in humanity. Thanks guys, it was wavering for a fem minutes after reading about raspberry syrup.

    Oh, and Shiny, LOL sir, L-O-L.

  64. SexyRandal says:

    While I do find the extent that this was taken to a bit silly, I do applaud the customer for being polite and professional about it.

    As long as you aren’t being a complete asshole, there’s nothing wrong with voicing your opinion to an organization, no matter how insignificant the detail.

  65. backspinner says:

    As expected, it didnt take long (only until comments 2, 6 and 18) for his gayness to be blamed for his actions. But I suppose it has taken decades to get past the “uppity negro” stereotypes that whites had way back when and that it takes certain kinds of people a while to progress.

    Anyway, I think Starbucks should keep doing shit like this– enough people will stop going there and start patronizing real, local coffeeshops.

  66. Ponygirl says:

    I’m never really clear on why a complaint about bad customer service (or the perception of bad service) becomes an opportunity for other readers to cop “holier than thou” attitudes about the products being purchased.

    “You got bad service at McDonalds? Well no surprise, that’s why I don’t eat fast food, it tastes like shit…”

    “The Barista, whose job it is to make the drink you want and are paying for, wouldn’t? Who cares, I hate coffee! Drink water!”

    What on earth does the product being purchased (and you the reader/commentator’s opinions on the product) have to do with the actual act of customer service? If the product doesn’t fulfill your wants and needs than any consumer who desires said product and also desires good service in exchange for their money are dipshits who get what they asked for? How does that make sense?

  67. asherchang says:

    @iMike: what did you say?

  68. superbmtsub says:

    This guy sounds like he’s living a tv character. Iced Venti Soy Rasberry Mocha? WTF??? I bet after the Starbucks exec read that letter, she laughed hard at “Andy” for being such a nerd and then at her self for reading it.

    Somewhere in a corner lies a smug-looking “Andy” thinking he wrote the best letter in the world but in reality, he’s jus plain retarded for shellin out a premium for regular coffee with long names and some rasberry syrup.

    The joke’s on you Andy!

  69. Slytherin says:

    @shiny: LOL! You K.I.S.S.! Atta boy!

  70. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Ray Wert Jr: You’re joking, right? I mean, you’re playing the coffee snob card, but you go to Starbucks?

    That’s really adorable.

  71. Keeko_ca says:

    @backspinner:
    Hey, I just want it to be known that I never said anything about his gayness, or placed bias in my response because of that possibility.

    I’m just on the same bandwagon as those that are confused as to what kind of society we live in where a lack of Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha that lead to a confrontation in which employees were following store policy was a major consumer catastophe. Phew, major run on sentence there…

    In fact, I’m quite convinced the article was posted as a joke to begin with.

  72. dantsea says:

    I did a few month in the email trenches at Starbucks Center in Seattle. It was a nice seasonal temp job in 2004/2005.

    Andy would have received gift cards or “service recovery” (free drink) coupons and his complaint would have reached the appropriate person within the company no matter what channel he used to contact the Mermaid. That’s the standard response when a customer reports any service issue.

    The response from the licensee division (Starbucks stores inside grocery stores are run under license by the grocer and not directly by Starbucks) is also par for the course. This is a huge company, yes, but they are freakishly interested in the voice of the customer — and that’s a good thing!

    So while Andy’s patting himself on the back for a job well done in getting his matter resolved… this is pretty much just the standard response from the company and something that happens dozens of time a day. It’s how they react to customer complaints.

    As far as the length of the letter, many of you might think it’s a bit long-winded and I guess it is. But trust me, to the person on the receiving end of that missive, Andy’s letter isn’t even in the minor league of long and/or crazy. There was one guy over in Bellevue who would craft rants four times as long whenever his local Starbucks didn’t stock maple scones that day.

  73. anthrobug says:

    Obviously none of you have had a significant other with an addiction to Startbucks frappachinos or something else equally addictive. You’ll move heaven and earth to get your loved one what they want, and obviously hanging around starbucks this guy had plenty of time to write a long and very informative letter… That got to job done, got his partner the raspberry syrup, and is now a hero. Oh, and got an article up in consumerist too. That’s what I call a successfully completed mission.

  74. ahwannabe says:

    oh, for pete’s sake. Yes, I’m sure all the people making wisecracks here are thinking “hey, there can’t possibly be any GAYZ reading this, so let’s all make snide remarks about DA GAYZ so us STRATE guys can go nyuck nycuk nyuck.”

    or, they may have just thought that Consumerist readers had a sense of humor.

