I am not a Starbucks zombie.

I recently read in the Harvard Business Review that Starbucks seeks to train its customers at nearly the same level as its employees. This is why a Starbucks cashier will convert my request for a medium coffee into a grande when passing the order onto the barista.

It’s not for the barista’s benefit (since everyone knows what a medium is). It’s to teach the customer to use the word grande next time. Starbucks hopes that engraining its culture into customers will increase brand loyalty. Use of the special Starbucks language is just one of the ways of doing this.


According to Starbucks, this type of training works on 95% of its customers. Only the most oppositional 5% of customers will reject this training entirely.

I am only a Starbucks customer in that I frequently purchase coffee for my wife and an occasional blueberry cake for myself.

But I am most assuredly in the oppositional 5%.

I can’t help it. I’m just jerky that way.