The Starbucks Drive-Thru Left Me Soaked In More Ways Than One

K says a Starbucks employee mishandled his drink order, handing him a time bomb in the form of a hot chocolate cup that exploded all over his car. He says Starbucks apologized with a couple of drink coupons but is balking at paying to clean his car.

He writes:

Last weekend, I visited a local drive-thru Starbucks to get some hot chocolate — something I often do. When I reached out to take my drink, I noticed that the side had semi-dried liquid streaked down it. Thinking nothing of it, I took the drink from the employee’s hand. As soon as I did, the lid popped off and steaming hot chocolate drenched me, my seat, my dashboard, my stereo, and my floorboard.

Luckily, I was wearing jeans and was not burned, but my car and clothes were soaked. I immediately started trying to mop the liquid off my electronics with the jacket I had been wearing, but to no avail.

So, I went and parked, walked into the store, and asked a manager about getting my car cleaned (I can wash the clothes). I filled out an incident report, got 2 free drink tickets and went home to try and clean myself and my car up.

I got one phone call from “Jared” in the Research and Resolutions department asking me to send them an estimate for a car cleaning which they “may or may not approve”. Fair enough.

The next day, I tried to call back with some questions and was told that I couldn’t speak to my incident manager directly, but would have to have Customer Service play the “go-between”. So, I asked my questions, they took notes, and I waited for a phone call “within 24 hours”.

I’m now going on 7 days, I’ve called 5 more times trying to get “Jared” to call me back so that I can get my car cleaned (it smells TERRIBLE). 5 promised call-backs and not a one actually happened.

From the looks of it, Starbucks is just going to try and ignore me. I’ve been a loyal customer for 6 or more years and they won’t even call me back to discuss having my car cleaned after drenching it in hot chocolate.

What’s the most egregious example of food packing failure you’ve seen at a drive-thru?


Edit Your Comment

  1. putch says:

    D y nt fltr ths sbmssns t ll?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      We certainly aren’t filtering the comments…

    • 3rdUserName says:

      I was entertained..

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      Sr th d. Th jst dn’t fltr Phl.

    • ecvogel says:

      My complaint sent in about RoboForm making all people who bought it with Unlimited free upgrades for life to pay for upgrades certainly deserves to be posted over some of these stories…

      • NotEd says:

        I’m not sure how much more merit it has, but as someone who has 3 Roboform licenses (2 regular and 1 Roboform2go) and paid for the upgade without really realizing that my new program was now a subscription, I would like to see a post dealing with it.

        (To be fair, I really didn’t think it through as well as I could have and bought it hoping the new version would have a fix for a glitch in using the program in Firefox. It does not, as the glitch displaying an error when I close the browser remains.)

  2. odarkshineo says:

    Guess you should just use your car for driving instead of meals on wheels…

  3. PunditGuy says:

    I’m not understanding what happened. Was the cup overfilled? It seems like if the clerk could handle the cup without it exploding, the customer could as well.

    • Portlandia says:

      Good Point!!

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      My guess is that it was overfilled (hence the dried liquid on the sides). When the barista tried to put the lid on it began to spill and he or she wasn’t able to get a complete seal. The fact that he’s not demanding dry cleaning leads me to believe the OP isn’t completely unreasonable. I kind of want to side with him. I agree with the others though that he needs to get it cleaned stat and work out details later

      • mike6545 says:

        I work for starbucks and have overfilled cups before. This does NOT impact whether the lid stays on. The lids aren’t like the ones at Dunkin’ where they just go flat on top of the cup, the lid is designed to fit OVER the cup with room at the top for any extra liquid. If it was filled to the brim, the lid would be over the rim which would prevent any side spill and any extra liquid would be in the extra space created by the lid. He simply squeezed to hard. If the barista can hand it out a window without spilling, it’s most likely the guys fault. People need to stop being stupid and trying to get others to pay for their mistakes.

    • SonarTech52 says:

      Or it could be Hans or Frans (whichever this is) is just too strong for those cups…

    • dourdan says:

      he must have grabbed it too hard. i have gotten drinks where the lid was not on correctly but it never blew up all over me.

    • imasqre says:

      lid not on tight enough too?

    • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

      It’s a thing called knowing where to grab the cup. You never ever grab the cup above a quarter way up. You’re just asking for disaster then. Sounds like this guy needs a lesson in hand placement on cups!

