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Originally published September 12, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified September 12, 2006 at 1:09 PM

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Readers share their thoughts on dairy "thefts"

Some Starbucks baristas are concerned over customers who've found a way to lower their coffee cost by adding their own milk at the condiment bar. Is this a bad thing?

Some Starbucks baristas are concerned over customers who've found a way to lower their coffee cost by adding their own milk at the condiment bar. Is this a bad thing? Have you seen any "abuses" at your local Starbucks? What other phenomenon have you witnessed at your favorite coffeehouse?

Read the story: Baristas are having a cow over dairy "thefts"

The baristas should start cutting the creamer with water.
— Mike Gorrie, Federal Way

Whatever! I do this daily. I get a quad shot over ice with sugar free vanilla. Once I get the drink there is a little room left once they put ice in it and I go over and top off with cream. Yes this is a $4+ drink for only $2.85. Starbucks and other coffee houses for years have offered Americanas and ask how much room you want in the cup to put in cream or milk. The only difference in mine and that is that I prefer my water in the form of ice. I dont see what the big deal is. If they dont want people doing this tell me. I dont hide the fact of what I am doing. I tell them I want room in the cup for milk. They smile say thanks and take my cash just like yours.
— Rex, Bellevue

Starbucks barrista are the thief, expect customer to put a dollar tip for $1.40 drip coffee. If I get the $4.00 coffee sometimes I get a headache sometimes I don't meaning they don't measure the coffee shots right or something...
— Fernando, Seattle

Are you kidding? Starbucks is complaining? They are the ones who set the coffee prices sky high years ago. If consumers can find a way to lower the cost then go for it. Karma baby.
— Andrea, Seattle

$5 for a latte and the customer is the thief?! Starbucks makes plenty of money — it can afford to either lower their prices or tolerate and/or absorb losses like this. Starbucks is being greedy, not the customers!
— Robert, Seattle

Everyone using more than an ounce of milk (maybe two) is a cheapskate. Learn to like drip coffee if you need to save a buck. Or, heavens-to-betsy, brew your own.
— Roger, Redmond

Hey, it is a capitalist culture — what do we expect? On an international front, these baristas would be like the UN spouting off against multinational corporations for exploiting developing nations. Get over it and switch to decaf!
— Jeff, Seattle

Maybe if starbucks didn't charge 4 bucks for a glass of milk and some roasted bean juice I would feel for them. As it is, hey thats capitalism for ya.
— Kyleen, Seattle

This discussion is why America will loose the war on terror.
— Andy, Seattle

This is what happens when you overcharge for a product. Your customers find a way around it. Starbucks and the like have no one to blame but themselves.
— Matthew, Seattle


For those who feel somehow justified in their abuse of Starbucks generosity, shame on you. Rationalize all you like people, but those who do this are probably the same people who stock their fridges with the milk and soda that they pilfered from the Microsoft break rooms. It's simple really, if you don't agree with Starbucks prices, take your dollar and your Robin Hood mentality elsewhere
— Chance, Kensington, MN

I used to be a barista and it would annoy me to see someone empty the half-n-half container into their single espresso (we didn't have single serving espresso cups, just normal 8 oz cups). It would also grate on me to see someone open the shaker of cocoa powder and dump a couple tablespoons worth of it into their drink for a "poor man's mocha". While this behavior may not hurt corporations like Starbucks, this type of behavior does hurt smaller carts and cafes when the employees and owners are counting every penny. It's also just plain rude--to the cafe owners and to the next customer who suddenly finds the once full cocoa shaker or milk canister empty. Just because something is free as a courtesy doesn't mean that you can be free to take severe advantage of it.
— Jane, Seattle

At least this article is exposing the right sides of A LOT of the faces we see behind the counter at Starbucks. The building where I work in Bellevue has some of the snotties baristas ever and this article just reinforces my thoughts on that even more! It's my coffee, I paid for it, the milk/ half & half, etc.. are out there for my use (as well as other patrons). Just refill them when empty and shut up! Shut up that is if you want your little tip jar filled.
— Simon, Seattle

What a joke! I think the barista's should be putting their energy into getting paid more per hour by Starbuck's instead of worrying about people using a product that is put out on the floor for customers to use. Why is there never a water pitcher put out on the floor? Because they want you to buy the bottled water. Who is scamming who?
— Ted, Seattle

I used to be a barista at Starbucks, and I do the cheat system all the time. I order a Doppio espresso with soy milk (its about 1.95 plus add dairy .40) It basically makes that a iced tall soy latte, but whose counting? I could forgo the soy milk, walk over to the condiment bar and use half and half for free! Why should I be made to pay full price for a soy latte simply because I am lactose intolerant. I understand both sides, but to see how upset my fellow baristas get is amusing. I usually tip a fair amount more than I normally would, so why should they care so much? Stop being a Java Nazi and explore the culture a bit more. Most people drink coffee like clockwork every day, who is really going to be justified in becoming so furious! Think of it as a punch card system and in the end, it all adds up :)
— Kelly Jensen, Bellingham

Don't kill the Golden Goose! I don't personally do this, and I have never thought or seen anyone do this, but the milk and creme are out there on the island to be shared by all. If greedy (read: cheap) people are going to take advantage of the trust these coffe e bodegas give us, we won't have the luxury of adding just the right amount of half and half to our americanos! Pay the extra buck for the milk, or kill the freedom to pour for everybody else.
— Aaron, Renton

Ridiculous — if Starbucks' employees have issues with this it's because they are too lazy to refill the thermos with Milk, Half & Half or whatever. I hope evereyone does this, especially at Starbucks. Let it be Howard Shultz's penance for screwing the Sonics.....
— Coffee guy, Seattle

Why would the baristas ask me if i wanted room with my iced americano every time if i weren't supposed to add my own half & half?
— Evan, Seattle

Simple solution... use those tiny individual half-and-half containers. No one is going to stand there and peel open 20 of 'em.
— Bill Eidsmoe, Bellevue

I have witnessed a couple friend for doing this. I don't see the problem. I personally just don't buy chain coffee more than once a week as I feel it's fast food coffee. Generally not good taste, poorly made(cappucinos are different that lattes), and the service consists of moving you through lines fast.
— Bryce, Renton

Please tell me where these baristas work so I know which Starbucks not to patronize. I don't go out for coffee to risk having snotty comments posted by the condiment police over how I choose to drink my coffees for which I've PAID. What's next? Bring your own sugar and cream? Or maybe pay by the unit for condiments like you do for onion at Dick's?
— Dee Amschler, Seattle

PUH-LEEZE!!!! A blog is now front page news??????
— Michelle Graunke, Seattle

I don't see why it's the barista's business if I want to put my own creamer in my drip coffee (which costs $1.88 a vente cupfull). I admit, I don't think it's worth $2 more (double the price) to have them foam or steam milk in it for me. If they're cheated, let them start charging me for my half and half. It's still going to be cheaper than $4 for half as much. Really, maybe it's worth it to me to just use my own coffee pot more and pocket the cash anyway. What will they do if they complain about customers so much we just all go back to doing ourselves?
— Doug, Redmond

Now that an article has been published about it, I imagine more people will be inclined to "scam" the coffee shop(s). I have to believe that the profits they lose over the few who choose to make their own "iced coffee" amount to little more than a "drop in the bucket." If too big of a fuss is made over it, then the honest "Joe" will pay thr price by having to ask already busy barristas for milk or cream at the bar. This will cause the whole line process to slow down, and ultimately make everybody more unhappy than they are now. I say, let those who want to take advantage keep doing is on their conscience, and ultimately hurts them more than anyone else.
— Amy Fletcher, Auburn

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