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  • Good grammar leads to violence at Starbucks?


Comments Aug 17, 2010 2:56 am

How unfortunate that the scripted conformity of language you describe is now extended to public school teachers, at least in the k-12 years. Your description of how baristas and clerks are treated is very much how teachers are treated--except now we are to be fired if the customer does not produce the required response.

Reply to at 2:56 am Aug 31, 2010 5:03 am

In case you were wondering, in Italian we say "il barista" (plural "i baristi") to refer to a male barista, and "la barista" (plural "le bariste") if she is female. Etymology: "bar" (English word!) plus suffix -ista which indicates a profession.

Reply to at 5:03 am Sep 4, 2010 1:58 pm

I don't get the grammar argument by the professor. The question "Do you want butter or cream cheese?" is, in logic, a question that the professor must either assign a value of TRUE or FALSE (or "yes" or "no").The professor wants neither butter nor cream cheese, the answer is FALSE (NO).The professor wants butter the answer is TRUE (YES).The professor wants cream cheese the answer is TRUE (YES).The professor wants butter and cream cheese the answer is TRUE (YES).Now if the professor wanted to get cute, she could have simply answered "Yes" to the question without specifying, because the barista technically was not asking her what specific topping she wanted.

Reply to at 1:58 pm Sep 9, 2010 4:54 am

I don't think it's as clear cut as you have made it seem (wes228).The Barista simply asked (quite impolitely, if you ask me): "Do you want butter or cheese?" insinuating that one or the other had to be chosen, technically removing the option of having the bagel without butter or cheese. All this possibly in an effort to up-sell and increase the cost per transaction. Clever trick but unfortunately not clever enough for some. That's the impression I got anyway.

Reply to at 4:54 am Dec 1, 2010 5:59 pm

While I can understand the frustration of the professor at having to answer to business speak, demeaning someone who is trying to assist you is an ill-mannered method of expressing it. Perhaps she was unaware that it is very rude to correct someone's speech in public; her ignorance notwithstanding, she crossed a very bright line of public etiquette when she verbalized obscenities at the clerk.She needs to get over herself.Additionally...English is a truly bastardized language, if one examines its history with any care at all. I'm sure our professor has read the Old English "Beowulf", the Middle English "Canterbury Tales", and a number if not all of Shakespeare's works...shall I go on with examples? It would be impossible not to notice not only the changes in diction over time, but also the nearly malfeasant abuse of contemporary grammar to be found in each example.That our language may be changing (evolving? devolving?) due to the influence of modern society is to be expected, for fair or for worse. Resistance to this does NOT, however, excuse demeaning or otherwise humiliating another human being.EVER.

Reply to at 5:59 pm