  75. VA_White says:

    I mourn the loss of pumpkin spice every February. I made it all the way to Valentine’s Day this year before they ran out. And my barista was holding some back for me. I only visit Starbucks during Pumpkin SPice season and I make my own mochas the rest of the year. The Torani Pumpkin Spice syrup is a sad, shitty substitute and is not even close to the heaven that is SB Pumpkin Spice.

    But I don’t throw myself on my keyboard and have a controlled fit when they run out.

  76. anderswright says:

    The point isn’t what drink Andy’s partner wants or how often they go to Starbucks, the point is he emailed them and they got back to him. Quickly. Promptly. They addressed his issue (valid or not), and made him a happy customer. So much of Consumerist is about exactly that, companies that do or don’t act with their customers in mind. I favor indie coffee stores myself, especially after a 10-year stint in Seattle, but I appreciate the fact that they actually deal with the folks that drink their stuff.

  77. Chikashige says:

    I work as a barista at Starbucks. Let me just say that you can get into a lot of trouble if you give syrups/pastries/whatever out before the release date.

    Baristas in my store were giving the orange syrup to customers a few weeks before the official release. We ended up with district managers in the store inspecting sales reports and posting warning signs about it in our back room.

    Plus you can buy raspberry syrup for like eight freaking dollars from the grocery store. Just get a bottle and bring it in the store with you and say “NOW WHAT?!” as you put it in your drink. I’d laugh.

  78. Michael says:

    While I agree with most of the comments here that this was excessive, pathetic, shocking, and more than a little sad, I must also say that this devotion to Starbucks is one of the funniest things I’ve read in ages.

  79. Michael says:

    @Ponygirl: A very good point often overlooked; but the non-sequitur is so much more rewarding, because it allows the writer an opportunity for solipsism (and you know how everyone loves talking about themselves).

  80. Asherah says:

    Admittedly I didn’t read the whole thing, but let me just say that I know how it feels to have a company to cut a favorite component of a favorite drink or menu. I was quite irritated when they got rid the Valencia (orange) syrup…brought it back for a few months to tease people and then permanently axed it from the lineup. There was nothing like a Black Tea Lemonade with Valencia on a hot summer day.

    Fucking Starbucks.

  81. Havok154 says:

    And stuck-up preppies across america weep…well, they actually hire someone else to weep. You know, tears could ruin their brand new custom-made, Italian apparel.

  82. bigvicproton says:

    a guy i know just came back from the war with no left foot. you are complaining about syrup.

  83. pdxguy says:

    Having lived in Seattle in the last decade (altho no longer), I can understand as I’ve observed it first-hand, the seemingly bizarre mania that folks there have for their coffee and all that goes with it. I can remember spending too much time in line waiting to just get a tall mocha behind those that have byzantine, near cryptic orders of half-caf decaf low-caf no-foam peppermint with a raspberry twist 185 degree mocha with room orders. I quite believe some of them must lose sleep at night trying to come up with even more convoluted orders.

  84. Her Grace says:

    You know what? You guys are jerks.

    I hate Starbucks as much as the next self-righteous, home-roasting lesbian. But it’s not cool to pick on the guy because he likes it or because he’s gay. I didn’t realize so many consumerist commenters were such assholes.

  85. cindel says:

    Yes, it’s coffee but it’s STARBUCKS.

    Fuck that shit, I used to work at my local BN cafe and people were so freaky picky. It gotten to a point where I would just served whatever the hell they wanted and if Andy and his partner ask for the Raspberry Syrup, we would just give it to them because it’s all about the profits.

  86. dwarf74 says:

    You know, I’m glad he got his coupon and all, but this is the kind of letter the customer relations team probably passes around for a good laugh once they craft their reply. “Hey, guys – check this out! This one goes back to 1997 and talks about trips to foreign countries!”

  87. Tfleming says:

    Wow… I agree with the vast majority of people here who can’t beleive the selfishness and gluttony expressed in this complaint. Visiting Starbucks several times a day…. lounging around while your partner is at work getting to know the baristas…

    How much money do you make that you can afford this self-centered lifestyle, and then complain that the new syrup might not be to your liking? No wonder you got your local store to give it up for you… they saw you coming.

    Oh, and have you considered giving up one fruity coffee a week and sharing your wealth with someone starving or facing oppression in another country? You do realize how arrogant and unreal your letter sounds, right?

