Starbucks Baristas Don't Like The New "Skinny" Drinks

A few days ago Starbucks started their new “skinny” drink program. Ordering a drink “skinny” means you’d like sugar-free syrup, non-fat milk, and no whip cream. We didn’t write about it because, um, you can already order that if you want , and we figured you didn’t really care that a basic drink order had a new marketing nickname.

At least one Starbucks barista cares, however, and he/she has written a serious manifesto against the new “skinny” label and is flatly refusing to use it in his/her store. He/She has many reasons, most of which are complaints that the label is confusing and meaningless (what if a customer wants 2% and no whip cream? What then, Starbucks?) and will make the barista’s job harder. On top of that, He/She is offended by the idea of yelling “skinny” all day long.

Here’s part 5:

5) Aside from customers who do not fit societies standards of “skinny,” there are partners that are employed by Starbucks who are “overweight,” and it is ridiculous to think otherwise. Imagine going to work for several hours at a time, and hearing the term “skinny” being called out countless times. It will undoubtedly have a negative affect on a person’s self-esteem that may already be low from living in a society that is generally not accepting of people who do not fit the mold of a “beautiful” person. It creates an environment that people will not want to be in. It will exacerbate self-image issues that partners of ANY size may have. Why would ANYONE want to go into a store where they will hear potentially hurtful terms called out repeatedly with no regard as to how they may affect people?

Do you customers like the new “skinny” label?

A barista tells Starbucks corporate that she refuses to use the “Skinny” lingo [Starbucks Gossip]


Edit Your Comment

  1. I haven’t followed the link yet, but as for point number 5 I don’t think that “skinny” can be considered a hurtful term.

  2. bradanomics says:

    Don’t like it? Get a new job.

  3. Ghede says:

    Eh, they will probably change the name ala Large = Vente.

  4. OK, the only complaint about this I can agree with is the comment that says “Skinny” was already in use and meant use skim milk.

    But lawsuits? Really? Really?

  5. shrtcrt says:

    Are you kidding me?! So by calling a drink skinny, that will offend any one who is not skinny. Give me a break. I find it funny that this person has a problem with this term, but it is ok to have the fancy terms for the sizes. I guess calling out you need a tall mocha will offend the short people too. Oh and wait until you need tall skinny mocha, I see the devastation now! Therapists will be so busy that they will open up a couch in the Starbucks. Whats next, changing the color of your shirt because it might offend someone? Really, we need to stop this.

  6. Tonguetied says:

    Spare me! Ok I can understand the problems if a customer wants a ‘skinny’ but really doesn’t want a skinny because “Wait a minute I want to make a few additions/changes” but this concern over a workers esteem over hearing the word skinny is just silly.

    Heck who are the folks most likely to order one? Answer; usually, folks who are on a diet and aren’t all that skinny themselves.

  7. Shadowman615 says:

    Hmmmm, sounds like this person might be a little obsessed with her own weight or body image. The term is referring to a drink, not a person. Is she really saying that the word ‘Skinny’ is not appropriate in any context because it makes her think about what she looks like?

  8. IrisMR says:

    Is she gonna complain about “WARNING: HOT” written on coffee cups because not everyone is hot?

    Come on. It’s just a marketing ploy, get over it. I hate it when people are so insecure.

  9. emilymarion333 says:

    Maybe it will be a “hint” that you should get into shape and yelling “skinny” all day might be a great motivator!

  10. youbastid says:

    Hmm. Maybe if ordering a drink “Fatass” meant heavy cream, whipped cream, and sugary syrup, there would be reason to be offended. But skinny? Eh.

  11. mupethifi says:

    suck it up who ever you are

  12. Erskine says:

    So, what’s in a Rubinesque?

  13. MrSuper says:

    Yeah and I guess if you’re self-conscious about your straight hair, you should lobby Arby’s to stop selling CURLY fries.

    What about Pizza Hut and their THIN-crust pizza?

  14. MercuryPDX says:

    I wouldn’t ever use it. They have a hard enough time with “Vente Ice Coffee, no classic (syrup), light room”.

    More often than not, I get syrup. I can understand WHY they put it in (granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve as quickly in iced drinks), but why make it the default?

  15. Michael Belisle says:

    Skinny as much the opposite of a food term like “loaded” as Grande is smaller than Venti but larger than Tall. They could have just used “light” but that wouldn’t be trendy and pretentious like “skinny”. And what if you just want to order a drink without passing along some cheer? What then?

  16. ptkdude says:

    I’m going to start ordering my coffee “fat ass”: whole-fat whipped cream, whole-fat milk, 3 ounces of honey and Hershey bar melting in it.

  17. smitty1123 says:

    Medium vanilla latte, 3 shots.

  18. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    This doesn’t seem to be a problem at Fatburger. They offer fat fries and skinny fries. ;-)

  19. Michael Belisle says:

    Also, can we drop the plural “baristas” on the headline when the article is about “at least one barista”?

  20. DrGirlfriend says:

    The whole thing seemed very Chicken Little to me. From introducing the term “skinny” to a lawsuit?

    I’ve heard the term skinny used in coffee shops since about the mid nineties. I think people get that it’s part of the lingo. Also, I think that this speaks more to the barista him/herself than about anything else.

  21. @belisle: There were comments from two other baristas agreeing with the one who wrote the letter.

  22. ancientsociety says:

    God forbid we hurt the fatties’ feelings…..

  23. RogueSophist says:

    Perhaps he/she should be more concerned with his/her indeterminate gender?

    Also what’s this “partner” nonsense? Is that what Starbucks calls its employees (and what employees call themselves)? Because that’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever heard.

  24. Erskine says:

    Someone named Eric posted some of these replies to thier board. Too funny.

  25. B says:

    If I order my drink “fatass” do I get sugar, whipped cream and whole milk?

  26. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Honestly, I agree with her.

    Skinny isn’t exactly the worse word that you could use for it, but I don’t see a problem with doing away with ridiculous and potentially hurtful terms when you could simply use ‘light’. Starbucks orders are so complex as it is that even injecting a series of “none of this” “double that” aren’t difficult.

    I see ‘skinny’ as a taunt, as a jibe. Its not a word as much as its an insult, you don’t use the word ‘skinny’ to describe someone unless you’re commenting negatively about their body shape or weight. You’d use ‘thin’ to describe someone who is trim and well fit, you use ‘skinny’ to talk about someone who is frail, weak, or undernourished. And I think it has no place at the counter because it does (even if I don’t agree that it ‘should’) have the potential to upset either your own staff or your customer.

    Use ‘light’, it gets used for everything and is already in use at Starbucks, if it needs to be amended, then feel free to do so at the top of your lungs like they do at the Starbucks down the street.

    That said, I’ll be an extra block down, sipping on something from JJ-Beans, where they actually brew a good espresso and their barista doesn’t say “What’s that?” when I ask if she can pour a rosetta into the top of the foam for my girlfriend.

  27. Alexander says:

    @belisle: Better yet, let’s just drop the whole “barista” thing. Server? Cashier? Button pushing monkey?

  28. fluiddruid says:

    Jesus. What an overreaction. Personally I welcome this, since saying “skim milk, no whip, with sugar free syrup” is a lot longer than saying “skinny”. And, for the record, I’m definitely fat and apparently not a member of the Offenderati.

  29. CaptainSemantics says:

    Wait, so if you order a drink with skim milk, they now yell “skinny?” (I haven’t been to Starbucks in quite some time, please forgive my slowness.)

    If that’s the case, I can understand why the barista isn’t happy. Why change things when saying “skim milk” is perfectly acceptable and makes more sense?

    Or am I just smoking crack on this one? They really don’t yell the word “skinny,” do they? I’m making this up in my head, right?

  30. Michael Belisle says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Right you are. I don’t normally make it to the comments in linked posts. That’s asking a lot.

  31. Erskine says:


    For god’s sake – it’s just coffee. Calm down.

  32. HRHKingFriday says:

    Ugh, just another overly PC thing. Smoothie King also has the option to order your item “Skinny”. In fact, I think its a nice step rather than having to say “Suger free non-fat no whip”. Way less the specify, especially if you send your significant other or coworker out to pick up drinks.

  33. canerican says:

    Just change the names to a lovable pop culture icon:

    Skinny = Nicole Richie
    Medium (or whatever they call it) = Oprah
    Grande = Hulk Hogan
    Family sized = Michael Moore

    See no hurt feelings.

  34. MMD says:

    @LatherRinseRepeat: Yeah, but those terms mean specific things and there are only 2 ways to get fries.

    The “body image” concerns are overreactions, but this is still a stupid move by Starbucks. There are so many possible permutations in drink order that adding yet another label (which is unnecessary because you can already order drinks this way) just makes the whole process murkier for everyone involved.

  35. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    In that case, anytime I hear the words big, large, supersize, fat, or the like, I am going to sue, because these terms remind me that I am, well, FAT, and it hurts my self-image!

    On another note, can we get Denny Crane in here to fire this barista?

  36. KIRZEN2007 says:


    Its $4.50 for $.45 worth of ingredients.

    Serious business! *grin*

  37. ClayS says:

    Since Starbucks likes to use Italian terminology, like grande and venti, perhaps instead of “skinny”, they could call it “magro”?

  38. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @fluiddruid: HERE HERE, fellow fatty! Horay!

  39. evslin says:

    If you are that sensitive about your weight/self image that saying “skinny” in reference to a drink order is enough to upset you, then maybe you ought to hit the gym.

  40. rachaeljean says:

    The barista is over-reacting. I agree with @fluiddruid, it’s way easier for those of us who don’t want to drink our daily calorie intake to just say “skinny.”

  41. Erskine says:


    Who you callin’ a “Magro”?

  42. Michael Belisle says:

    @ClayS: No, magro means skinny. That would make too much sense, unlike tall, grande, and venti. Maybe libertà would work. I’ve always wanted to order a freedom latte.

  43. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @youbastid: I think they should be required to shout “fatass” whenever they make anything with lots of sugar and super heavy cream.

    I’d totally order my macchiato “fatass” if I could. Just to stick it to the man.

  44. sir_eccles says:

    Does this mean I’ll offend someone next time I order my “Black Coffee”?

  45. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Only if you feel the word ‘Black’ is an insult?

  46. ClayS says:

    What is the non-offensive term for “Black Coffee”?