    • chaelyc says:

      Seems like the lid wasn’t clicked down all the way around the cup. In situations like that it’ll balance on there acting as if it’s secure but the opposite-direction squish that happens when it changes hands is enough to blow the lid off, literally.

  4. jesirose says:

    If your car smells, go clean it, and if you think they should pay, have them reimburse you. Don’t complain that your car still smells. Life happens. This wasn’t a malicious attack on your car. It was an accident.

    I don’t allow food or drink in a new car because accidents happen.

    • Portlandia says:

      I agree, even if this is Starbuck’s fault the OP has the responsibility to mitigate damages by getting the car cleaned immediately and to prevent further damage from the smell of the spilled milk.

      Get it cleaned ASAP and work out who’s going to pay for it later.

  5. basilray says:

    If the customer grabbed the cup too tightly, or didn’t ensure the lid is on, it’s hard to lay the blame entirely on the Starbucks employee.

    That being said, the lid should have been sealed properly. If this guy is that regular of a customer, you would think the store might at lest offer to go halfsies on a clean-up. You can’t alienate your regulars and run a profitable establishment.

    • outlulz says:

      He got it in a drive-thru. If the cashier handed it to him while holding it from the bottom, there was no other way he could grab it. And there was no way for him to check if the top was on because it was being handed to him from a window.

      • Chaosium says:

        “He got it in a drive-thru. If the cashier handed it to him while holding it from the bottom, there was no other way he could grab it”

        Bullspit. The customer could grab it from the bottom, like a smart person would.

  6. Portlandia says:

    yuck, spilled milk in a car…you’ll never get the smell out if it goes rancid. You need to get the car cleaned ASAP and work out payment later. Otherwise, come summer it’s going to smell like a bottle of spoiled milk in there.

  7. Portlandia says:

    Phl nds t dd th fllwng b-ln t ll hs psts. Phl Vllrrl – Vc f th nttld cnsmr! Srsl thgh, gr wth th thr pstrs. f y grbbd th cp t tght ths cld sl b yr flt.

    • Portlandia says:

      *too….ugh, where’s the edit button

    • Twonkey says:

      You folks will assume whatever you need to about a story as long as it’ll allow you to vilify Phil for posting it, which as best I can figure makes you hypocrites at the very least. Yet you’ll do it every single time he posts a story, and do it without even the smallest hint of irony. It’s amusing.

      • Portlandia says:

        dsgr, s rl nvr rd wh th str s pstd b bfr rd th str. Nn tms t f tn cn tll Phl str bfr g bck nd rd th b-ln. wll dd tht strngl fl th P s cmplt whnr nd hs t lst % rspnsblt fr ths ccdnt. Th nl scnr tht cn s spllng n NTR cp f ht chclt n m prsn, cr str, st nd rd s dscrbd b th P ws thr grbbng th cp W t hrd nd sqshd t (mkng t hr flt) r ws hldng th cp b th ld nd thrb splld th ntr thng (whch s ls hr flt). W’v ll splld drnks lk ths bfr, nvr blmd th prsn t th fst fd rstrnt nd wld nvr xpct thm t p fr m ccdnt. Th fct tht th P xpcts Strbcks t p fr smthng ssntll hr flt shws n nttlmnt mntlt. Th “‘m th cstmr, ‘m lwys rght, cldn’t hv pssbl md mstk r tk rspnsblt fr m ctns nd th shld p fr t” mntlt hs bn cmmn thrd n th lst fw Phl thrds. Thr’s bn plnt f thrds whr th cnsmr ws wrngd nd wld sd wth thm, ths sn’t n f thm. S dn’t gt n yr hgh hrs wth m bt rgng gnst th P jst bcs t’s Phl pst. Prhps y shld xpnd sm ffrt n xplnng wh Strbcks shld p fr ths nd wh y’r n th P’s sd nstd f ttckng th pnns f vld cmmntrs. Frthrmr, s sttd n thr cmmnts, th P s % rspnsbl fr th smll n hr cr. Whn y hv n ccdnt lk ths y hv th rspnsblt t mtgt dmgs. Sh shld hv clnd hr cr mmdtl nd th gn ftr Strbcks t p fr th dmgs ftr th fct f sh flt sh hd cs. B nt clnng hr cr sh llwd th mlk t st nd spl csng th rncd smll sh rfrncs n hr lttr ths xcrbtng th prblm.