  88. badteaparty says:

    I think the “buck up it’s only coffee”and “he’s being a whiny asshole” crowd are missing the point. It’s not for us to judge how he and his partner spend their time or money. He was commenting on a consumer experience, and he made his point that he is EXACTLY the type of customer Starbucks wants. If they are going to build their business on overpriced drinks that satisfy every conceivable consumer desire, and they have found customers willing to pay and be loyal based on that model, then they should be made aware when one of their policies is pissing off these very consumers. We may not care that much about rasberry syrup, but Andy did, and he took the time to write to them about it. Any senior executive of a customer-service based business will tell you that Andy did them a HUGE favor, and the customers you worry about are the ones who don’t make a stink but just never come back.

    As a side note, there were lots of offensive homophobic comments going on about these two, and if you guys think otherwise you may want to reexamine what you wrote and what you were thinking when you wrote it.

  89. tvh2k says:

    Ooh I so wish I could bury this story. It’s a freaking drink, Andy! And I thought I was gay ordering a “venti chai latte”. Sheesh.

  90. OBoogie says:

    Homophobic much, you guys? Geez. This doesn’t have anything in the world to do with the sexual orientation of Andy and his partner. I’ve seen straight men order more complicated drinks than this at Starbucks. Enough with the rude comments.

    Was he somewhat loquacious in his e-mail? Yes, maybe. But he likes what he likes, and it seems silly that they refused to use the new raspberry flavoring for his drink when they’ve discontinued the old one.

  91. Hoofhearted says:

    I want my 5 minutes back…damn, I read the whole thing! I will say this much, at least the guy can write. Amazing how such an otherwise boring story can be written well enough to hold your attention.

    Advice: Caribou Coffee – they crush Starbucks, like grape!

  92. amyjay says:

    From my Starbucks experience as a “partner” a few years back, the Rasberry (and Almond) syrups were the only two that would get tossed by their one month pull date. Most others get used within a week or so. Vanilla and Caramel get replaced daily, even three or four times a day.

    For someone so loyal to Starbucks, they should know that drinks and syrups change. I used to get people who were still upset about us getting rid of coconut years ago (I believe it is back now). It’s not a communication issue, we are not supposed to sell drinks before they roll out, even if it is a replacement. They’ll even have the supplies to make the drinks out for partner tasting, but we can’t sell them. It happened to me when a lady wanted a pumpkin spice latte just before we started selling them. The syrup was on the counter, but my shift supervisor told me no. I was just a kid in college and didn’t want to get written up so I said that I couldn’t sell it to her. What she did get was a free drink coupon to get a free pumpkin spice latte when they did come out in two weeks.

    So all that effort, and this guy is probably going to get a $5 gift card (the free drink coupon covers any crazy expensive drink you can think of making) and someone telling a store to do something they’re told not to do.

  93. Recury says:

    “No more Raspberry Syrup? Whatever shall we do?”

    [pounding fist on table]“I don’t know. I. JUST. DON’T. KNOW.”

    “I’m concerned that the new Raspberry will be more acidic and a bit more tart than the old syrup.”

    “Hold me.”

  94. Bye says:

    I knew people were going to act like little pompous jerks in response to this. Some people need to spend a little more of their summer vacation outside.

    Bottom line: the company considered his claim valid and did right by him. He wins.

    Those of you who feel justified in mocking somebody who is very specific about the treats he or she likes are just lame. So what if you like your Folger’s crystals or International Foods (“Jean-Luc!”), your Peets, your Tully’s, or whatever other kind of coffee – myself, I prefer only a dark italian or french roast drip coffee or an Americano. But I fully recognize that taste is subjective, and if it makes you feel better to make fun of somebody’s coffee habits, you deserve an OLD SKOOL GOLD STAR stapled to your forehead.

  95. 3ZKL says:

    “We would also like to see a more fruity flavor available. . .”

    wow.


    10 years of starbuxxx, drinking an average of 2 drinks per day @ 4$+ / drink = an absurd amount of money

    straight or gay, WHAT A WASTE!

  96. Canadian Impostor says:

    @ahwannabe: I’m offended. As a straight male I’ve been trying to curb my use of “nyuck”, yet your comment single handedly undoes all the hard work I’ve put into bettering myself.

    Now I need an iced soy venti mocha latte cappuccino venti raspberry coffee drink.

  97. The Walking Eye says:

    To everyone using the “get a life” comments. Pot, kettle, black. You can’t post anything on the internet and have a life, don’t you know. This guy spent less than an hour typing it up. If he hadn’t said so, I would have assumed he just did it at work like most people here. I hope sitting at your computers accusing others of having no life makes you feel good about yourselves.

  98. Dave M says:

    I didn’t find the subject of the article boring or offensive. This is exactly the type of thing that a company like starbucks promises!

    It’s nice to see a company actually address a complaint rather than justifying their employees’ rudeness, or just ignoring it all together.

    I was a bit taken aback by the editorial comment on G.W. Bush. Like him or Loathe him… It just seemed really out of place…

  99. DeeJayQueue says:

    @badteaparty: Well Said.

    The guy was pretty verbose, but he also apologized for it right up front and he said he was “painting a picture” which was important to establish what kind of customers they were, and how loyal they were to the brand and the company.

    To all the people who are all “wah wah wah *$ is crap i wouldn’t flush my toilet with that shit…” You might think it’s garbage but Andy and his partner obviously don’t. I’m sure you eat or drink some stuff that other people would say the same thing about, so ease up on the judgements.

    In my retail career often times we’d get products that were time-sensitive and were supposed to be held in the back to conincide with a marketing campaign or some holiday or something like that and we had to tell people that we didn’t have it or couldn’t sell it or whatever. Rarely though were these products typical things we carried anyway but had to pull off the shelf or not restock until the promo date. I believe this is the case here. The syrup was changing a little bit but it was replacing the old stuff. It was tied in with a marketing campaign and they weren’t supposed to sell it yet, but overall outside of that campaign it was supposed to just replace what they already sold. The managers and barrrrristas were “just doing their jobs” by not selling it, but ultimately if you’ve got it, why turn down the money?

    Oh, and it’s not because he’s gay. It’s because he’s more affluent than you, has travelled more than you, is happier than you overall, has more time than you, AND he’s gay. That’s why everyone’s all panty-twisted and ZOMG teh Ghey! over it. Jealousy. I wish I had my life together enough that the only thing I had to worry about was the flavor of my latte. Sadly, I don’t, so his letter seems a bit “I’ve got more than you but don’t even realize it” and that stings.

    I’m happy for Andy and his partner though because he got his latte, got through to someone higher up at *$ and ultimately got bloody satisfaction.

  100. Youthier says:

    Look, all I want to know is if the neighbor had anything to do with the story. Did she tip you off to the release schedule of the syrup? What was her significance to the letter?

    You can spend your money on whatever you want or demand whatever syrup, I don’t care. Just don’t drop a storyline.

  101. backspinner says:

    @Keeko_ca

    That meant to refer to comment 3, but I pressed 2 by mistake. I was referring to iMike who said “teh gays” are picky. Apologies for the typo.

  102. hrvc55 says:

    Stories like this make me glad I don’t barrista anymore.
    BUT, there was one time when a customer insisted on a decaf, soy mocha made with carob. She was such a pain about it that I slipped her a regular mocha with extra choclate and 2% milk. She came back the next day to compliment me on the best mocha she had ever had and wondered why the decaf, soy mochas made with carob she usually ordered didn’t taste as good.
    I told her it was all in the technique.

  103. BII says:

    OK, so I worked for Starbucks for five years, and let me provide a little insight:

    1. We are generally under VERY strict orders not to start using ingredients for customer beverages, or even talk about. And here’s a perfect example of why.

    Basically, the clerks (I refuse to call anyone at starbucks a barista anymore) at your “home store” were being nice and considerate, since they knew your “partner” (I was getting confused, since starbucks calls their employees partners).

    The clerks at another Starbucks would have no idea of your raspberry “situation” and would not be inclined to disobey their superiors, considering how Starbucks, at least when I was there, loved to write up people on every little thing. Depending on the district, employees there live in fear of management, and won’t generally go out of their way for a customer they don’t know.

    I had a similar situation once with a promotional item, a customer ordered it, but I didn’t make a big deal of it, I just went ahead and made, and kept the whole thing under wraps, but explained to the customer that generally we weren’t allowed to do this, and if another store says no, here’s why, and explained why.

    This comes to mind:

    “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

  104. Schminteresting says:

    @tcp100:

    rofl. Dude. Awesome.

