September 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

It’s time to come clean.

I’m sitting here, at this table, in this public place, and I’m embarrassed.

Okay, it’s not exactly a public place, although I am currently in public. It’s a Starbucks, people.

After all the railing I’ve done against corporations, it is slightly humiliating to admit that I do, from time to time, frequent what my Australian friends sometimes call ‘Starfucks’ coffee houses. The competing small business across the street decided some time back to get tough on stragglers with their laptops who would sit for days on end, neither sleeping nor washing, as they sucked all the electrical juice that estabishment had to offer. At some point the power outlets were mysteriously covered over, so now when my Mac is running low on gas I’m forced to come to my local Bucks of the Star variety, if you will.

But that’s not the cause of my shame, not completely. What did it was my involuntary ordering of a ‘grande’ coffee.

I’ve always prided myself on being a ‘medium’ kind of guy, even though that word was deemed off-limits a generation ago, replaced in most situations by ‘regular’, a word with which I don’t have too much of a problem as long as it’s not describing me. Most corporate behemoths have also banished the categorization of ‘small’, as well. The sizes of soda and popcorn at most cineplexes now are regular, regular, regular or massive. I usually order the smallest regular, which looks like it’s the same size as the massive, which can be obtained for an extra four cents.

So medium is now just regular and small is non-existent or, in Starfucks case, it has become ‘tall’. Why is it that the only size described in English is small? Is that all Americans can handle in their own language? Did someone in the board meeting say, “I think once these coffee sizes start expanding and the prices go beyond fifty bucks a cup, we’re gonna need a different language.” Did they explore different options? My choice would have been Russian: “I’ll have a среда iced mocha hold the whipped and two большой pumpkin frozen alpacinos please.” Much more fun.

So that’s out of the way. Starfucks got me to speak in its frightening price-gouging, quasi-European tongue.

But there are other offences. I like Slurpees from 7-eleven. My weakness bleeds profusely from a gaping wound in my psyche. I can’t resist, the way the Coke starts off frozen and then transforms into tooth-rotting liquid form by the time I work my way to the bottom. The scoop-straw is an invention that would have made Edison quake. I even have a term for my addiction, and it’s disgusting: Getting my slurp on. Victoria has begged me to stop using it.

Of course there are other examples but in the interests of brevity and maintaining my loyal readership I will cease and desist. I hope you, dear readers, continue to view me as the indomitable anti-corporate warrior that I am. I still feel that my many abstinences and resistances more than make up for the occasional patronage of these mass-purveyors of junk. But, in the end, you will be the judge.

Be kind.

Picture : A postmodern innovation that has transformed so many of our lives.



  • Manc. says:

    I’ve long complained of this. Refusing to call something ‘small’ because it might harm our delicate sense of ourselves, or lead us to believe that a company is giving us inferior value by labeling it ‘small’ ( I could sidetrack here into a rant on the American need for large consumables – welcome to the land of the suv, the crossover – however…).
    Being the pompous twat that I am, I’ve had this conversation in a NYC coffee shop…told that the establishment’s coffee only comes in ‘medium’ or ‘large,’ I offered a correction: if there aren’t two extremes (i.e. a smaller, a larger), there can’t, by definition, BE a medium. ‘Medium’ is never a descriptive of two alternative choices. So who’s the twat now?

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You are currently reading A GRANDE-SIZED CONFESSION at Marc Aden Gray's Column!.


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