Size Matters


If you’ve ever visited one of our 97,346,312 stores you know we have names for the different sizes of drinks we serve. While other coffee shops simply denote them by the number of ounces in the cup, we choose instead to call them Tiny, Not So Small, The One Most People Get and Oh My God It’s Huge.

Now, it doesn’t bother us when you ask for a 16-ounce beverage, because we can use our lightning-fast brains to convert 16 ounces to The One Most People Get. We don’t even mind if you call it a ‘medium’ or a ‘large’ and there’s only the smallest difference between our two smaller sizes, so when you ask for a ‘small’ we can pretty easily up-sell you to the bigger of the two by holding the cups up and saying something like “Do you want Tiny small or Not So Small small?”

No, what we find annoying is when you don’t specify the size when ordering. Sometimes it’s not really annoying so much as just adding an extra step in the ordering process:

You: “I’ll have your Five-Dollar Coffee With Milk, please.”

Me: “Okay, what size would you like?”

You: “The One Most People Get is good, thanks.”

An experienced customer simply orders “A One Most People Get Five-Dollar Coffee With Milk, please.”

Picture this very real and all-too-frequent scene:

You (arriving at the register with your family of five in tow): “Hey.” (pointing at your mouth-breathing, iPod-listening, texting, hand-held-game-playing brood) “We’re all together.”

Me: (smiling, knowing exactly how this is going to go) “Great, what can we get for you today?”

You: “I’ll just have a regular coffee.” (you step to the side slightly to allow Your Mate to order)

Me: “Okay, regular coffee. What size?”

You: “Oh, um. Medium.” (you start to move away again)

Me: (grabbing the cup): “Do you want it black, or do you want some room for cream?”

You: “Oh. Uh.. black I guess.”

Me: “Okay, great.” (smiling to Your Mate, who is now unsure if it’s her turn) “And what would you like today?”

Your Mate: “Um, I’m gonna have your Mostly Milk And Flavored Syrup With Not Too Much Coffee Because I Really Don’t Like Coffee.”

Me: (smiling, because what else can I really do?) “Okay. What size?”

Your Mate: “Oh. Um, I’ll just have the small one.”

Me (holding up the two cups): “Tiny small or Not So Small small?”

Your Mate (brow furrowed in thought): “Oh, um. Not So Small, I guess.”

Me: “Okay, a Not So Small Mostly Milk And So On. Got it.” (looking to Sullen iPod Teen) “And what would you like?”

Sullen iPod Teen (looking at me blankly) :”Huh? Oh. (looking at menu) “Um, well, I want a Delicious Frozen Blended Drink That Has No Coffee But Has Loads Of Sugar.” (starts to walk away).

Me (dying a little inside): “Okay. What size?”

Sullen iPod Teen (turning back around when You tap his shoulder and gesture at me): “Huh?”

Me: “What. Size?”

Sullen iPod Teen: “Huh? Oh. Large?” (looking at Your Mate, who shakes her head) “Medium, I guess.” (walks away again)

Me (smiling, trying not to laugh): “Okay, then. What flavor?”

Sullen iPod Teen (yanked back to the counter by Your Mate) “What? Flavor? Oh. Umm… just, like, vanilla or whatever.” (walks away yet again)

Me (smiling, and looking to Emo Texting Teen): “Okay, then. And what will you have today?”

Emo Texting Teen (eyes glued to her phone): “Um, what? Oh. Um, I’ll just have a Spiced Tea With Lots Of Steamed Milk.” (thumb-types furiously on her phone as she drifts away from the counter)

Me: “Alright. Size?”

Emo Texting Teen (still glued to phone, never once looking up): “Um, small or whatever.”

Me (once again holding up the cups) : “Tiny small or Not So Small small?”

Emo Texting Teen (sighing heavily with the effort of looking up from her phone): “not So Small, I guess. Did I say I wanted soy milk? I want soy milk.”

Me (not at all surprised that you think you’re vegan): “Okay, then. A Not So Small Spiced Tea With Lots Of Steamed Soy. Gotcha.” (looking to Hand-Held Gamer Kid, thankful the end is near) “And for you? What would you like today?”

Hand-Held Gamer Kid (looks to Your Mate and whispers to her)

Your Mate: “He’ll have a hot chocolate.”

Me (not at all surprised at this point): “Okay, hot chocolate. What. Size?”

Seriously, folks. I figure after one or two of you, the rest might catch on and actually specify the size when they order. But no.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Come on, Boo. You’re just making that shit up, exaggerating for the sake of humor. That can’t possibly be real. Right?” I would love to say I made it all up, but this happens pretty much every day. At least once a day.

Sometimes it’s the Office Coffee Run, where someone shows up with a list. The list invariably includes a syrup flavor we haven’t had for over 5 years, no size for one or two drinks and at least one drink we don’t even have.

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5 Comments

Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Retail Rant

5 responses to “Size Matters

  1. Ah, yes … I know where you’re coming from there! I used to bartend in a restaurant (one of many jobs I’ve held down to earn my keep) and the amount of times I had to ask about coffees and/or beers was incredible. I think the problem is that more and more people (cite your teens and kids in the example) but aren’t paying attention to the little things, like stating what size. Yet, when they don’t get what they want (i.e. what they had envisioned in their heads and haven’t told you ’cause and you don’t know you’re NOT a mind reader!!), they attack you at first opportunity. Hmm, well, if you told me what you really wanted in the first place, I would have gladly got it for you! *grins* Great blog Boo! Cheers.

  2. I feel your pain, I used to work in a coffeehouse. I did the 4am to noon shift most of the time, but occasionally did the night shift, and the shop was across the courtyard from a giant 21-theater complex. Lots of teens who want really complicated drinks when there is a line around the block, but none of them want to actually tip or thank you.

  3. Enjoyed this post very much. I made the mistake the other day of ordering using the wrong words. You know, dropped the Italian word that used at another shop, then confused, order using the Spanish word that means large, but isn’t actually a large at this shop. So then I objected when I got a “medium”, only to read the sign more carefully and see that I was the one who screwed up. Seriously, though, it’s hard to keep straight. I think we need a coffee shop Esperanto.

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