One Grande Half-Caf, Hold the Metaphor

I’m rooting for Starbucks. And for Howard Schultz, too. But sometimes the company’s pretentiousness gets in the way of its progress.

Take Starbucks’ new “splash stick” as an example.

Many commuters love it. Designers deride it. And environmentalists question why we need more plastic littering the world.

I’ll let those debates percolate on other sites. My beef is with the bravado that Schultz used to announce this four-and-a-half-inch cup-hole stopper on his blog:

I now recognize that the “splash stick,” is a metaphor for what we do every day to exceed the expectations of our customers. I don’t know another company that would go to such lengths to design the perfect tool to elegantly prevent a customer from spilling coffee … and that is exactly what we have done. The “splash stick,” although small in size, and brewed reinvention, although large in scale, are threaded together to enable customers, and all of you, to have an exceptional experience that only we can provide.

OK, I know that’s how Howard speaks. But that kind of florid language only reinforces the la-di-da image that so many consumers have of Starbucks today, and that Dunkin’ Donuts is capitalizing on so brilliantly. Time to get real, guys. Sometimes a piece of plastic is just a piece of plastic.