Written by Lori Thiessen

How much should you spend in a coffee shop if you are camping out for several hours, working away on your laptop? This is one of the questions that a sensitive java commuter thinks about.

However, I came across this article by Julia McKinnell (“A latte people stick it to Starbucks”  Maclean’s.  Toronto:Oct 30, 2006.  Vol. 119,  Iss. 43, p. 82 (1 pp.)) in which she described people ordering a double espresso in a large cup then walked over to the condiments table. Into the half-full cup, these cheapskates poured a load of milk, then microwaved it for an el-cheapo latte!

Now I know that Starbucks is currently at the top of a lot of people’s ‘love to hate’ list, but jeez louise, show some class. Some may rationalize this behavior by saying that Starbucks is a big-ass corporation that won’t be any worse off for a little milk and I, as a hard-working, one-man-band, java commuter don’t have much money to throw around.

I think this latte fraud stuff is 1) utterly pathetic, and 2) Starbucks will likely just raise or has already increased, the cost of your double espresso by a couple of cents (and the lattes the rest of us buy on the up-and-up, thank you oh so much!) to compensate for the increased consumption of milk used as a condiment.

I don’t know if this behavior is prevalent here in Vancouver and the article chronicling this behavior is almost 2 years old so I hope that people have stopped doing it in Toronto by now.

All the self-help pundits and gurus claim that you can’t control anybody else’s behavior, but if you see someone pulling a stunt like this in your local coffee shop (whether it’s Starbucks or a little mom and pop joint), bash ‘em with your laptop and I’ll look the other way.

Q: Do you agree or disagree with this kind of thing (e.g. making a fraud latte, or smuggling in your own coffee and eats into a coffee shop to save money while you camp out)? If yes, please explain why.

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat until next time!