Gaming Starbucks – the “ghetto latte”

From the Starbucks Gossip blog:

Is it fair/right for a customer to order what we, at my store, call a “ghetto-latte”?

The “ghetto-latte” is ordering any size Iced Americano, with no water and half ice (This lady’s drink is an Iced Venti, no water, half ice, Americano). She then takes the drink and goes to the condiments bar and adds her own half and half.

She and her boy toy came in the other day and both ordered a Venti and Grande ghetto-latte. We just happened to not have the half and half out at the condiment bar. When she ordered the drink, I then immediately said, “and ma’am what kind of dairy would you like?” She then said, “Oh I’ll add it myself thank you.” But I had to let her know we didn’t have any out at the very moment. She asked for half and half of course.

Now my problem with that is… her 2 drinks cost $4.82 (entered as iced grande and venti americanos).

The EXACT drink she orders as we have it on our menu (with all the shots and milk she is actually getting) are called Iced Quad Venti Breve Latte and an Iced Triple Grande Breve Latte.

Venti (and Grande) Americanos come with 4 and 3 shots (respectively) of espresso and then water (and ice).

Lattes are 2 shots (and 2, respectively) espresso, milk and Ice.

Additional shots are $.55. Half and Half (breve) is also an additional charge.

The cost of those 2 drinks (as Lattes) is $10.24 or so!!!!

Is this just a case of the customer being savvy enough to play the system? Or should they be asked to stop? I personally feel they should be asked to stop.

Personally, I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with it, even though it is kind of cheesy; what do you guys think?

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23 Responses to Gaming Starbucks – the “ghetto latte”

  1. Nate says:

    An Americano with water tastes nasty. They should cut down the espresso by one shot, use coffee instead of water and raise the price. It’s all fair. And no free dairy.

  2. Dan says:

    It’s totally fair. They are charging their own price after all, if the ingredients cost more then they should charge more, not just charge for the name.

    Sara and I do this all the time for Avery. Instead of ordering a quesadilla we order a tortilla and cheese, grilled cheeses work out the same.

    I used to this when I was in H.S. too, I’d order a $1 whopper plain with bacon and BBQ added and it was half the price as a BBQ bacon burger.

    So, it’s the vender’s fault for charging too much for the end product and not enough for the ingredients.

  3. JB says:

    Yeah, I’d agree with you guys.

    They’re kind of in a pinch as far as the dairy products go, since I don’t think they could get away with not making milk available for the people who just get regular coffee (like me), but they also wouldn’t want to have a milk Nazi rationing out how much people use or whether they’re allowed to use it dependning on the drink they got either.

    I think that if it was a real issue, they could always do all the milk for you behind the counter as well, but I’d guess (considering the prices they charge) they can probably afford to cover pretty much any amount of milk average customers would use, even if it’s “too much”.

  4. Martha says:

    That is just dumb. I thought Americano meant half water anyway.

    Starbucks is just trying to make the bucks…no pun intended.

  5. JB says:

    Yeah, I’m not entirely sure on all the terminology, but I believe that Americanos are espresso and water, as opposed to the other espresso drinks (like lattes) which are espresso and milk.

    It’s a pretty creative workaround, if you ask me. I guess they could also just refuse to serve waterless Americanos, since most people would not drink just pure espresso, but it’s probably better for them in the long run just to keep the customers satisfied and coming back for more. Like I said, I’m sure their prices cover their milk margins pretty easily, allowing for a few customers to occasionally use more than their fair share.

  6. Kristen says:

    Other coffee shopes I’ve been to ask if you want an americano with water or coffee, maybe they’re just nice I don’t know.
    Anyway it seems messed up and I don’t think I couldn’t bring my self to do it but I agree that Starbucks can’t really make the lady stop.

  7. Dave Z says:

    I think it’s fair.

    I also thought Americanos are expresso and water.
    When I get an Americano it is usually with extra whipped cream.
    Wouldn’t an Americano without water just become an expresso?

  8. Randy says:

    I only read the first post. I read no comments.

    I think what they do is hillarious. They hacked the system. Those coffe shops should be ashamed that they carge so much for meaningless fluff and the American public should be ashamed that they pay for it. That lady and her “boy toy” are doing there part of stickin’ it to the man.