  47. LadyNo says:

    I ordered a nonfat, no whip mocha on Monday, and I got a cup of steaming robo-crap. I looked at the label on the cup and saw that it said skinny, looked it up online and found out about the new term. Which is not what I ordered, I happen to hate artificial sweeteners with a fiery passion. So I took it back to the Starbucks and told them what I ordered and that I accidentally got a skinny. The barista said, “That’s what skinny means.” I explained that I didn’t order sugar free. So even the baristas don’t know what the hell the term means, so I think they’re asking for trouble trying to lump it all together. I got a new drink and a couple recovery cards out of it. And seriously, the drink tasted like awful.

    And as somebody who is overweight, while I don’t take offense to calling a drink skinny, I can understand how it wouldn’t feel GREAT having it referred to constantly during your eight hour shift, people who are highly unhappy with their weight are extremely sensitive about anything remotely related to it. And when companies spend millions to research the exact right lighting and color palettes to use to get customers to spend more and employees be more productive, you’d think they’d take the subconscious effect of the word into account.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Skinny is not an insult. In what world is that true? I get called skinny all the time. I’m not offended.

    I’m offended by overweight people who try to blame everyone but themselves.

    Offended by skinny? please…

  49. clevershark says:

    As a frequent purchaser of a venti dark roast coffee I’ve apparently been ordering skinny for years!

  50. mir777 says:

    I’m a fattie. I don’t blame commentors, Starbucks or anyone else. Some of my best friends are skinnies who don’t like being called skinny. Just an FYI.

    However, in this case, it’s just silly overpriced coffee drinks. Lighten up, folks. Have some nice tea and a giant muffin.

  51. sir_eccles says:

    @KIRZEN2007: I don’t see “Black Coffee” is an insult, then again I never thought “Blackboard” was either but now they are called “Chalkboards”.

  52. KIRZEN2007 says:


    All I’m saying is that people typically don’t use the word ‘skinny’ when they’re talking positively about something. I can’t vouch for where you live and the general way people use language there, but where I grew up and where I live (which are significantly different in terms of language and manners) skinny is a word you’d use to refer to an animal or person that is ‘too’ thin and looks unhealthy as a result.

    I’m happy you’re not offended by the term, but I know people who -would- be offended by the term, and my point is that since there’s no practical reason for the change of phrase other than cutting a couple words out of an order at the expense of possible confusion, then why use a term that will be seen as an insult to anyone, even the overly PC folks.

    (For the record I’m not terribly PC myself, I just like playing devils advocate…)

  53. PinkBox says:

    Psh, this is stupid.

    I get told I’m too skinny, so you’d think I’D be the type more offended by hearing it all day.

    Or maybe I should complain to Hardee’s about their thickburgers.


  54. KIRZEN2007 says:


    Agreed, the terms ‘blackboard’ and ‘chalkboard’ are both used where I grew up and I don’t think there’s ever been much of an issue.

    Its all a matter of perception, no one’s going to come after you for ordering your coffee ‘black’ because people use the word black for a variety of things. If you asked for your coffee ‘nigger’ I should hope it would be another story entirely. Both words ‘mean’ the same thing, (in fact, if you orderred it ‘niger’ in Paris, no one would bat an eye, but the whole order’d be in french anyhow, moot point). Skinny, unfortunately, doesn’t get used to anything other that thin, in a negative manner.

  55. DrGirlfriend says:

    Trying to figure out what may be offensive to someone, somewhere, is exhausting. I can’t wait for the day when we all use reason and common sense before deciding whether or not to be offended. Now THAT’S a good topic for a science fiction novel.

  56. Erskine says:

    How long have you been a barista? ;-)


    Read the rest of the letter. Here’s at least one additional paragraph that better explains her point:

    I have no doubt that there is no malicious intent with “Skinny” platform. I’m sure that it is intended to make our jobs easier, and maybe show the public that Starbucks has options that can eliminate many of the calories and fat in the drinks we serve. But the problems I have brought up cannot be ignored. They are real, and they will affect every single Starbucks that implements this system. As a company that is a part of the service industry, you are alienating customers and employees, and there will be repercussions.

    Additional problems she mentioned included customers having to learn a new way to order, customers wanting only part of the “skinny” recipe (as mentioned in comments), and baristas having to make the drink as it as called, and not necessarily as it is desired, and ultimately, throwing a lot of coffee orders away and pissing off a lot of customers.

    The “skinny” argument as posted above makes it sound like it’s her strongest point, when it’s actually her weakest. I agree that a “skinny” coffee shouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings, but it could seriously disrupt some people’s mornings…

  58. KogeLiz says:

    Is this for real?
    Who the hell cares?

  59. DrGirlfriend says:

    @RGISMYFAVORITECANADIANMORMON: I agree that it is not the primary point, and definitely her weakest. It weakens the rest of the argument.

  60. KIRZEN2007 says:


    I’m one of those evil people who stands behind you in line and explains the difference between the various roasts and the different temperatures at which one should brew that various four different types of teas.

    That said, I used to spend an unhealthy amount of time leaning against the counter at my favorite cafe and talking with the baristas about their day. (Come on, when a cute barista that knows how to make a proper cuppa is offering you free cookies, you stay put!)

  61. Erskine says:

    “I’m one of those evil people who stands behind you in line and explains the difference between the various roasts and the different temperatures at which one should brew that various four different types of teas.”

