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Yesterday, MNB reported that Starbucks has been hit with a class-action suit contending that the latte drinks it serves are 25 percent under-filled, and that baristas are instructed not to fill 12, 16 and 20 ounce cups to the brim - thus not giving customers what they are paying for while saving the company millions of dollars. While the suit suggests that the practice is systemic, Starbucks says that the charges are "without merit," and that "hand-prepared beverages increase the likelihood of variations ... If a customer is unhappy with their beverage preparation then we are happy to remake it to their satisfaction.”

I commented:

As a regular Starbucks consumer, I can't say that I have any complaints ... but I am sort of intrigued to see where this goes. If it ends up being a Subway foot-long situation (the foot-long sandwiches weren't that long), it'll end up being a black eye for Starbucks. I suspect that won't be the case, but I am curious...

MNB reader Joe Axford wrote:

As a regular latte consumer I see this as much ado about nothing.  As long as my Grande has 2 shots of espresso and my Venti has 3, I have no complaints,  as simple as that!

But MNB user Larry Lund disagreed:

I can tell you my wife who is a big Starbuck latte customer (sometimes 3 a day) is livid when she gets a cup that is not closely filled to the top! In fact, she as stopped going to some Starbuck stores because of this. She had no idea that this was their practice, she thought it was just a careless barista and decided not to go back to those stores who follow what we are now learning is “company practice”.

Well, let's not get ahead of the story ... Starbucks is accused, but nothing has been proven.

From MNB reader Scott Zeiher:

Yo KC!!!  Being a loyal Starbucks “contributor” I mostly order just coffee.  However, I stumbled across an item called a Flat White?  And I have noticed that in some locations, it can be a very light fill.  To the point where I have told them to put more coffee and less foam into the cup.  In addition when you order a double expresso, you get 1.5oz’s instead of 2???  There’s some fuzzy math going on here and I’d say there’s a basis for the suite!!

And MNB user Bruce Wesbury wrote:

Seems to me you had a big problem with Whole Food charging for underweight items about a month ago. What gives?

I think in the Whole Foods case the allegations were proven. In the Starbucks case, the allegations are just that - two Californians filed a class action lawsuit. But if this is demonstrated to be systemic and cultural, I'll have a major problem with Starbucks. And Starbucks will have a major problem with a lot of its customers.
KC's View: