Wednesday, June 27

Fat-Shamed @ Starbucks

When mom and I landed back home at the airport on Monday, the first thing I could think of was, OH MY GOD I NEED COFFEE. I was exhausted, but luckily I didn't look too terribly rough like I normally do after getting off of a plane! Mom and I were walking and bam, Starbucks was there. So I naturally stopped. 

I go to the counter and I order a double soy chai. Iced. The girl was all confused about my having to ask for espresso in the chai to begin with, so this lady had clearly not been fully trained on coffee making through Starbucks. I remember my training, it was pretty intense! I tell her she can assume that there are shots in the drink and not charge me for them, I just wanted my damn shots. I like my chais dirty!

So, she writes the order on the cup and passes it off. The woman making my drink seemed capable. She knew what she was doing and she was getting everything together and chatting quietly with her coworker. Everything was peachy keen. They're giggling, they're happy coworkers. She's finished and she hands me my drink. I ask to make sure, because I always do at a new coffee place, that it's soy milk. People overlook the neatly curved 'S' on the cup way too many times, and if I've never been to the shop to build that soy trust, then I ask. 

What does she say? No, I made it nonfat. Um.. excuse me? She stares at me. Looks at the drink.. back at me. Looks me up and down in a very uncomfortable, awkward way. I politely say, I ordered soy. She takes it back and remakes it, and it even though it ended up tasting like complete ass, I got my soy. A few questions come into play here. 

Why did she make it nonfat? There was so clearly an 'S' under the milk preference on the cup. What if I was vegan? Lactose intolerant? The generic milk of choice for Starbucks drinks, if a milk preference isn't given, is 2%, so why the nonfat? Why did she look at me in the questioning, appalled, offended way that she did? 

Now, it doesn't really matter why I ordered soy in the first place, but I'll clear that up for ya'll. I don't like drinking animal milk. Plain and simple. It freaks me out to think that I'd be drinking the breast milk of an animal other than a human. And I like the vanilla taste to the soy milk that Starbucks uses. It's creamier, it's thicker a bit, and it's yummy! It especially makes the chai taste delicious. 

Either way, this woman is making a drink for me. The drink that I specifically asked for. I understand a mistake, I do, but this wasn't just a mistake of forgetting that I asked for soy. This is the mistake of ignoring that I asked for soy and giving me nonfat. If she overlooked my milk preference, she would have just given me 2%, like I said above. She wouldn't reach for the nonfat, it shouldn't even have been in her mind. Or was it?

I'm fat. We all know this. I know this. Anyone who sees me knows this. Did this woman see me and assume I'd want or asked for nonfat? I'm a fat woman and I'm obviously unhappy with the way that I look and I'm on a diet because of that so of course I ordered nonfat, right? Did this woman see me and assume I'd needed nonfat? Did this woman see me, hear my order, and take it upon herself to give me nonfat since I hadn't asked for it? 

The way she reacted really rubbed me the wrong way, and it wasn't just an irritated attitude that I was given. I understand that irritated feeling, because I used to make coffee drinks for people and get frustrated with them needing drinks remade. I get it. But that wasn't what this look was. This was a look of disdain. A look of pure anger. A look of disgust that I'm a fat woman and ordered soy milk instead of the nonfat, and disgust that I may be happy with myself and not trying to cut back on calories or trying to lose weight.

I can't even explain to you all the feeling that this gave me. The rush of thoughts. The rush of blood to my head. Did she really just silently fat-shame me? Even if that wasn't her intention, and it could easily not have been, there was something behind her giving me nonfat. I'm not trying to be paranoid, but either subconsciously or consciously, this woman gave me nonfat for a reason. Like I said, 2% is the norm for Starbucks.

I'd like to end this post by saying that Rohs Street Cafe, another coffee shop, they use soy as the default for their chai drinks. Because they know it tastes good. I've never knowingly experienced this judgement before at any individual, local coffee shop. Only Starbucks. Also, a few friends and I went to Coffee Emporium yesterday and I ordered an iced soy latte. Did the world end? Did cows walk into the shop and moo until the sun came up? Was I attacked by fitness instructors, hoping to morph me into whatever bikini clad woman is on the front of one of those stupid magazines this week? Was I ashamed? Nope. I just got soy in my drink. No nonfat. Nothin' but soy, including no attitude or bad looks. They were actually really very nice. Just something to think about. 

What do you think? Why did she give me nonfat?
xo, cortnie
ps this is my 100th post!


  1. As a former Starbucksian, I have definitely, on multiple occasions, given nonfat instead of soy. I made this mistake because when I see something marked in the milk box on the cup, I assume N for nonfat, because it's the next most popular milk. We don't mark for 2% because it's our base, like you said! However, I was also always terribly annoyed and embarrassed by my mistake and I can't imagine being so awful like the Starbucks you went to. There was one time I did this and didn't realize until literally the second she picked up the drink, and I practically smacked it out of her hand so she wouldn't drink the nonfat.

    1. I can totally see the view of things, although sadly I don't think this woman was thinking that way. There was no slappage of the cup unfortunately.

    2. That's why it makes me so sad! :( I miss making your soy drinks with love.

    3. I miss them, too! They tasted like hugs and kisses!

  2. I also hate it when you order a Coke & they give you a Diet Coke instead... OR you say "I'll have Coke." and they respond with "Diet?" No, bitch. I want Coke, real Coke.

    1. I've dealt with this when I order a diet, actually! You get the up down look like, yes that bitch needs the diet, good for her she got it right. When in all actuality, I just like the taste!

  3. i know this won't make it better, but call/ email Starbucks and complain. you might get a couple free drink coupons out of it, which is the holy grail of starbucks if you ask me (as a former employee as well).