English professor ‘thrown out of Starbucks after objecting to corporate language’

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Lynne Rosenthal was ejected by three police officers after clashing with a barista about the firm’s ordering rules, which require customers to adopt marketing speak that many find artificial and cloying.

The academic, who is in her early 60s, particularly resented being to forced to state that she did not want butter or cheese on her bagel.

Many cafes ask customers whether they would like such extras with their orders in an attempt to boost takings.

She told the New York Post newspaper: “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.”

Prof Rosenthal added: “The barista said, ‘You’re not going to get anything unless you say butter or cheese!’”

She claims the manager of the Starbucks on the Upper West Side of Manhattan called the police as the spat escalated. Officers threatened the customer with arrest unless she left the shop and agreed not to return.

Prof Rosenthal, who described the incident as “very humiliating”, said she had previously clashed with Starbucks staff over the terminology for specifying the size of her coffee – an issue that riles the chain’s customers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Instead of small, medium and large, Starbucks labels its cups tall, grande and venti.

The lexicon so annoys some coffee drinkers that McDonalds made a point of dropping the terms when it made a push into the hot drinks market in 2008.

A Starbucks staff member who witnessed the clash accused Prof Rosenthal of taking an aggressive tone. They said: “She would not answer. It was a reasonable question.”

A Starbucks spokesman said: “We are completely relaxed about how people order their coffee – and what they call the cups, there are no rules and customers have always been able to ask for drinks any way they want.”

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