Bagel Rage!

It may well be referred to as ‘Starbucks’ v English’ in the history books. According to a college English professor out of Manhattan, the American chain has put the first runs on the board when it comes to assaulting the English Language.

Professor Lynne Rosenthal, was forcibly ejected from an Upper West Side Starbucks yesterday morning after she got into a dispute with a barista — for refusing to place her order by the coffee chain’s rules.

Rosenthal, who is in her early 60s and a stickler for the proper English, asked for a toasted multi-grain bagel. No harm in that, I hear you say.

The problems started when the barista at the franchise inquired,”Do you want butter or cheese?”

Rosenthal told The Post

I just wanted a multigrain bagel, I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese.’ When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want. Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English.

Rosenthal has ‘form’, and has admitted she has run into trouble before for refusing to employ the chain’s terminology. She was apparently offended at ordering a “tall” or a “venti” from the menu or specifying “no whip.” She will only order a ‘small’ or ‘large’ cup of joe.

Things got really heated when the barista told Rosenthal that he wouldn’t serve her unless she specified whether she wanted butter, cheese or nothing.

Her reply? 

I yelled, ‘I want my multigrain bagel!’ The barista said ‘You’re not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese!’

She refused to back down, on principle, she said.

I didn’t even want the bagel anymore. The bagel brouhaha escalated until the manager called cops, and responding officers ordered her to leave, threatening to arrest her if she went back inside. It was very humiliating to be thrown out, and all I did was ask for a bagel. If you don’t use their language, they refuse. They don’t understand what a plain multigrain bagel is.

A Starbucks employee who witnessed the incident blamed Rosenthal, who holds a Ph.D. from Columbia.

The staffer said

She would not answer. It was a reasonable question. She called [the barista] an asshole.

For my money, this is just more proof that an education doesn’t mean people are smart. Speaking proper English is one thing, but making a fool of yourself is another thing entirely.

[NY Post]

One Comment
  • Land
    14 March 2011 at 7:12 pm
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    Do not force customers into your mold. If she did not answer the question affirmative, LEAVE OFF THE BLANK BUTTER OR CHEESE!

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