  9. Dave Z says:

    I thought Starbucks was sticking it to the man, with their more employee centric/fair trade/ethos water etc. ideas. This is another level of stickin’ it the man who stickin’ it.

  10. JB says:

    Yeah, that’s kind of a paradox with Starbucks I think. In a lot of ways, I think they’re better than most companies, but they do still seem to have their own downsides as well.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Like Starbucks doesn’t charge enough to begin with….Please stop yourself!!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Starbucks also serves tea, but don’t dare ask for lemon, they don’t have it if it is your preference. So let the milk lady take my share of milk for my tea, I didn’t want it anyway.

  13. Dave Z says:

    Kind of happy that someone is sticking it to Starbucks. Getting sick of the pretense there about how special it all is.
    But I go there cause I the coffee at the oxnard coffee bean has been nasty.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think you people should that only severely fat, ugly depressed people who have no friends or family who actually likes them sit around and talk about what other people do with their food. Advice from a retard…..”Get ahhhh life!”

  15. JB says:

    Dave, I don’t think all the Starbucks people have that kind of attitude, but I definitely agree that the SB coffee is always better than the Coffee Bean stuff.

    As for that last one, not exactly sure how to take it, since it isn’t written well enough to understand, but taking a wild guess at an interpretation, I’m guessing that the “get a life” remark is directed at the people participating in this discussion.

    If so, I guess I’d just say that most blog conversations are in a similar vain of talking about not very important matters. No one suggested that it was any kind of a serious issue. Welcome to the “blogosphere”.

    If you are willing to speak so negatively about people just because they are involved in a simple conversation, then what does that say about you, when you take the time to join in that same conversation just for the sake of attempting to insult people?

  16. Charles says:

    Since Starbucks offeres the condiments as free and there are no signs that there is a limit on how much you can have if you place an order, your arguement that they shouldn’t do this is moot. Stop being such a lazy person… it amazes me that Starbucks stays in busy with so many snobs working behind the counter. It is coffee people.. not some life saving medical cure all.

  17. Rosie says:

    This is the same thing as ordering water with lemons and making lemonade to save $1.19 for the lemonade on the menu – or going to the condiment bar at the Tex-Mex cafe and stockpiling enough ingredients to go home and make soup (rather than buying a can of soup for $2.80). Thievery is attributable not to business practices, but to thieves. Yes, you can nickle and dime any business establishment. Sad for you, this only confirms the fact you are a vagabond.

  18. JB says:

    Just to clarify, for the recent commenters, this was a quoted post from another blog. No one affiliated with this blog is directly involved in this process.

  19. bah says:

    hahahaha… great. i’m in the ‘thieving’ camp… but which camp is that? on the starbucks’ side? with the company that steals from the poor coffee grower (how much of their coffee is fair trade coffee)? or on the ‘vagabond’ lady-and-boytoy side? with the people who think for themselves and nickle-and-dime the nickle-and-dimers…? hmmm. no contest. have a look at this little documentary if you’re interested:

  20. Charles Bovary says:

    Americano is a “derogatory name” intended for Americans who like their Espresso diluted. There is no such a thing “Waterless Americano” – Water is the piece de resistance of Caffe Americano – Besides, Americano is a diluted Espresso. And Americano is not served with caffe unless you order a Caffe Tobio. By the way, let the “Ghetto Latte” lady have her fun – The condiment bar is for the Guests.

    Charles Bovary

  21. Dave Z says:

    According the above starbucks is sticking it to all of us.
    They say here that a grande drip has 223 milligrams of caffiene and there are discussions that is enough to create an addiction.

    A caffe tobio would be interesting when I need that super jolt.

  22. Dave Z says:

    Starbucks is like the Apple computer company of the the coffee world.

  23. sarah says:

    This practice has trickled down to the independent coffee houses, we cannot buy in bulk like star*ucks, we don’t save money by squeezing our distributors like they do. This Ghetto Latte practice is NOT accepted at indy cafes, please, if you want to game star*ucks, feel free, but leave it there. Don’t put us little guys out of business by doing this, we get no breaks, usually work insane hours and are family run employing local people and using local products therefore helping directly the communities we live in. Again, GHETTO LATTES AT STAR*UCKS ONLY PLEASE!!!!

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