Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Too much ice in the coffee? Talk about a first world problem…

I’m not a coffee drinker. But I am an occasional iced coffee drinker. When I do go for an iced coffee, it’s a Dunk’s, not Starbucks. So I guess I can’t be part of the big class action suit that Stacy Pincus is spearheading, Not that I would have signed up, anyway. When I order an iced coffee, I expect there will be, well, ice in it. And that the ice will take up some of the room that, in the absence of ice, would be taken up by liquid. But if there were no ice, wouldn’t that mean that the coffee would be hot coffee (or tepid coffee, or chilled but not ice-cold coffee)? Isn’t ice actually an ingredient of iced coffee?

Ah, but it’s not the ice in the iced coffee. It’s the ounces advertised on the cup. The cup size for the iced coffee (the venti cold) is 24 ounces. Which apparently has led some folks, Stacey Pincus among them, to believe they’re entitled to 24 ounces of coffee. Ice be damned!

“Starbucks is misleading customers who expect to receive the advertised amount of fluid ounces,” states the class-action lawsuit, which was filed last week in federal court. “For example, if a gallon of gas is advertised as costing three dollars, and a customer pays three dollars and pumps gas, that customer is expecting to receive a gallon of gas — not approximately half a gallon.” (Source: Washington Post)

Well, I’m not sure I’d have used a gas analogy here. But there are some that claim that Starbucks coffee leaves a nasty taste.Anyway, I’m sure that Starbucks would counter-argue that the 24-ounce is the size of the cup, not the promise of the liquid.

The plaintiff who filed the suit, Stacy Pincus, alleges that those who purchase cold beverages at Starbucks receive far less coffee than advertised. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, notes that the claims also apply to iced tea and other cold beverages prepared by Starbucks employees.

I know that those who spearhead class action suits aren’t necessarily people who actually felt they were wronged. Instead, some folks get their gripe on and find someone willing to raise their hand and say “use my name.” So that might be what’s going on here.

But if you’re lending your name to a lawsuit, presumably you’re feeling a bit aggrieved about something. Why else would you set yourself up for ridicule, as Stacey Pincus is doing. This isn’t exactly Erin Brockovich or Norma Rae we’re talking about.

Assuming that Stacey Pincus is truly aggrieved, one question for me is when did Stacey Pincus start getting aggrieved? Had she been sipping iced coffees for years, only to wake up one morning and smell the coffee and realize she’d been screwed? Or did she realize all along that she was being sucker-punched by Starbucks, and it just took her a while for her to have her kismet moment with a law firm eager to push this suit forward?

Is it just me, or does this one sound more frivolous than the suit against Subway that claimed that its sandwiches weren’t really foot long, but might have been one little piggy toe short? That actually seems like a righteous case.

As one can imagine, Starbucks doesn’t see things quite Stacey Pincus’ way:

“We are aware of the plaintiff’s claims, which we fully believe to be without merit,” Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post on Monday. “Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.”

Or maybe they should just take the 24 ounce markings off of their cups. Baristas can just hold them up to show a customer what the size is – yep, that’s big; yep, that’s small. Then the customer can say ‘easy on the ice’ if they really don’t care if their iced coffee is actually iced.

And why does it have to be a suit to begin with? Why not just mount a campaign on social media bitching and moaning about Starbucks? Why not picket the stores? Why not organize a boycott? Why not ask for less ice? Why not – get this – go somewhere else for your iced coffee?

This is a $5 million dollar law suit. Think of how many iced coffees Starbucks has poured over the last 10 years.Think of how many folks there are out there who are “entitled” to a piece of any settlement. What might each of them realize? A quarter? A nickel? A dime?  Don’t spend it all in one place.

What is the point of this one? Is it worthwhile tying up our courts so that one law firm can win big and a bunch of consumers get a coupon or two?

Too much ice in the iced coffee…

When I think of all the crappy things that are going on out there, this does seem like one hell of a grade-A first world problem doesn’t it?

1 comment:

Akramul Haq said...

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