  8. Abradax says:

    So you left the spoiling milk festering in your car instead of cleaning it up/ paying to clean it up and trying to get reimbursement?

    Good luck recouping the costs if Starbucks doesn’t decide to pay. Now that you let it progress to the point “it smells TERRIBLE” it also became your responsibility. You have the responsibility to mitigate damages, which you obviously didn’t do, so now the cleanup will probably take more than a simple cleaning.

    • nonsane says:

      I have a feeling that OP wants the entire car cleaned if starbucks is going to pay for it
      but if they did it themselves they’d do it a cheaper way
      If you’re a loyal customer, go to a self wash, clean it yourself, if you spend more than what they compensated you already in drinks, ask for an additional coupon.

      It’s a mess, not body work, you don’t need an estimate.

      • gerald.saul says:

        I would also suggest that he get in touch with the store manager (not just “a manager”) at this particular Starbucks. If he’s a loyal customer there like he says, the SM will be more than happy to make sure he is taken care of, even if she has to pay for it using the expense account for the store.

  9. GMFish says:

    On one hand, it’s their fault for handing you hot chocolate to drink in your car.

    On the other hand, it’s your fault for ordering hot chocolate to drink in your car.

    I think it’s a draw. Thank them for the coupons and move on with your life.

  10. hennese says:

    Small Claims..

    • GMFish says:

      Who was negligent? Do you honestly think the person who sold the drink knew it was going to get all over the car? To me the very best way to ensure your car never gets covered in hot chocolate is to not drink hot chocolate in my car.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I don’t know why, but I saw the words “small claims, then GMFish’s icon right above and below it, and my brain spit out “small clams” instead.

    • The cake is a lie! says:

      Exactly. The longer a spill like that sits in the car, the harder it is to clean it up and the more expensive it will be. She knows it will have to be cleaned anyway, so why not just get it done and send them the bill and fight with them later? She is going to just cause problems for herself because she is making the problem worse by not cleaning it herself.

      As a professional retailed myself, I can say that getting this cleaned up isn’t going to cost her all that much. Maybe $80 bucks on the high end, but more than likely half that. She could do it herself with about $15 worth of products and an hour of her own time.

  11. KPS2010 says:

    no wheezing the juuice

  12. Commenter24 says:

    How about you learn to handle a cup without spilling it? Did you take the cup by the lid, or squeeze it with the force of god when he handed it to you? Absent one of the above, the lid popping off should not have resulted in the events you describe.

    • Portlandia says:

      I agree, I would bet the OP the cost of the cleaning they were handed the cup with the barista holding the bottom of the cup and the dimwit OP grabbed them by the lid and then the lid came loose.

      Sorry, if you grab a cup by the lid you’re asking for trouble. That’s the only way I could explain the entire contents spilling all over a car. Simply squeezing shouldn’t produce that much mess unless she was using too much force which would again be the fault of the OP.

      • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

        I dunno…..if the OP had done this routine dozens of times before without mishap it’s kinda hard to argue that he was too stupid to know not to grab the lid.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          Unless he’s grabbed the lid countless times and gotten lucky because it was on very tight, and this time, it was a little loose and KABLAM!

          I also fail to see how the handoff could have been the problem. If the employee hands it to you wrong or it’s not together, doesn’t it explode in the gap between the building and your car? If it was the handoff, why would it wait until it was inside, exploding all over “me, my seat, my dashboard, my stereo, and my floorboard.”

          It seems to my that by the time you have it by your stereo, you’re almost to the cupholders, and should have a good grip on it by then. This would let the employee off the hook.

          Either way, unless it’s a flippin’ white-fabric interior uber-luxury car, it’s probably possible for the OP to clean it himself with some warm wet towels. I can’t imaging having to “have it cleaned”. Of course, I don’t drive cars that are museum pieces, so maybe that one’s beyond me.

        • Commenter24 says:

          The fact one has dodged bullets in the past does not mean one should continue to try to dodge bullets in the future.

