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Focus on your own Venti

When I first heard about how Mike Bloomberg’s food Nazi rules were going to affect coffee vendors, I thought it was going too far.  In case you aren’t up to date, Bloomberg is turning New York City into a helicopter parent’s wet dream.  There are rules on fat content, calorie labels and now, no sugary drink   can be over 16 ounces.  That’s to prevent you from binging on a “medium” soda while you’re watching a movie at a theater once a month.  {{rolling eyes}} So, let me see, most of the time, I order a bottle of water but Ok, maybe twice a year, I get a Pepsi.  I’m pretty sure that my muffin top is caused by my insufficient exercise, not my soda consumption, which is insignificant as far as calories go.  Nevertheless, I can’t be trusted around a large drink.  Whatever.  Mind you, Bloomberg has no power to stop people from buying multiple 2 liter bottles of soda and OD-ing on them at home, which is where the big problem is.  In any case, I don’t go to the city to see movies and now I have even less incentive to do so.

We rarely drink sugary soda at home.  It’s up there with Wonder Bread as the things we consume almost never.  Your mileage may vary.  But all in all, I don’t think fast food soda and drinks are the biggest problem we face as a nation.  I chalk these rules up to control.  Yep, the past 30 years have been all about how we can’t (or refuse to) control bankers and financiers who want to rob us blind but we *can* stop ordinary people from doing things we don’t like.  Lifestyle control.  Funny how conservative focus so much energy on lust and gluttony but completely ignore the deadly sin of Greed.  Hmmm…

ANYWAY, like I said, the whole drink rule is stupidly intrusive.  And then I read this about what effect it might have on Starbucks:

Then there is Starbucks, which interprets the rules as saying baristas can add sugar to large coffee drinks as long as the customer asks first; the city says the amount must be limited. Rather than spending money now on reprinting menus and retraining baristas, the company is waiting to make changes while officials gauge the response from city inspectors — and the outcome of a pending lawsuit against the rules filed by the beverage industry.

“A majority of our drinks fall outside of the ban, and we’re not expecting to make any immediate changes next week,” said Linda Mills, a spokeswoman for Starbucks, which has more than 300 locations throughout the city.

A typical grande beverage at Starbucks is 16 ounces; venti sizes and above will be affected. Many popular espresso drinks at Starbucks, like caramel macchiatos and pumpkin spice lattes, would be exempt from the restrictions, because they often contain a lot of milk. But Starbucks is unsure how to measure the milk content of the popular Frappuccinos, which are about 60 percent ice.

It’s too bad that it is an intrusively stupid health nanny rule that is forcing Starbucks to look at the sugar content of their drinks.  I love Starbucks flavored coffee drinks like pumpkin spice latte but they put waaaaay too much sugar in them, even in the Tall sizes.  What I want from a pumpkin spice latte is the spice and not to be overwhelmed with sugar.  But you can’t separate them when you order.  It’s either get the full dose of sugar or order half as much sugar (which is still pretty sweet) and get the spice cut in half.   There’s no way to just get all the spice with half the sugar. So, these days, I pass on the specialty concoctions even if I prefer flavor in my coffee.

Oh, the Barrista says, we have a sugar-free version.  Blecchhh.  It’s not the sugar I object to, it’s the amount of sugar.  Americans do have a sweet tooth and it’s apparently 5 times less sensitive than mine.  So, if this makes Starbucks rethink their formulas, then I can’t be too upset with this new rule.  If you absolutely must have 10 tablespoons of sugar in your Venti Pumpkin Spice latte, you can always add more on your own. Starbucks could be fully customizable and I won’t be forced to drink a one-size-fits-all formula based on the preferences of some 28 year old woman in Ohio.

I know, I know, first world problem.

Otherwise, this is a stupid rule.  Wake me when Mark Bittman gets in a snit to regulate the bankers over the LIBOR scandal.

6 Responses

  1. I’m sure that the next step will be to require a permit in order to buy sugar. Anytime you want to buy anything with sugar in it, you’ll have to get a new permit from the city. Permits will be strictly controlled and require a background check. You will need a “legitimate reason” to purchase sugar. A simple desire for something sweet will not be enough.