    Oh! That was YOU! Liked your coat yesterday…

  62. mk says:

    Potbelly’s been using the term skinny for their sandwhiches meaning scooping some of the bread out of the middle. No one seems to be bothered by that. Or the fact that they’re eating at a place called Potbelly’s.

  63. bluesunburn says:

    But… If you use the word “light,” won’t it offend the baristas who are heavy? or dark?

    I’m a social worker, and even I’m finding the language police nonsense to be a bit much.

  64. csdiego says:

    I hate to agree with the haters, but this whole thing makes no sense because the word “skinny” was already in use, to describe a drink made with skim milk, right?

    I can’t imagine that many people ordering a drink with sugar-free syrup in it (bleargh!). But then, I haven’t been to Starbucks in years, so what do I know?

  65. algormortis says:

    i think perchance said person is a bit oversensitive (and i’m sure i’m fatter than 90% of starbucks baristas, as they’re always amazed i can get through little spaces and dance around stuff when doing installs at their stores) but i do think that using it as part of the drink call is kinda dumb.

    mostly because even with skim milk and splenda a venti mocha is still way more FATTY than skinny.

  66. bluesunburn says:


    They were called chalkboards where I went to school because they were green, not black. :-)

  67. Infoclast says:

    I’m not surprised some petty wage-slave would complain about a harmless marketing gimmick passed down from corporate. That’s all it is – a harmless marketing term.

  68. ibanix says:

    I’m way overweight and in no way do I find ‘skinny’ offensive.

    She’s probally a fucking California hippy.

    (I can say this. I’m from California.)

    SB should just fire her, if she refuses to do her job.

  69. UpsetPanda says:

    A few points…

    1) Sugar-free = ick factor. Haven’t we figured out by now that sugar-free only means artificial sweeteners and that getting those doesn’t mean you can then add 2% cream to your vente?

    2) Skinny vs. light vs. fat. If you’re offended by a Starbucks coffee maker saying ‘skinny’ to refer to a skim, no whip, sugar free concoction, you’re digging deeper than you need to be. “Light” has meant low-fat for years. Whether it really is low fat is another matter, but it’s been used for a long, long time. Starbucks is just applying a kitschy and novel name to an advertising ploy that has been commonplace.

    We all know we’re ordering large cups of fat when we’re asking for a vente caramel macchiato with extra whip. Even if we won’t admit it, we all know it’s just a large cup of calories. There’s no need to apply a term to that since no one wants to admit to it. But with the impression that every man, woman and child needs to be thin (not necessarily healthy, or fit) we’re actually proud to say we’re ordering a skinny.

    3) Has anyone gotten offended by the ability to order “short” at Starbucks? I mean, I’m wondering whether midgets (sorry, little people) are offended at the implication.

  70. wring says:

    fatties unite in whining.

  71. Melsky says:

    I solve this whole problem by just not going to starbucks.

  72. BillyMumphry says:


    If Oprah is considered medium we need a lot more people ordering skinny.

  73. STrRedWolf says:

    If they’re ordering “skinny” then I want a “fatty” or a FAT32 — 32 FL OZ of coffee, with mint, cream, sugar, whipped cream, and a Hersey’s bar graded on top of it. No, not a dinky Hershey bar, a KING SIZED bar. And if the whipped cream falls, replace it with more whipped cream. Serve it in a 64 Oz cup like 7-11 does for their sodas.

    For the die-hard programmers, offer the “OBESE” — equal amounts of coffee and expresso with a full pound of sugar and quart of cream, topped off with the whipped cream, graded king-sized Hershey bar, and a waiver releasing Starbucks from any liability if your heart suddenly explodes. YEAH BABY!

  74. MPHinPgh says:

    Holy Crap! This one generated some interest and comments, huh?

    I suppose “non-fat” or “low-fat” should be considered hurtful too? I mean, if we’re going to go there…

  75. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Any job involving disposable paper cups shouldn’t be taken that much to heart.

    It seems that many of the people who work at Starbucks take their entire “I serve overpriced coffee” job far, far too seriously.

  76. coren says:

    I don’t know, what’s so wrong with, say, ordering a drink how you want it specifically instead of coming up with asinine shortcuts? What about someone who wants 1 percent milk, what’s their word? Or Soy? or Peruvian Goat’s Milk?

    It just seems to be a needlessly complicated thing when it’s probably not what a majority of people are going to order anyway.

  77. aduzik says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Agreed. My first thought was, “thank God I don’t work at a coffee shop any more.” Now “skinny” means two different things.

  78. toddkravos says:

    here in cleveland, we use the term “non-fat”

    so… progressive, I know…

  79. Mary says:

    Yeah, they’re going to have to clarify every single drink order because “skinny” used to mean with skim milk. If it suddenly means something else, and most people don’t get the memo?

    Geeze. It’s like when people don’t know what “dry” and “wet” mean, it just confuses everyone.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Ok, it’s settled. I’m ordering a Skinny Black Dwarf next time I go to starbucks.

  81. Maurik says:

    @STrRedWolf: Don’t ask for a FAT32, you’ll just get a fresh formatted harddrive :P -_-

  82. Youthier says:

    @meiran: Yes! This is exactly what I was going to say. My husband and I frequent this Mexican restaurant where the menu clarifies in smaller print that a wet burrito has tomato and lettuce. When my husband says he wants his burrito dry and then the waitress says, “Do you want lettuce and tomato?” because so many customers don’t read the whole damn thing.