  105. Trai_Dep says:

    You know, before reading this, I had a lot of sympathy for Cambodians that were starved near to death before being executed by some thirteen-year-old Pol Pot fanatic tying a plastic bag around their head then laughing maniacally as the victim slowly asphyxiated, twitching and retching bile into the bag stretched across their face until they finally died.

    But no more. Those guys had it easy!

  106. The Walking Eye says:

    @hrvc55: I think you’re putting actions into the situation that didn’t occur (saying this story makes you glad you don’t barrista anymore). There was nothing in there of the guy raising a fuss, or being rude in any way. He asked one store why he could get it at another store, and was treated rudely by the management. When he asked if he could get the flavor at other stores, he merely left when the answer was no. I don’t see where he was being a rude customer.

  107. ExecutorElassus says:

    @The Nature Boy: doesn’t drinking an “Iced Venti Raspberry Soy Mocha” increase your risk of incinerating yourself and your friends after a wacky gasoline spray-fight gone horribly wrong?

  108. ExecutorElassus says:

    and to all the knee-jerkers out there: the beef isn’t that he and his partner are gay. it’s that they’re frivolous to the point of being caricatures. one of my gay friends feels guilty if he’s coveting a jetta with extra chrome; these two are the epitome of gayness-as-sideshow.

  109. Brad2723 says:

    Yuppies whining about their coffee… I feel dumber for having read the whole thing.

  110. mermaidshoes says:

    [baristabrat.blogspot.com] has made some good points about why certain starbucks locations shouldn’t give customers special treatment (like making drinks that aren’t on the menu, or using fancy new syrups before they’re supposed to be used), because then customers will expect to get that treatment at other locations as well. if *nobody* was supposed to use the syrup, it’s not that one starbucks’ fault that the other starbucks used it. if you want something you’re not supposed to get, don’t expect to get it everywhere. instead, be grateful that one place made an exception for you. it’s entirely possible that a store manager could get disciplined by his/her supervisor for rolling out a product before its “official” release, so i understand why the one starbucks wouldn’t use the syrup.

    anyway, this all reminds me of doug stanhope’s bit on the subway breakfast sandwiches. but at least doug presented his dilemma in a hilarious, rather than whiny and annoying, way.

  111. Yozzie says:

    @Recury: That gave me the biggest laugh I’ve had all day.

    As far as the homphobia debate goes, I think people are more making fun of Andy and his partner’s picture-perfect Gay-Lifestyle-in-a-Box, which caricatures itself so efficiently that it needs no further lampooning. And good for Andy and his partner, and I’m very happy he got what he wanted from this whole exchange, and that in Starbucks, they have found that perfect life partner.

    However, I would hope that Andy is equally as passionate about writing his elected representatives about ending institutionalised discrimination against us gays and lesbians, or the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, or doing something serious about climate change or Darfur or oil dependency or any of the other myriad problems that it would actually be worth giving a fuck about. As opposed to his partner being denied his fruity latte concoction of choice by a corporate coffee megalith.

    And FWIW, I think the Caramel Sauce Latte sounds like almost as big a mouth-abortion as that Orange Mocha crap they’re peddling now.

  112. kellyd says:

    Oh My Gawd. I’m with y’all–he crazy.

    I’m gay, not self-hating or homophobic in the least. I read this and thought, “That’s the kinda whiny elitist sissy who gives us all a bad name.” Geez.

    Dude’s crazy. Letter’s absurd. If the store’s out of something, rather than asking them to change their whole policy for you, show a little luv back to your own blessed and holy provider of froofy drinks and chill the heck out.

    Crazy. You’re a loser and you’ve shared it with the world. We’re not all like he is, straight folks. And plusly Tully’s is better ’cause they have mocha milkshakes.

  113. Buckler says:

    Wow…just…wow. There’s brand loyalty, and then there’s just creepy.

  114. superlayne says:

    I’m so glad I got to read ALL of that. I’m also really glad I got to read a whole lot of insults towards homosexuals.


    It’s just syrup. No big deal. Why did I waste 7 minutes reading all of this…

    They seem like a cute couple, anyway.

  115. LAGirl says:

    i’d say it’s time for Andy to:

    A) get an editor
    B) buy a coffee maker
    C) tell his ‘partner’ to get checked for diabetes
    D) get a life

  116. synergy says:

    Honestly I don’t understand the obsession with Starbucks. Also, would it have killed them to drink something local when they’re a hemisphere away? I just don’t get it.

