Posted by: Nathan | July 17, 2008

“Get Me a Starbucks?”

Every so often there comes a phrase that needs immediate expurgation from the English language. Saying “OMG” for example, when of course the abbreviation arose out of laziness in typing, warrants an immediate punch in the kidneys. Another such phrase is “get [whoever] a Starbucks,” e.g. “I hope Susan will get me a Starbucks.”

I have my beef with Starbucks. Their milk is burnt. They don’t put enough espresso in their drinks, so they taste like flavored milk. Their size names are nonsensical (how could a “tall” be a “small,” and why is there something bigger than “grande?”). They call any cold drink a “frappucino,” regardless of whether it contains coffee or merely fruit juice. They’re everywhere. The shortcomings of the coffee chain, however, are not at the root of my annoyance with this idiotic phrase; it’s the carelessness. Naturally, the person who says “I hope Susan will get me a Starbucks” is not expecting a Starbucks, i.e. a franchised building that sells coffee; squi is hoping for a DRINK.

The small part of me that thinks well of humanity wants to argue that perhaps this lazy phrase derived from the various drinks Starbucks sells. After all, one could want something from Starbucks that isn’t a coffee (like a frappucino!). The majority of me thinks its simply stupidity. I go to Starbucks to get drinks, ergo the drinks and the place are the same thing. The bad logic hurts. Ouch.

Let’s just band together to eschew this “get me a Starbucks” atrocity, shall we? As my astute wife pointed out, we’ve already adopted too many brand names in place of the actual noun we want (“Band-Aid,” “Kleenex,” and “Chapstick” in lieu of “bandage,” “tissue,” and “lip balm”). We don’t need to continue the trend. Besides, you don’t want a Starbucks! There are employee issues and overhead and early hours and late hours and loud, expensive machines and protesters and monotonous color schemes and stupid size names and competition from your own company one block away (not to mention other companies) and rent to pay and benefits to iron out and politics and lots and lots of drinks to make every day; you want something to drink. Why not say so?


  1. Yes! Exactly. Although I’ve never heard anyone use the phrase (probably due to my work being in a downtown with no Starbucks and many superior alternatives).

    For the record, I always say tissue.

  2. Well stated, sir, although I hope you don’t get the urge to punch my lovely wife in the kidneys when she uses such phrases as “OMG” and “WTF” in spoken conversation.

    I think this phenomenon is acceptable in some circumstances, however, when using the word ‘some’ instead of ‘a’. To wit, “Let’s go get some Wendy’s” or “I’m jonesin’ for some Flameburger” or “We’re going to pick up some KFC – want anything?” By avoiding the definite article, I think one is in the clear.

  3. So…is it bad that your 4 paragraph rant against Starbucks has made me crave a Starbuck’s strawberry frappuccino? mmmmm…

    Maybe when we’re visiting you in Colorado you’ll be nice enough to take Justin and I out for a Starbucks.


  4. i guess since your site is ‘ahab’s quest’ i assume you also link starbucks to moby dick, too, right?

    i think of moby dick almost every time i see a starbucks. living in metro NYC, that is often.

    starbuck is a key man on that melville boat, and he is the only crewman who has even half the guts to consider taking on and stropping the deranged ahab. he is only half-hypnotized while the rest of the crew is fully so.

    the actor who played starbuck in the patrick stweart version/TV movie is ted levine, who plays the semi-bumbling cop/foil on the tv show ‘monk.’

    like starbuck stores, i think of moby dick whenever i see this actor on tv. yeah, instead of focusing on the cop getting more or less outsmarted by monk, i see starbuck poised to assassinate, david with the sling, and then… chickening out.

    ha, so easy for me to call ted levine/starbuck a chikcen. how much courage would i have displayed on that crazed ship? how much courage do i display every day in my own life, here on my own ship?

  5. They’re trying to gobble up as much prime space as they can to keep competitors out. And keep growth up. For the shareholders, doncha know.

  6. Fun post! and oh man, I am certainly joensin’ for some Flameburger…

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