    So, not offensive, just more work.

  83. smitty1123 says:

    @ClayS: Coffee.

  84. fearuncertaintydoubt says:

    5) Aside from customers who do not fit societies standards of “smart,” there are partners that are employed by Starbucks who are “stupid,” and it is ridiculous to think otherwise. Imagine going to work for several hours at a time, and hearing the term “smart” being called out countless times. It will undoubtedly have a negative affect on a person’s self-esteem that may already be low from living in a society that is generally not accepting of people who do not fit the mold of an “intelligent” person. It creates an environment that people will not want to be in. It will exacerbate self-image issues that partners of ANY size may have. Why would ANYONE want to go into a store where they will hear potentially hurtful terms called out repeatedly with no regard as to how they may affect people?

  85. snoop-blog says:

    @STrRedWolf: i’m all for the ‘fatty’.

  86. Phantom_Photon says:

    Sounds like someone already HAS a self-esteem problem.

  87. ceriphim says:

    Well at least she approached them respectfully about it. I mean, it’s not like she wrote a whiny, overly wordy manifesto flat-out refusing to do her job.

    Ohhhhh, wait.

  88. figz says:

    Alternative nickname: no-no-non

  89. Craig says:

    @Ghede: Vente is Italian for twenty, which is how many ounces are in a large.

    “Skinny” definitely has negative connotations in that it implies you are too thin. “Slim” or “Slender” would have been better choices.

    What’s Italian for slim? Snello?

  90. I_can_still_pitch says:

    “Barista” is the word that I hate.

  91. Snowblind says:

    Call them what my wife calls them:

    “No fun latte”

  92. Craig says:

    I heard that a non-fat, sugar-free, decaf latte is officially called a “Why Bother?”

  93. cde says:

    @ptkdude: Giggle-snort :D

  94. cde says:

    And for the rest of you, calling out skinny all the time is the same as calling a straight black coffee, blackie…. Watch you get sued faster then you can get shot standing in the middle of NYC in a “I hate Niggers” sign, ala Die Hard.

  95. BII says:

    Its all a clever slight-of-hand on SBUX’s part, “see, we offer ‘skinny’ alternatives, not just jumbo-1K-calorie-caramel-drenched-sugar-bombalattes.”

    Last time I checked, a cup of coffee with a spalsh of cream and a packet of splenda had what, maybe 10 calories?

    Methinks customers are naive to think a 20oz cup full of milk, even non-fat, is the healthiest thing you can drink.

    oh, and starbucks coffee sucks anyways, no matter what they call it.

  96. morganlh85 says:

    A lot of people say “skinny” when all they mean is “skim.” When I worked at Starbucks a lot of customers used the term. Of course they will get mad at the EMPLOYEES when their drink shows up with sugar free syrup and no whip when all they wanted was skim milk.

  97. Jon Parker says:

    I have no opinion about the word skinny as applied to coffee. But I will say that Starbucks Gossip threads always crack me up. The job takes about the same skill set as working at Mickey D’s, but you don’t see your local burger joint employees taking themselves nearly as seriously.

    It’s a low wage crappy job. Get over yourselves.

  98. themediatrix says:


    Okay, but your nick is “Fluiddruid,” so we already know you just don’t care.


  99. themediatrix says:

    @ KIRZEN2007

    Well said. I think this is just Starbucks secretly trying to jump on the ol’ first of the year fitness bender everyone gets on in January.

    Further, I prefer coffee shops where folks aren’t yelling out things to begin with, but if they must yell something, I don’t want it to be something that makes me think I should be at the gym. Way to ruin the mood, Starbucks!

  100. SadSam says:

    When I’m in a Starbucks (once in a blue moon on biz travel) I generally order a medium coffee. Then the person behind the counter (what do they call ’em …. barista) says something like grande or tall? I say medium and hand over my money. I will not bow down to this crazy coffee lingo especially for the bitter crap they serve.

  101. pigeonpenelope says:

    well we say “i’d like my coffee black.” should we not say that so we don’t offend those of a darker skin color? I’m chubby and I worked at Starbucks and I really don’t think I’m going to be bothered or have my self esteem lowered because people are using the term “skinny.” i found it more of a pain in the butt to say non-fat, sugar free.. blah blah blah.

    point is, cry me a river. that barista sounds whiny and overly pc.

    partner is used for sbux employee because they get to own part of a company–they get stocks. and all who own part of a company is called “partner” therefore they use that term.

  102. thetanooki says:

    I work at Potbelly and as one commentor said, we have “skinny” sandwiches (middle of the bread cut out). We are supposed to call out when a sandwich is skinny, so we hear the term yelled out quite a few times a day.

    I’m overweight and haven’t even thought about the “negative effects” of hearing “Skinny” called out loud during work during the day. Seriously, get over it and stop finding things to complain about.

  103. RvLeshrac says:


    And I’m offended by the people of ANY weight who don’t understand the concepts of “Genetics,” “Evolution,” and “Science” in general!

    Just because someone is over or under BMI doesn’t mean they have any control over their weight. You can find plenty of “fat” people who eat like infants, and plenty of “skinny” people who can consume multiple large pizzas at a single sitting.