          • Karita says:

            Taking a cup at a drive through isn’t really dodging a bullet. I’d say it’s a pretty normal occurrence for most people, and the chances of an explosive mishap are slim to none if the lid is on properly. Unless the guy just came out of the rainforest, and had never seen a cup with a lid, there’s a pretty good chance he knew how to handle it. Waiting to clean the car was silly, but it’s weird that people are accusing him of doing all kinds of crazy things to cause the spill.

          • lizk says:

            How do you know it’s a bullet if nothing’s happened before?

      • DustingWhale says:

        Anecdotally, when I worked at #$s around 2000, we had a limited edition novelty sized porcelin coffee mug. It was shaped just like a standard paper coffee cup. Out of the four the store recieved, only one made it to the cash register. The rest were picked up by the lid, which resulted in the cup portion falling out and crashing to the floor.

        All three customers tried to walk away sheepishly, we never asked them to pay. I bought the remaining cup realizing it would be rare and possibly valuable.

  13. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I’m vacillating between asking if your next stop was to pick up a whaaaamburger and some french cries and just telling you to “man up, Nancy.” I guess you can take your pick.

  14. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    I guess the only positive thing I can say is that he doesn’t appear to be suing for burns received when he spilled a hot drink on himself.

    I once when to pick up a big old diet coke while driving down the freeway, and the lid popped off. Dumped pop all over me and the car. I am probably lucky I stayed in my lane. I took it up with the guy who packaged it (me), and just detailed the damn car myself.

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:



    • Cicadymn says:

      Everyone is terrified of not correcting their mistakes, lest the grammar gestapo shows up at their doorstep.

      • Platypi {Redacted} says:

        Yep. That and it bugs me when I notice typos or whatnot once I hit submit. You know that it is irrevocable when you catch it too late. God help the OPs when they use poor word choice or have grammar issues!

  15. sodium says:

    I know this is a frustrating situation and all, but really – how hard is it to spray some shout or whatever and wipe down your front seat, etc? I know it sucks spilling a drink, but if the lid wasn’t secured properly he would have gotten molten hot chocolate spilled all over his hand or arm when the employee handed it to him. Starbucks is not going to clean your car.

    • s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

      The problem is that when you spill liquid all over a car’s dashboard, among others, it can very easily trickle down into the ventilation system, housing for electronics, etc. You can’t just wipe that space clean, meaning that the majority of people would need to have it professionally cleaned (there are always those with the knowledge/equipment to do it themselves, of course).

      Will this guy be able to clean the surfaces of his car, like the top of the dash, the seat, will he be able to wash the floor mat? Yes. It’s the internal areas where the drink has collected and gone rancid. Kinda like how you can clean your sink until it sparkles, but if there’s something nasty stuck in the garbage disposal, it’s still going to reek.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      You basically said what I posted above. If the cup was faulty, the lid loose, or the employee ham-handed, the explosion of chocolate would have happened at the hand-off, not once he had the cup all the way over by the stereo.

  16. ScottCh says:

    Apparently, the analytical capabilities of the first posters is so good, they can whether the lid of a disposable cup is defective or was not installed correctly from reading a brief account.
    Do corporate lawyers get paid to moonlight as blog commentators?

    • ovalseven says:

      Why should the drink spill if the lid popped off? He was either tipping the cup, or he was squeezing it hard enough to cause an overflow.

      And no, I’m doing this pro bono.

  17. El_Fez says:

    I applause you for not instantly suing! “Oh my god! I spilled hot stuff on me! CALL THE LAWYER!”

    On the other hand, quit being a whiny bitch. You spilled some stuff in your car, so man up and clean it up and move on. It’s called an accident. Starbucks isn’t at fault here, so they shouldn’t have to clean up your shit on their dime.

  18. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    This is why, in the rare event I get a drink from the drive through, I always grab it, with 2 hands, on the top and bottom. Plus, if I ever DO spill a drink in my car, I clean it up immediately…I don’t wait for the store to give me the go-ahead!

  19. stevied says:

    Yo stupid, clean the car.

    If Starbucks pays the bill is not relevant as the car needs cleaning.

    Keep the bill. Present said bill to Starbucks and then fight it out.

  20. leprechaunshawn says:

    “As soon as I did, the lid popped off and steaming hot chocolate drenched me, my seat, my dashboard, my stereo, and my floorboard.”

    When the lid pops off your hot drink, stop squeezing the cup like a stress ball and 80% of this mess could have been avoided.

    • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

      Well geez, I’m sure your advice is utterly helpful–he’ll be sure not to instinctively grasp the item going out of control in the millisecond in which it happens, next time.

  21. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    I eat in my car a lot and that is one of the risks you take. That is why I almost always go inside to get the food, then carry it out to my car.

    Now, if you go inside and drop something that is completely your fault and insist to pay the restaurant for cleaning it up, then turn about is fair play and they should pay to clean your car.

  22. Cicadymn says:

    I don’t know how OP can get in a situation like that. He must have literally thrown the cup at himself to get the kind of spillage he’s talking about. Or taken in and started shaking it up and down while squeezing the cup until it’s crushed.

    Be smoother, be a smoother person. Don’t jerk and flop and swing so much. You’ll find your life is filled with considerably less spilled drinks.

  23. PupJet says:

    I hope the OP realizes that the only way to get monies for the cleanup is to actually have the car CLEANED first and THEN provide a receipt to the incident manager. No business that I know of is going to just say “Oh yeah, go find a place and get it cleaned and we’ll pick up the tab” since you could easily rip them off.

    Either way, chances are, they’re probably laughing at him right now.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      That, and how are they going to know what cleaning “needed” to be done? This person could have it full-out detailed when all that was needed was a full-service inside wash and carpet shampoo for $30.00.

  24. waltcoleman says:

    “the lid popped off and steaming hot chocolate drenched me”

    I’ve had lids pop off drinks…who hasn’t? Some of the drink splashes on my hand and perhaps my clothes. Big deal. This guy dumped the entire drink on himself and wants to blame the loose lid?

    Take some responsibility…YOU dumped the drink on yourself.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Without knowing precisely what happened, that seems an unfair assumption.

      That’s like saying don’t drop the pot of boiling water when it’s sitting on your hand, because it will spill. Your instinctual reaction will be to remove your hand from the heat, and it’s nearly impossible to prevent that reaction from occuring.

  25. sirwired says:

    Small-claims time… that’ll get their attention. And having the Sheriff do a “till tap” (as in, the Sheriff walks in the door and starts pulling cash from the register) if/when they don’t pay the judgment is extra fun!

    • Mom says:

      Honestly, small claims? I spilled an entire crockpot full of chili all over the inside of my car once. It cost all of $40 to get the car professionally cleaned. Filing in small claims court will cost $25 or more, whether he wins or loses. Is it really worth all that?

      I’m not saying he shouldn’t pursue it with Starbucks, if that floats his boat. But we’re probably not talking about more than about $50 worth of damage, even if he can get someone to believe it *is* the barista’s fault.

      • reynwrap582 says:

        Sorry, this is hilarious because I was riding along with a local police officer a couple weeks ago, and we happened by a very low-velocity rear-end accident on one of the main roads through town. No damage to the cars whatsoever, but when we went around to talk to the woman in the front car, every square inch of her and of the interior of the car was covered in a chunky soup, and there was a very large, now-empty crockpot sitting in the passenger’s seat.

        Now, funny thing, you’d think she’d follow the OP’s example and demand the other driver pay for it (and she’d probably be right to do so, he -did- hit her car, afterall). But, amazingly, she recognized the risk she took transporting an unsecured liquid in her vehicle and insisted that she pay for the cleaning herself. They other driver actually argued with her a little bit, insisting he’d pay, but they eventually agreed to split the cost.

        Both myself and the Officer I was with were pretty amazed at how reasonable both parties were being.

  26. Preppy6917 says:

    This story doesn’t add up. Unless the person working the drive through window has freakishly long arms, wouldn’t the hot chocolate have changed hands between the window and his vehicle?

    Also, to-go cup is not an aluminum can: pressure doesn’t build inside causing it to “explode”.

    It sounds like K is trying to get Starbucks to pay for his mistake.

    • veritybrown says:

      That was my first thought. I don’t believe I have ever gotten a drink at a drive-thru window that I didn’t have to grab with my hand *outside* of the car. So if it really did “explode” the moment he took it, I don’t see how it could have got all over the inside of his car. Nor do I see how even an improperly fitted lid (which is not an unknown hazard of fast-food drink cups) could have caused this much damage unless the OP grabbed it WAY too hard. Drinks may slosh over a little bit with the lid off, but they don’t typically “explode” merely as a result of a loose lid.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      That’s what I wondered. Having worked in a drive-thru before, it’s really hard to hand the person the drink completely inside of the car…unless they are one of those people who keep their hands inside the car and expect the worker to lean out of the window and hand them to stuff. You know, they don’t want to put too much effort into getting their food or drink.