    This will, of course, result in criminal enterprises smuggling sugar into NYC – which will cause Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg to launch a nationwide campaign to impose similar restrictions in other jurisdictions. Newspapers will editorialize on the need need for “Saccharide Control”, and at least one will publish a map showing the location of every sugar permit holder in its surrounding area. There will be some controversy over the legal status of polysaccharides – this will be resolved by declaring starch a Schedule III controlled substance. Cellulose will not require a prescription, since the human digestive tract is unable to break down the β-glycosidic bonds to convert it into glucose. The DEA will, however, track purchases of cellulose, since it will be considered a “precursor”.

    The President will promote legislation to limit the size of sugar packets available to the public. Sugar packets manufactured before the ban will be grandfathered in, which will lead to a massive increase in the manufacture and sale of large containers of sugar before the ban goes into effect.

    “Pre-ban” packets will command hefty premiums on Ebay and Craigslist.

    DHS will issue an RFP for the development of a remote sugar detector which will be suitable for deployment at TSA checkpoints and for incorporation in the domestic version of the Predator and Reaper drones. The Attorney General will deny that there is any intention to use these detectors for targeting of Hellfire missiles at the current time, but will assert that the President has the authority to change this policy at will. Dianne Feinstein will introduce a bill to strip citizenship and indefinitely detain those suspected of hoarding sugar, citing her own personal experience of the Milk/Moscone assassination as proof that sugar constitutes a grave and imminent threat to public safety.

    • Well, that would be the War On Drugs model and the War On Guns model, if we decide to start one.

      I read the Bittman article and it didn’t seem related to the BusyBully Bloomberg SugarNanny Rule. It seemed like a perfectly reasonable sugarsnit on its own terms. If he interprets correctly the science he refers to, and if in fact that science is/was correct as far as we know,
      and if ( as other posts here have suggested) we need to control long-term health-care costs; then we need to face up to the fact of future trillion-dollar costs imposed on the country through the mass-dosing of fructogenic sugar and HFCS and tec. over the next few decades.

      So if a War On Sugar is just as evil-minded as any other War On Drugs, what should we do? I would suggest a Sugar Diseases Treatment Tax charge on sugar/HFCS/etc. at their first point of sale into the food-system. The costs will be passed down the line to the ultimate sugarfood consumer, as they should be. The money should be strictly reserved and set aside to treat sugar-genic diseases like diabetes and its collateral damages.

  2. What about waffle syrup? That got a lot of sugar in don’t it?
    What will Obama do without his waffle fix? I mean he has to be a role model right?

  3. I can’t justify the price of Starbuck’s for every day coffee (est $120/mo for one $4 cup of coffee doesn’t fit my budget), so I make it at home for two of us, and then spluge on the additions, such as creamer with flavoring in it, taking extra in travel cups. On a cold, wintery weekend when I don’t have to go anywhere, I add a dash of amaretto. For people who don’t have time to make their own coffee, or who need coffee when they are not at home, there are boxes of individual servings of flavored coffee creamers at grocery stores to add to whatever coffee is available.

    • I’m sure there are people who buy Starbucks everyday but I am not one of them. I only buy coffee there when I’m at the mall or need to buy beans.
      Most of the time, I buy the cheap coffee at the local convenience store. But it’s not the same as having a vanilla latte at Starbucks.
      For the record, Small World Coffee in Princeton has the best Vanilla Lattes but it’s 9 miles south on Rt 206 and around here, that’s like a road trip.

  4. We got a Keurig brewer for Christmas. The brewer makes perfectly fine single cups for 50 to 65 cents per cup (depending on the deals for coffee) and has replaced Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and convenience store coffee in our household. Don’t buy the light roast blends (too weak).

    The result is coffee in about a minute with no clean up. Starbucks cups are available but are not the lowest priced item. Target has the best deal on Starbucks locally. Bed, Bath and Beyond is best for some varieties. Shop Rite is a little more expensive even on sale.

    The other alternative is gourmet tea which we get over the net (it is the same brand used at Panera Bread) for about 17 cents a cup for the large package (250 bags for $42 including shipping).

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