Woman Refuses to Speak 'Stupid' Starbucks Lingo, Gets Booted; Who Is in the Wrong?


Lynne RosenthalI'm glad I'm not the only one who gets irritated with Starbucks and its uppity terms for coffee and fare. Only I've never gotten this irritated.

Lynne Rosenthal, an English teacher from New York, says she was physically removed from Starbucks by three police officers because she refused to talk the Starbucks talk.


According to the New York Post, Rosenthal became "enraged" when a barista asked if she would like butter or cheese with her bagel.

"I just wanted a multigrain bagel," Rosenthal told The Post. "I refused to say 'without butter or cheese.' When you go to Burger King, you don't have to list the six things you don't want.

"Linguistically, it's stupid, and I'm a stickler for correct English."

The barista said she wouldn't get her bagel if she didn't answer the question. A screaming match ensued, cops were called, and Rosenthal was threatened with arrest if she attempted to enter the establishment again.

"It was very humiliating to be thrown out, and all I did was ask for a bagel," Rosenthal told the paper. "If you don't use their language, they refuse to serve you. They don't understand what a plain multigrain bagel is."

I'm all for good grammar and sound linguistics (ask me about the time I lobbied a grocery store until it added an apostrophe to its sign), but in this case, it sounds like the woman was just looking for a fight ... and perhaps a little publicity.

In the past, she's refused to use words like "tall" or "venti" or specify "no whip." While the barista certainly didn't embrace the whole customer-is-always-right philosophy, I'm guessing he or she was just sick of Rosenthal and her mission to make a point.

Sure, the terminology at Starbucks may be a little ridiculous, but the fact is if you don't like it, you can go get your fix elsewhere. And badgering a barista, who barely makes more than minimum wage, just makes you ridiculous too.

Do you think Lynne Rosenthal was right in her refusal to talk the Starbucks talk or did she go overboard?

Image via New York Post

eating out, in the news


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JenBr... JenBrooks76

I have to agree that it was rather silly that the barista would not just give her a plain bagel-but I don't think it was necessary to get into a yelling match over it. If she really has a problem with Starbucks, she should go somewhere else or make her coffee and food at home or at work. 

hotic... hoticedcoffee

I would bet the barista was tired of Rosenthal being difficult.  I used to work behind the counter at busy bakery/coffee spot in a commuter train terminal, when I was 18.  Nearly all of the customers were yuppies, and snotty, and rude.  There were many days that I wanted to tell them to shove their "extra light dark roast with a splash of rainforest nut and one and half sugars" up their pompous asses.  Of course, I never did - none of them was worth the job that I desperately needed to pay tuition.

If Rosenthal was so put-off by Starbucks' terminology, she should have taken her business elsewhere - otherwise, she's just there to stir the pot.

Lokis... LokisMama

I've gone to starbucks, and never gotten bitched at for not using their stupid lingo.  Sure 'tall' or 'venti" for the sizes, but other than that?  Ppbbbtttt. 

Uppity stupid bullshit, if you ask me.  I go to Starbucks for the Free Wi-Fi, that's it.  They don't even make decent Chai.

evwsq... evwsquared

Her argument is illogical to me. It's not a matter of proper English, not at all. When some people order a bagel, they expect it to come toasted with cream cheese; others don't. How is a server to know which way the customer expects to be served if she doesn't ask? It's not exactly "Starbucks lingo" to ask whether you'd like cream cheese with your bagel.

nonmember avatar Abby

I can almost guarantee that the only reason the barista withheld the bagel was because Rosenthal was being an uppity witch about being asked if she wanted butter or cheese. In the service industry it's a valid question. In Starbucks if I order a frappuchino and I don't ask for whipped cream, I don't lose my freaking mind when they ask me if I want whipped cream on top. Sounds like she would be the English teacher from hell and has probably been asking for the cops to be called on her pain in the ass self for decades. I would definitely call her this week's working class non-hero, and am quite sick of people gaining infamy for being heinously bitchy. This is NOT how you fight against The Man.

ArmyW... ArmyWife61

She wanted a bagel, not a tall, decaf,  latte, with cinnamon sprinkle, lightly  whipped, hold the foam, stupid coffee!  Give her a bagel, is that too much? I hate going in anyplace, give them my order and they still can't get it right!! I work in a food establishment. It doesn't kill me to give the customer what they want. Thank God I have never been to a Starbucks and I never plan on going.

myree85 myree85

As someone who works in customer service and dealing with difficult people all day I think the barista was in the right. They were only doing their job!! HELLO! Sometimes our jobs require us to do things that even drive us batty!! Personally I think Ms. Rosenthal was being a total witch. The Barista needs to ask her this so that she knows how the customer wants it. DUH!

RanaA... RanaAurora

I would like a bagel.

With or without cream cheese?

Just plain, thanks.


What the hell was her problem?  If you hate it that much, SHOP SOMEWHERE ELSE!

ladyd... ladydragonfly1

I think both the barista and the customer were dumb. Seriously, can we find something more important to argue about? It takes two to argue it only takes one to grow up and deal with the issue differently to have it come out better. Grow up people.

gumib... gumibearmom

wow seriously? what is the world coming to that we must argue over petty things. i have been a starbucks barista and english is my best subject lmao at your ridiculous argument to support your case ms. rosenthal . the barista was doing her job. although i dont agree with how the barista handled the situation either.  the starbucks training is very strict policy "the customer comes first " and lmao that was sooo not legendary customer service. but on barista defense maybe it had been a day from hell and everyone has their breaking point . and why is it we know the customers name and she is sooo famous yet the barista is just that a nameless barista?? where is her badge for "yes i dealt with the fire breathing dragon and walked away unburned ahah " and her 10 mins fame.  hmmm??

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