  27. Robofish says:

    Is that what we’ve become America?

  28. SonarTech52 says:

    I must admit when I saw the title “The Starbucks Drive-Thru Left Me Soaked In More Ways Than One” I was thinking bad thoughts..

  29. Tranquillado says:

    “Soaked in more ways than one”? Are you implying the customer overpaid for a cup of hot chocolate? Or that the drive-thru experience was so incredible it was tantamount to an orgasm?

  30. Gramin says:

    Great… now they’re going to place another warning on cups for those idiots among us:

    WARNING: Applying excessive pressure to the cup may cause the lid to pop off resulting in spillage.

    As if “Warning: This beverage may be hot” wasn’t enough…

  31. erratapage says:

    It’s happened to me. The lid isn’t on tight, and you grab the cup from the lid rather than the cup. The cup falls and the contents splash all over you. The comments suggesting that you get the car cleaned and then seek compensation are well taken. You want to take time-stamped pictures of the car before and after it is cleaned. Then, if Starbucks doesn’t reply soon enough, file in small claims court.

  32. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Phl, rll? r y pttng ths strs p hr n prps? D y lk bng tntd?

  33. schiff says:

    I remember when Consumerist used to offer advice on how to proceed towards a resolution. What’s the most egregious example of a website selling out you’ve seen on the internet?

    • MB17 says:

      How can a site sell out when it has no ads. Try again.

      • schiff says:

        Can you honestly tell me that the type and quality of post is no different now than it was 3 years ago? This site was founded on helping the consumer. Now they are nothing more than a consumer related news outlet. You try again.

  34. framitz says:

    Leaving the car a mess and allowing the mess to dry and ferment expecting someone to kick in bucks for cleaning is just plain stupid.

    You need to mitigate your damage, then sue if you have to. (get the car cleaned your self).

  35. mh83 says:

    Don’t drink hot beverages in your car, particularly if you don’t know that you can’t grab them by the lid. Hot chocolate is not under pressure and doesn’t explode. It got dropped.

  36. HeavyJ says:

    You guys are all crazy for “complaining” about this story. It’s one of only two that I clicked on so far today. Why? Because it was interesting and the same thing has happened to me before. All these ramblings of he grabbed the cup too hard are ridiculous. The lid wasn’t on properly. That’s not his fault, it’s the barristas. I didn’t know that all of you were too good to drink a coffee in your car. Wow!

    Keep posting these stories “Phil”. There is nothing wrong with them and will hopefully drive the complainers to stop visiting this site and making idiotic comments.

  37. Kibit says:

    Lets assume that the OP didn’t grab the cup too hard and that the cup was overfilled and the lid wasn’t on properly. Then Starbucks should pay to clean his car.

    All we know is that as soon as he got the cup it spilled all over the place. We don’t know the details. Stop blaming the OP

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      But Starbucks told him to send them some estimates for cleaning and they would let him know. It doesn’t sound like he’s done that yet. If it’s Starbucks fault and he wants them to pay, he needs to give them an idea of an amount. They aren’t just going to give him money.

      • pinkbunnyslippers says:

        Sounds like he doesn’t want to pay out of pocket. He wants to just sit there with sour milk and be a martyr about it.

  38. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    He went to Jared?

    alternately, some joke about the Subway dude…

  39. dracosis says:

    Another, entitled, GIMME, article.

  40. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Quit sitting around like a gooney bird while the milk permanently sours your car. Have it cleaned. Save the receipt. Send it to Starbucks. They may or may not pay for it. Try to remember that it was an accident.

  41. Brunette Bookworm says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how you get it on the stereo if the lid poppped off as soon as the drink was taken from the employee. Aren’t you kind of leaning out the window at that point? I can see on you and your seat, but stereos are generally near the center of the car. If I spilled something in my car, even if the lid of a drink wasn’t on tight, I wouldn’t dream of asking the restaurant to pay for it. I would just clean it. Sometimes lids aren’t on all the way. Sometimes they are defective and don’t stay on. Stuff happens. “Life sucks, get a helmet.”

