Hey retailers: stop putting words in my mouth! There is a long-understood system of ordering, and it’s not cute when you create your own language – it’s frustrating.
The sizing system is one of the biggest examples. I can’t count how many times I’ve been aggravated by this. There’s Small, Medium, and Large, dammit! If you want to add an Extra Large, then that is also acceptable. But please stop creating your own size names.
I don’t even like going to Cold Stone Creamery because, for all that is holy, I am not ordering a Like It, Love It, or Gotta Have It. Does this sound right to you? “I’d like a Like It.” No. That sounds like you’re struggling to master the English language. And the worst part is when they correct me. “A Medium? Do you mean a Love It? No, I definitely did not!
While we’re on the subject, I’d like to use this size mentality and kindly ask everyone to stop calling me short. From now on, please call me Tall and call everyone else Grande (if you go to Starbucks, then you know what I’m talking about). I don’t buy anything from Starbucks very often, but when I do, I feel like I’m in a foreign country trying to pick up the language before everyone stops and looks at me like the tourist that I am. If you ask people that go regularly, sometimes they’ll even get tripped up trying to list the Starbucks sizes in order. When Tall is the Small, confusion naturally will follow. And now Starbucks has introduced a new size, Trenta. Trenta means 30 in Italian, so naturally at Starbucks it means 31 (ounces). When will the madness end?!
(The picture on the above left is from a brilliant Brandchannel video called: “Starbucks ‘Trenta’ Gets Taiwan Animation Treatment: ZOMBIES!” I highly recommend it – watch it if you want a good laugh!)
All Starbucks jokes aside, sometimes retailers still find a way to be convoluted even when they use the traditional terms. For example, I die a little inside every time I order a Small and someone says, “Sorry, but we only carry a Medium size.” Doesn’t it make sense to name your smallest size Small? I guess not.
Of course, if you want to get technical, this retail confusion extends past just sizing and into pretty much everything you’re trying to order. I like slushies, and one place I go has a really good one. But it’s called the “Rockin’ Tropical Punch Fruit Freezer,” so whenever I order the “Red Freeze” and they don’t understand what that means, then I just get a Sprite instead.
Some of these naming errors can be great comedy fodder, but in all honesty, it makes me not want to buy the product I would actually be happy to buy otherwise. Sorry, but I just don’t feel comfortable ordering when I don’t know or like the created language to do so. Why create that barrier between you and your customers? I don’t think anyone would have NOT bought your item if you just called in a Medium. So why make it difficult?
Have you figured out Starbucks’ 31-ounce Trenta mystery? Do you also feel that cutesy naming schemes are confusing and out of control at restaurants and stores?