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January 12, 2008

"Skinny" Is Now A Bad Word?

This is an article by a Starbucks barista about why she opposes the use of the word "Skinny" to define a subset of their drinks.

What do y'all think?

Posted by april at January 12, 2008 9:27 AM


I am astounded at the hoop-la this letter caused! However, I must agree with most of her points. As a frequent Starbucks customer (to the extent that they gave me a card a few days ago that gives me a FREE Venti, non-fat, light foam, one Splenda Latte every day for a week!), and a person who is very health conscious, I would much prefer it if they all blackball this "Skinny" nomenclature. Calling it Low Cal, Low Fat would make a great deal more sense and provide a clearer and more accurate description for their customers. Posting nutritional info in the stores would also be great, rather than leaving it to customers to request the folder. JD

Posted by: Judith at January 12, 2008 12:48 PM

Hope that barista brushes up her resume for the McDonald's across the street. She's gonna need it.

Posted by: allswellinhell/ashley at January 12, 2008 2:30 PM

I'm not sure that it's the best term--but there's nothing new about this. I never drink coffee, but from standing in line at various coffee shops (not even Starbucks) ordering herbal tea, and hearing what other people say, I knew what "skinny" meant. It's hard if a term is already in the lexicon and in that sense has lost its original meaning--but why are they making it THE term? Seems unnecessary, with all the other cultural implications of the term. I agree with the first poster, just be more precise and lose the term skinny.

Posted by: Sara at January 12, 2008 6:12 PM

I hate even walking into Starschmucks. Why does it have to be so complicated? Why do you have to learn a whole other language just to place an order? Can't we just say "small, medium and large" instead of using all these cutesie names?

The woman has my sympathies there. I hate it when people invent jargon to make others feel excluded. A cup of coffee by any other name is a freakin' cup of coffee.

As for all the PC crap, I just feel like saying, "Oh, cry me a river!" Calling a drink "skinny" isn't the same as calling someone "fat." If it hurts someone's feelings merely to hear the word "skinny," well, perhaps it's time for him/her to grow thicker skin. Skinny people exist. Get over it.

That said, I don't think "skinny" is a particularly good name for a cup of coffee. Drinks aren't skinny (unless they're served in champagne flutes) - people are.

My two cents, for what they're worth, which isn't much given that I hate coffee. =)


Posted by: Robin at January 12, 2008 7:32 PM

And just think, all these years and have we ever heard people bitch about calling coffee with nothin in it "black"?

Posted by: allswellinhell/ashley at January 13, 2008 12:35 PM


Thou hast no right but to do thy Will.

OK, apparently I'm the only one that thinks this eminently sensible.

The lingo for Starbucks ordering *is* already highly complex; that's EXACTLY why this system is clever: it cuts through the polyadjectival mess that ordering a goddamned cup of coffee generates, while giving people a specific, unified, low-Calorie option. If people want the 'skinniest' latte, this is it, in 1 clear word; if they want some other combination, they order it exactly the way they always did in the past.

This crap about upsetting the overweight by calling it 'skinny,' or about a negative connotation to the word *within its target market* when there are already a gazillion successful low-Cal products, recipes, and cookbooks out there using the name (Skinny Minnie, Skinny Cow, Skinny Chicken Soup, Skinny Mashed Potatoes, Skinny Bitch, Skinny Mexican Cooking, Skinny Grilling, Skinny Feasts, etc etc -- Google:

skinny "low-fat" OR "low Calorie"

) ... and dozens of popular articles about diets using it ("The Skinny on [Diet X]"), is just preposterous on its face.

Love is the law, love under will.


Posted by: Michael at January 14, 2008 6:36 PM

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