  104. Pancakes?? FRENCH TOAST!! says:

    wait…..I thought that the term for the decaf non-fat sugar-free was called a “pointless.” And now it’s called a “skinny decaf”? I wanna sue just for them taking the more viable, descriptive name away.

  105. PassionateConsumer says:

    Rarely do I read through all the comments in a stream this long, but wow. HILARIOUS. I”m wondering if Starbucks has a sensitivity training course all employees are required to take upon donning the green smock. Perhaps this course burns into young minds the path to hell that awaits all who dare cross any and every imagineable (and imaginary) sensitivity boundary.

    If only someone could make my quad grande Americano, extra room, right. EXTRA ROOM. Means a lot less water, not filled to the tippy top. And interestingly, this drink which consists of espresso and WATER … costs more if you order the same number of shots (4) that are in a Venti, but want them in a Grande cup. Quad Grande Americano costs more than a Venti Americano. Perhaps it’s to disuade consumers like myself from going off the reservation when ordering.

  106. overbysara says:

    yeah I don’t care for it. you can already order things “lite.”

  107. Femmeball says:

    The only thing I’m really offended by is Starbucks’ decision to switch to nonfat milk in all of its coffee drinks unless you specify whole (which I do). Whenever I hear someone order a skinny decaf whatever, I want to poke them in the back of the head. It’s like making a cake with margarine instead of butter. Why bother?

  108. PassionateConsumer says:


    Sing it. When I used to use cream, I used half and half. Creamy, delicious, and worth the extra few calories. And isn’t that calcium you’re adding to your bones??? Though sometimes, when it’s quiet, I can taste and smell the grass that the cows ate to make the milk. Bleccchh.

  109. Televiper says:

    Most people “stupid” people don’t know that they are stupid so they’ll be clueless to any such overtures.

  110. DanGarion says:

    It’s like complaining that McDonalds wanted to call their best burger the Big Mac, who really cares?

  111. That’s asking a lot.

    @belisle: You know what? It is.

    “No fun latte”
    “Why Bother?”

    @Snowblind, @Craig, @Sushiwriter: I’ve changed my mind. They should stop calling it skinny because all of yall’s names sound better!

  112. Televiper says:

    I doubt the person who wrote #5 is even remotely bothered by the word skinny. Just as no one is bothered by “ho ho ho” “merry Christmas” “Black board” “white Board” “FAT32” “black man” or “mail man.” You see the ruling class (white people and people more fortunate) don’t understand that they’ve committed real transgressions against minorities, and people who are less fortunate). So they’ve convinced themselves that it’s just us. It’s just us and we’re just going to have to watch what we say and what we do. It’s kinda like “they hate us for our freedom.” This person in her reckless sensitivity actually things the overweight people she works with are uncomfortable because people indirectly use words like skinny, chunky, and fat. They’re probably uncomfortable because they work with an insensitive bubble head who’s never for a second talked to them like they were capable adults. Oh, and yes I’m FAT! I know a million fat jokes, and hate beating around the bush about it.

    Our grand kids are going to laugh at us. They’re going to laugh at us just we laugh at our grandparents for being offended by Elvis’ dancing.

  113. LadyCarolineLamb says:

    Starbucks coffee is SO disgusting, and it is almost like a big joke they are playing on the gullible American public…How much will they spend on sludge that tastes like cigarette ashes, just for the perceived “status” of carrying a cup with a symbol that shows you paid 10 times too much for your coffee.
    I am a coffee fanatic and there is no coffee better than good old “8 o’clock” COlumbian beans (dark brown bag). If you want to pay way too much for coffee, at least buy overpriced Douwie Egberts, which actually tastes good. For on the run coffee I like Dunkin Donuts (although lately it seems to be going downhill in taste), but Panera’s Hazelnut is a constant very good tasting coffee you can always count on. I do love that Mickey D’s puts the creamer IN for you now, which is good for the quick drive-through experience.

  114. rockergal says:

    I saw this coming when the word FAT was becoming non PC.
    ugh! I for one am tired of it and wish people would reclaim their freedom of speech and not tippy toe around everyones feelings because they are fat/black/short/stupid/etc..

  115. tk427 says:

    from #2
    After spending the time to remember exactly how to order their favorite drink to make things easier for baristas, and maybe even impress us

    Are you fucking kidding me? Obviously the words “barista” and “partner” have gone to his/her head. They are being overused and should be replaced with the phrase “coffee bar worker”.

  116. Infoclast says:

    If people would order normal drinks this wouldn’t be a problem. Coffee has 0 calories by itself. However, many people, especially in the south, want everything to be sweet. Sweet tea, sweet coffee, sweet everything. No wonder there’s such a problem with obesity.

  117. swalve says:

    @youbastid: I’m 100% in.

  118. osiris7 says:

    Their high-calorie drinks (there are many) should be called “Lard-*ss”

  119. Amy Alkon says:

    If you’re fat, having your drink called a Soapdish, a Riverboat Barge or a Skinny isn’t going to change that. Oh yeah, and drinking something that’s mainly sugar, no fat, won’t change the fact that you’re fat, either. You’ll be raging-bitch hungry for a muffin in 20 minutes. Or three in rapid succession, if you make the mistake of eating the low-fat or fat-free ones.