  117. synergy says:

    Hmm. I hadn’t even realized the genders of the people involved. I thought the use of partner was odd, but I was paying more attention to the complaint about a relatively insignificant thing to notice whether or not the complainer was gay or not.

  118. fauxfatale says:

    Most of the people commenting on this thread don’t know anything about Seattle or the coffee culture. I lived in Seattle for 8 years, and people take their coffee very seriously there (usually these people do not shop at Starbucks, but that’s another issue). In Seattle, this would not be out of place behavior. I also think Andy’s letter was very polite, and the reason he wrote all the backstory was to show the level of engagement he has with the brand! Obviously, a loyal customer is worth more to Starbucks than a casual customer. Customers like Andy and his partner are probably responsible for a large percentage of Starbucks’ profits. (And not working and hanging around in coffee shops all day is also very Seattle. It’s not that expensive to live there.)

    Also, STFU with the homophobic crap, you jerks. I know plenty of straight men and women who order frou frou drinks. Finally, move to NYC where all the coffee sucks and there are like 10 independent coffee shops and you’ll start seeing Starbucks as the wonderous invention that it is.

  119. MandM813 says:

    People are so mean. If you couldn’t tell from the title that the post was about raspberry syrup and nothing else, all you have is your own stupidity to blame. That is what this site is for, I thought, for customers to speak out when they feel they have not received good service?

    IMO, it isn’t JUST about the coffee, it is the principle. It is the same thing we see all the time, employees who don’t use common sense and could care less about the customer. I mean, come on, did they REALLY think they would get fired over giving this guy syrup in his coffee before the “release date”?

    By the way, wtf does sexual orientation have to do with any of this, people? What a bunch of a**holes!

  120. Tylas says:

    Ok look.

    Yes we all agree that he may be a bit overboard on this (maybe borderline crazy), but let’s do the math and see how much he loves this institution:

    An Iced Venti Soy Raspberry Mocha:
    Approx. $4.50 (won’t get into large stuff)

    Times a day:
    At least 2 (for bare minimum, sounds like a lot more)

    Times a week:
    7 days a week (2 blocks away from said store, plus have map layout of stores, plus in Seattle)

    Weeks a year:
    52 weeks of delicious unmasculine said drinks

    Years being a customer:
    10 Years (1997 to Present)

    So putting all of this math together we get (Approximate):
    $9.00 a day
    $63.00 a week
    $3,276.00 a year!
    $6,552.00 a year for his partner and himself!!!

    Now a lifelong total surpassing $30,000 per person not adjusting to inflation of products!!!!!

    Now including the fact that each one of them are consuming over 700 caffinated drinks a year averaging around 350 Calories they are also gaining 245,000 Calories from Starbucks a year.

    I am a firm believer in doing whatever you want with yourself and your money, so if you spend this much time and energy (especially in the gym) to just get a damned cup of coffee then you should have it with any syrup you want period. It’s about customer service not customer disservice.

    That being said, maybe they should reevaluate their priorities in life.

    - T

  121. Ben Popken says:

    The amount of gay-bashing in these comments really disappoints me. People who make hate-mongering comments may find their commenting privileges revoked.

  122. JustIcedCoffee says:

    This is typical Microsoft employee and family. This is how they roll.

  123. Rahnee says:

    the math:

    Bux drink $5
    2 drinks a day, Andy and partner.
    4 drinks at $5 each = $20 a day
    Started in 1997, going on for 10 years
    365 days X 10 years is 3650 days
    3650 days at $20 a day is $73,000

    If you throw in the extra pair of drinks on weekends thats 840 possible days of the 3rd drink for both of them.
    840 possible weekend days for an extra $5 for each of them is $8,400.

    $73,000 + $8,400 = $81,400 for 10 yrs of coffee.

    Something is really wrong with this !!!

  124. Rahnee says:

    I C someone already did the math before me. I should have pressed “read MORE comments”.

  125. MMD says:

    I think those who claim this story wasted 15 minutes of their life and then took the extra time to comment are even more amusing than the original story! Regardless of the product involved or the letter-writing tactics used, the larger point here is that an arbitrary policy was causing customer dissatisfaction. A customer spoke up. The policy was changed. In that regard, how is this different from any other success story posted here?

  126. MMD says:

    @hrvc55:

    You’re pretty lucky that the customer you’re referring to wasn’t lactose intolerant when you falsified her drink. I am also glad you don’t barista anymore.

