The Tyranny of Starbucks

By Kylie Torres

Who cares about a red cup? Let’s focus on spelling.

Honestly, this red cup drama has gone far enough. How about we talk about some real Starbucks news, like how they spell your name.

This past summer I had the opportunity to travel in Ireland, the UK, France, and Spain. While in each country, I was sure to stop by a few Starbucks locations. Seeing how the company glocalized itself in each country was interesting–but not as interesting as trying to order a soy mocha no whip in Paris without speaking a word of French and watching how much they butchered my name, which is Kylie (KY-lee), by the way. As a disclaimer, if a barista asked how to spell my name I told them to guess, for research purposes, of course.


First drink purchased was in Dublin Ireland. The barista asked me what my name was three times, the poor man was from Turkey and had never heard of my name before. I have no idea what this says. Kalcccy? Kaicyil? Kalcyy? Some type of hieroglyphics? Your guess is as good as mine. Don’t worry, I tipped the man for trying.


Next stop, London, England. Okay, Kaly.. I forgive this barista. Though, this person was from England and spoke English. Maybe he couldn’t understand what I said through my thick, uneducated, American accent.

Made another Starbucks stop in London to see if they could redeem themselves. They didn’t. Kaylei is closer than Kaly, I’ll give this barista that. Kylei would have earned him more points though. This barista in particular was annoyed with me for not spelling my name out, so I got a little bit of that London sass thrown in, at no cost. It felt like I was getting scolded in a low budget Harry Potter movie; I loved every second of it.


This Starbucks experience was by far my favorite. This comical disaster happened in Paris, France. I ordered a soy mocha with no whip cream over ice. Guys, let me type it again, I ordered a soy mocha with no whip cream over ice. Incase you have been playing too much Fallout 4 and forgot what the real world looks like, reference the above iced beverage photo for what this drink should be.

When the barista handed this to me, I couldn’t even try to tell him that’s not what I wanted at all. He made many attempts to understand what my order, but alas, to no avail. I think he heard the word “ice” and just ran with it. Moving onto the name, Carry, I’ll take it. The poor barista suffered enough. Carry is probably Kylie in French? As they say in the south, bless his heart. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the drink was delicious. It was some type of crushed ice peach tea concoction. I wasn’t mad at it.


Of course, I gave Paris another chance, Disneyland Paris to be exact. The side of this cup distinctly reads “Kelly.” But hey, at lest I look cute AND my order was right.


My last stop and my last hope for proper spelling, Spain! This beverage was purchased in Barcelona, where Kelly seemed to follow me from Paris. It’s interesting to me because in Spanish the double “L” sound is pronounced like the “Y” in yeast. So really “Kelly” reads as “Ke-yee-ee. The most reasonable explanation for this is that all of the sangria I drank in Spain caused brain damage and affected my speech. Spain did not receive a redemption attempt, because why buy more coffee when you could buy more sangria?


So, Sporkers, do you have a funny Starbucks spelling story you would like to share? Be sure to leave it in the comments and drop a picture!

Post and Photos by Kylie (but you can call her Khyyelhi) Torres.