  120. Trauma_Hound says:

    Charbucks coffee is yucky.

  121. synergy says:

    I was just talking to a co-worker about the size of 11 year olds these days. We agreed in wondering: whatever happened to the stigma of being overweight? And that was even with kids who were JUST overweight and not medically obese, some even morbidly obese now.

  122. MercuryPDX says:

    @synergy: Is it that kids are kinder/gentler towards each other now than we were 20+ years ago…?

  123. Counterpoint says:

    I’m offended by people who spend $4+ on a crappy coffee / espresso from Starbucks and the like. Find a good non-chain shop or do it yourself for cheap. Get something good like an Aeropress ([]) and you can make better tasting, inexpensive coffee in about the time you’d wait in line at a Starbucks et al.

  124. e_rob says:

    Holy Hypersensitivity, Batman! This is beyond ridiculous. But there’s a wonderful irony. Starbucks brought this latest linguistic adulteration down upon themselves with their insistence on ridiculous labels for the various portion sizes. What’s wrong with a Small, Medium, or Large? Not to mention that their coffee is frightfully bad. The first Dunkin’ Donuts that ever to pass that crap off as an actual cup of Joe, without the extensive camouflage of milk, cream, sugar, syrup, and manufactured sweeteners from Exit 9 on the Jersey Turnpike, would be blown up or burned to the ground by an outraged mob of real coffee drinkers.

  125. dantsea says:

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

  126. cde says:

    @Mercurypdx: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…. oh wait, were you serious?!?

  127. bstewart23 says:

    I’ll remember this when I’m waiting in line while three of the four “baristas” on duty are using camel’s hair brushes to clean the espresso maker or wiping counters when they could be actually pouring coffee for customers. I’ll remember this when I’m once again unable to find a seat amid the sea of open iBooks and empty coffee cups guarded by patrons too self-important to actually sit at home while writing their achingly relevant first novels. Actually, I won’t, because the act of grabbing a quick coffee at Starbucks is an excruciating experience.

  128. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    I was in a Starbucks in Santa Fe and the barista there was deaf but read my lips. It was very impressive. I ordered about 4 complicated drinks and she got everything right.

  129. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    Aren’t the complaints about “tall, grande, venti” vs. “small, medium, large” getting old by now?

  130. cerbie says:

    *shrug* on the off-chance I go to Starbucks, I get a 16oz (that way every coffee place will give the same size, you see, without naming it something) breve with an extra shot. If you want fat free and sugar free crap, be my guest. I either want calories with my caffeine, or I’ll get a macchiato or plain coffee (yes, I accidentally ordered a “macchiato” at a Starbucks, once).

    If a lot of people want fat free sugar free nasty drinks, let them order them easier. It’s not a big deal. Really.

    What irks me most about Starbucks, really, is that they always ask you if you want whipped cream, but they don’t have whipped cream. That also irks me about the local shop that I like, though.

  131. cerbie says:

    @sir_eccles: that’s ’cause most of them were green. I’ve only actually seen one that was black. Do you want to explain to kids why you are calling a green board that you write on with chalk black? :)

  132. whatever happened to the stigma of being overweight?

    @synergy: You think it went someplace?

  133. jesseraub says:

    It’s a big problem because a lot of people use skinny when they mean skim milk. A lot of them still want the regular syrup. This means we’re going to have to ask people clarifications.

  134. VnlaThndr775 says:

    As a former barista (not Starbucks), I can tell you that “skinny” has been a term to refer to coffee drinks made with nonfat milk for many years now (at least since 95). Funny that it was never an issue until these guys got a hold of it.

  135. KIRZEN2007 says:


    You do realize that Australia (If I recall correctly in regards to the country) recently removed “Ho Ho Ho” in favor of “Ha Ha Ha” because they feel that “Ho” offends people.

    I’m not joking, take a look!

  136. sezwha says:

    The back story on this marketing decision is that SBUX held its annual strategic marketing planning offsite in Amsterdam this year and one of the VPs really enjoyed the “Grande Jamaican Blue Mountain Fatty” he ordered one morning at the local coffee shop.

    He went on to lead what was widely regarded as the the world’s best brainstorming breakout session, but he forgot to take notes, and that evening all he could remember was “skinny”.

  137. rsg2003 says:

    I’m standing in line at Starbucks yesterday and this orange/can-tanned teenager/20-something who looks like she dove face first into a pile of makeup and takes fashion hints from Lindsay Lohan (not because Lindsay is famous, but because Lindsay makes starving children in a 3rd world country look fat) reads the “skinny” sign. She laughs until she sees that the drink is only 90 calories. She comments to her friend, “OMG, only 90 calories. That means I can eat too!!!”… I turn, hoping to see a smile indicating she was joking… she wasn’t.

  138. bobblack says:

    Serving up coffee all day as a primary means of income sounds like more of a blow to one’s self esteem than yelling skinny all day.

    Suck it up and get a different job.

  139. jemand says:

    If you have ever worked at Starbucks you would understand. I agree that what the person is proposing is crazy but the Starbucks culture is crazy and slowly brain washes you. I worked their for five years and by the time I left I realized how much I’d grown to hate people and my life. The person is lashing out at that ridiculousness because, in Starbucks, for all their talk of diversity and comfort, if you don’t fit their mold you will find yourself trapped.