  127. The Walking Eye says:

    @MMD: Or worse yet, lactose allergic. I’ve got a friend who’s allergic to dairy, and getting a glass of milk like that would have done some serious damage.

  128. d-to-the-j says:

    Okay, so first let me say that I didn’t have time to read all of the comments above, but I did read the post, and as a former starbucks employee, 1) I can completely understand HOW something like this could have happened, and 2) I am saddened by a once great brand losing its effect on people’s lives.

    This story is not about someone not getting the drink they love everyday at every store, nor about them being picky, but about how they are treated as a fellow human being. One thing I learned at Starbucks was standing up for what you believe is the right thing to do for the customer, whether it breaks the so-called rules or not. You will not get fired, but as long as you can explain your actions to your superiors, you will only gain more of their respect.

    Starbucks is beginning to lose this level of character, and maybe has lost it for a long time. I gained it over a period of seven years, but as Starbucks continues to grow, how hard is it going to be to keep this culture alive?

    The managers of Andy’s and his partner’s regular stores should have been able to stand up to their DM and explain the situation. There is no way that any self-respecting DM would say no to retaining customers. To making a customers day, every day.

    And, just one more thing. Definitely not to undervalue syrup itself, or any product at Starbucks, but this is completely different from selling something at Best Buy, or even the Apple Store (a better comparison, since Apple is company owned). An added syrup is 35 cents, not $500+, and not something someone is going to buy early, and then sell on the black market before the launch date at a highly inflated price. It is syrup, and it is continuing to enrich your relationship with that customer. Really, that is what it always has to come back to.

    Starbucks exists to enrich people’s daily lives. Not to sell coffee, not to create a music label, but by doing these things, connect with people. That is something Wall Street doesn’t understand. It is something corporate America doesn’t understand. And it is something you and I find it hard to understand, as we live within this corporately minded society. And as Starbucks continues to hire more and more people, it will be their challenge to change the mindsets and the culture of those individuals.

  129. zaky says:

    And I thought I was a high-maintenance gay. This is through the roof. A whole. Notha. Level.

  130. Tyr_Anasazi says:

    Doesn’t matter if Andy and his partner are gay or straight, high-maintenance or not. They had an issue with a corporation and resolved it rather civilly without resorting to boorishness or unethical/illegal solutions, which is far as I can see is the raison d’etre of the Consumerist…it just sad to see how many people can get over being assholes just because it’s the Internet…

  131. mrskatielove says:

    Guys, seriously. Don’t y’all know that if you are a regular at Starbucks and get to know them well enough, you get your drinks for free? I used to go, literally, 8 times a day. I never paid once. There is no way they pay for all those drinks.

  132. snugglebutt34 says:

    For all the people that are saying the baristas at their local Starbuck’s were just giving them what they wanted to get them out, I can tell you that that is highly unlikely. My ex-husband and I went to the same Starbuck’s for 5 years. 2 of those years were prior to our wedding and, in fact, 3 baristas actually attended our wedding. If we went into “our” Starbuck’s and they were out of something that we wanted (it happened occasionally) or we tried something new and didn’t like it they were always willing to replace/exchange/substitute/issue some sort of Starbuck’s credit (be it gift card or coupon) to make up for our trouble. Starbuck’s strives to make customer happiness a priority and in most cases they do. When the Java Chip Frappuccino went by the wayside I don’t think I paid for a drink for a week. When my whole bridal party stopped by on my wedding day they comped all of our drinks. There were 12 of us.

    On a related note, it’s pretty astonishing to see that people are still capable of such blatant idiocy. Not the writer, I mean the people that say things like “The gays are picky”. Are you really that ignorant, uneducated and afraid of someone who is clearly more well-spoken than you? I’m straight and I still love my Grande White Mocha Frappuccino. Oh, and all the digs at how he/they are spending money are absurd. What do you care how they spend money? Maybe instead of spending it at Starbuck’s they should just hand over all that unspent money to the people that complain how silly it is to expect to get the same level of service they’ve come to love and expect over the years at all of the Starbuck’s locations.

    And that’s my rant. For anyone that takes issue with this, it took me a total of probably 15 minutes of computer time to type it up. I do have a life, I’m straight, I stopped periodically to handle phone calls and various other things. Someohow I still deemed it important to comment on this. It’s amazing how upset people get because this man went to bat for something. Bashing him and his sexual orientation and the way he lives his life does not make you better than him. At least he voiced his opinion in a reasonable, calm, adult manner. And now I’m done.