    Also, I just typed this while drinking hot chocolate out of a lidless cup and spilled nothing.

  42. privax says:

    get your car cleaned first — then work on getting reimbursed. it needs to be cleaned one way or the other — no sense letting it stay dirty in the mean time.

  43. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    Coffee + Drive-thru = Bad.

  44. huygensbyer says:

    I’m thankful I work for a company smart enough to know refunding a bit of money to cover whatever is going to be much cheaper than bad press.

  45. nutbastard says:

    What a whiny self-important douche.

    1st clue: Regular Starbucks customer
    2nd clue: Doesn’t know how to properly operate human hands
    3rd clue: Ordering wussy Hot Chocolate.
    4th clue: Hasn’t cleaned his car on the off chance that Starbucks will pick up the tab.

    “Starbucks is just going to try and ignore me.”

    That makes 2 of us. Moving on…

  46. coren says:

    What’s the most egregious example of food packing failure you’ve seen at a drive-thru?

    Not a helpful question, and at best tangentially related.

    How would you get starbucks to cooperate?


    Is Starbucks at fault, or does K bear some of the blame?


    What’s with these barely related questions all the time?

  47. BETH says:

    It sounds like the cup was overfilled. If the cup was filled to the top, any slight pressure on it would cause the lid to pop off. If the cup was grabbed too tightly, the drink would splash all over the car.

    For future reference, if you care about your car, don’t eat or drink in it, and don’t allow anyone else to either. And of course, don’t let anyone smoke in your car, because those fumes get absorbed by the upholstery.

    I would never drive with a drink in my hand. It’s just too easy to spill.

  48. Chaosium says:

    I’m usually sympathetic about this, but you really always have to be careful with coffee cups. I’m hardly a Starbucks fan (I live in Seattle. I don’t ever touch their coffee) but they are not responsible unless he actively threw the cup in there. Pick it up by the cup, not the lid. Don’t squeeze the cup unless you want it to explode. This is simple advice, learned throughout the ages.

  49. mdoneil says:

    You don’t need Starbuck’s permission to clean your car.

    Accidents happen and it seems that you couldn’t hold a cup without spilling it. The level of the liquid in the cup was not above the rim so the lid coming off should be immaterial if you can handle a paper cup.

  50. sueska says:

    Once something similar happened to me, It turned out the hospital coffee shop (which sold Starbucks) ran out of the correct size lids and put on a lid that didn’t fit properly. The end result was the lid came off when I set the cup in the car’s cup holder, the coffee spilled into the console, and the lights in the car’s console appeared to have stopped working at that time. I went back to the coffee shop and explained the problem. A few days later, I realized that they were not taking the matter seriously and continuing to use the wrong sized lid. I reported it to a hospital manager as a potential safely risk that could potentially harm a patient or hospital guest. I didn’t have time to take my car to the shop, so the problem was not evaluated or fixed, and understandably I was never compensated. Yes, the coffee shop was totally at fault, but hopefully my diligence in reporting and having this problem corrected helped prevent a more serious incident.

  51. Cetan says:

    You can complain and get your car cleaned if you spill your drink in the car? I could see it if the server actually spilled it, but it sounded like Mr. Consumer grabbed the cup wrong (or man-gripped the hell out of the cup to “pop the lid off”). I never grab from the lid. That’s why Starbucks has that cardboard circle thingy.

  52. icy_one says:

    Cups just don’t explode when you squeeze them like a normal human being – how did the lid coming off throw hot chocolate all over the interior of the car? Stupid consumers.

  53. dave23 says:

    This same thing happened to me. The barista had not put the lid on correctly and was holding it from the bottom of the cup when she handed it to me. When I took it from her, I had no choice but to grab the top half of the cup and the coffee (a very sweet one) spilled all over me, my car, and my leather jacket. I emailed Starbucks with my account of what had happened and we agreed to split responsibility. They gave me back 75% of my car cleaning expense in the form of Starbucks gift cards.

  54. losergeek says:

    People who are too lazy to get out of their car to buy hot chocolate deserve what they get. Also someone’s petty gripes regarding a one off situation doesn’t qualify as a consumerist issue.