  140. CoffeeNerd says:

    So, let’s inject some sanity into this discussion…

    * Starbucks did not invent the terms short, tall, and grande. These are standard sizes in Europe for 8 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz. drinks. Sbux invented “Venti” (“20” in Italian) to assuage Americans’ gluttony. Venti size is not even offered in most Starbucks overseas, the same way people outside the U.S. have more sense than to have “all you can eat” buffets. Americans eschewed rational portion sizes long ago, and our waistlines show it. As witty and smarmy as you feel snickering at the sizes, it is actually ignorance. How odd that a coffee house would use standard coffee house sizes.
    * “Skinny” is a term that has been in use on the West Coast forever – East Coasters order “skim”, West Coasters order “skinny”. It has always just meant 0% skim milk. Now it means sugar-free and no whip as well – whatever. It’s just marketing – if you don’t like the term, don’t use it.
    * So if overweight people are going to be insulted, shouldn’t Scottish people be up in arms about “McNuggets”? If I am a meek person, does BOLD coffee offend me? Get over it. This society has become centered around crybabies, usually victims of their own lack of willpower.
    * In my experience, seriously overweight people that get jobs at Starbucks do one of two things: quit or lose weight. The amount of physical activity will make you lose weight, unless you are a lazy blob who needs to be let go anyway. Maybe using “skinny” will create some subliminal willpower!
    * Every January 2nd, people are all full ‘o’ resolutions and order skim, no whip, etc. This lasts about 2-3 weeks, then it’s back to Frappuccinos for breakfast. Can you blame Starbucks for capitalizing on this temporary willpower?

    Order your drink however you care to. If that store can’t get it right, go to another. Lowering the sales and transaction counts at bad stores brings on the suits – and changes. And if you really have this much emotional energy to waste on the word “skinny”: Get a hobby and/or a life!!!!

  141. MercuryPDX says:

    @cde: Absolutely not :)

  142. CoffeeNerd says:

    Wow, how superior you are. If only everyone could meet your standards for lucrative employment. Meanwhile, have any of you idiots looked into the benefits offered? People who ridicule others’ livelihood need to look inward and figure out why you feel like crap about yourself…

  143. Robobot says:

    Working at a non-Starbuck’s coffee shop, we’re used to customers using Starbuck’s lingo to order. It’s usually not a big deal. However, at every coffee shop I’ve EVER been to, the term “skinny” only refers to skim milk, not sugar-free syrup.

    I’m afraid that with this new definition, some people will order “small skinny latte with vanilla” and mean “small skinny latte with sugar-free vanilla syrup.” It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if someone is a diabetic it could get bad.

  144. nickripley says:

    @ptkdude: Comment of the day! :D

  145. rustyni says:

    Grande Caramel Frappacino, extra caramel, extra whip, double shot….FTW.

    Bring on my fatty!!!

  146. cde says:

    @cerbie: green boards = chalk boards. Black boards = …. blackboards. Duh.

  147. xskeptictankx says:

    I don’t frequent Starbucks, but I’m still pretty thrilled at the idea of not having to listen to the person in line ahead of me rattling of a 15-word order only for the barista to misunderstand or forget a detail & send the customer into a frenzy over their COMPLETELY RUINED ORDER OMG IM GONNA DIE OF THE FATNESS BECAUSE YOU USED 2% MILK drink.

  148. Berryski says:

    I am a big fan of this person. Mostly because he/she chose to use the word exacerbate. That is a fine word. In fact, it is an excellent word, implying an advanced vocabulary. I think the author should, therefore, win their argument with the company and not have to say the word skinny. Instead, they should be assigned to say a word of their choice (Pretty! Tastyyums! Exacerbate! AnythingNotOffensive!), and everyone else there too stupid to use the word exacerbate should be stuck with saying “skinny” until they too can waste hours of company time crafting a worthless letter about how the word skinny hurts fatties’ feelings.

  149. As a former barista myself, I agree with points 1+2. They are SUPER anal about drink calling and learning how to call and being accurate, adding this to the mix will be ridiculous. And I’m sure in many places the managers will want the cashier to translate, for example “tall skinny vanilla latte” into “tall sugar free vanilla non fat latte” which will have the customer freaking out with “That’s not what I ordered!”

    Also, SB does a piss poor job of informing people the sugar free syrups are..duh, sugar free and thus chemicals in them. I had many an eye roller when people would ‘inform’ me of this.

  150. Mr. Gunn says:

    Skinny is confusing, but Grande not meaning large isn’t? Methinks the barista is probably not skinny.

  151. peteyale says:

    As long as I can still get my N***** coffee, everything’s fine

  152. TigerAnnHere says:

    Maybe they should call a drink that is not sugar free syrup, with whipcream and regular milk a fatty! Then all would be even eh.

  153. Anonymous says:

    They taste bad cause skinny means …and i quote “nonfat, sugarfree, no wip.” The part that tastes bad is the sugar free syrup. I’m a barista and i don’t mind calling out skinny all day long and i don’t think any less of anyone for getting or not getting a skinny late.
    …..BUT i do hate that people don’t know what a cappachino is. They take once sip and get mad at me for making it taste terribly when its only espresso and milk foam!! (sorry little pet peve and a completely different story)