Is it French, or is it Italian?

Here’s to baristas who get upset because I order a tall instead of a small or a small instead of a tall. This picture hails from Phoenix, where I obediently ordered a small latte to avoid offense.

Coffee shops all have their own little codes and cues, and the snottier they get, the tougher it can be for customers to just get their good ol’ cup of Joe. And it’s not just the down home ones that want you to order in English. Some places equate the Italian sizes with Starbucks (plus tall, wherever that originates) and shun them to assert their counterculture cool. Not cool.

Before you think I’m endorsing the Dunkin Donuts’ haterade against Italian size names, I’m not. Commercials like the one referenced in the headline and the one below after the jump are as annoying as the barista who says, “You mean a grande?”

There’s nothing wrong with a little foreign language spilling into your morning order, although plenty of tea-party activists in Phoenix told me they would like English to be our official language. Even if it were, as long as we continue to say words like cliche, feng shui, zen and nirvana, I think we can handle a little grande in our lives as well.

What we (or at least I) can’t take is the attitude establishments will give you for ordering a drink “wrong.” Most baristas who have been around the block know exactly what I mean when I say tall or small, so just give me the cup of coffee. Often when they ask for clarification, I’ll just say, “That’s a 12 ounce cup,” and that ends the debate right there. But please, don’t make me order in numbers.

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