For a while I was boycotting Starbucks. Between pulling the delicious and gluten free orange valencia cake to being infuriatingly inconsistent with the information they provide about the gluten status of their drinks, it was mostly a point of principle.
However, I've gone back. I'm not quite at my previous five-latte-a-week habit, but I've had two lattes so far today. (Full disclosure before you think I'm absolutely terrible: as I'm writing this it's the day after we "sprung forward," I worked an eight-hour workday and I am currently waiting for an evening class running 6 - 9:45 to start). They're delicious, and the caffeine boost - especially when workplace coffee leaves much to be desired - is a godsend.
I'm torn - I love their products, and there are really no convenient alternatives for me based on where I live and work (I hate Dunkin' Donuts). But Starbucks as a whole would leave a much better taste in my mouth (no pun intended) if they (you, if you're from Starbucks and reading this) did the following:
- Decide if you want to cater to the gluten free community or not. The orange valencia cake was great, and I can understand pulling it. But then "replacing" it with poor substitutes? I mean, really... who wants dried apple slices with their macchiato?
- And when it comes to specialty drinks - please train your customer service representatives to be consistent. If I call twice and e-mail once, I'll get three different answers. And while I get that e-mail is persistent and that in this litigious day and age you want to CYA -- it's really not helpful to only say "Um, everything can be cross contaminated." Especially when your reps will tell you which drinks do and don't have gluten. In the corporate world that's the equivalent of giving the finger (with an upward shove for emphasis) to the entire gluten free community.
- Get some gluten free prepackaged snacks. I mean look at the protein plate - would it be really hard to replace the meusli bread with flax crackers and make -one- gluten free grab-and-go option?? We're not talking gluten free bread or pastries here. It's not THAT complicated and it would make a lot of people really, really happy.