Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sizes matter

Curse the person who first decided that it would make a product more appealing to rename product sizes from the logical small, medium, and large to something more catchy. First they got rid of small and started sizes with medium, which was annoying enough. Then they started renaming the "large" size. At Wendy's, you can't get a large order of fries; you have to get a "biggie." (Or at least, that used to be the case; I haven't eaten at Wendy's in a while.) I refuse to say biggie. Once I ordered a large fries and the cashier asked, "You mean a biggie?" "Yeah."

Then they started getting really crazy and just naming the sizes whatever they felt like. Starbucks was an early leader, with the famous "tall" drink being the smallest size on the menu (though I understand you can actually order a "short"). Then comes "grande," Spanish for "large," and finally "venti," Italian for "20" (the number of ounces in a cup). Who wants to have to figure out what size drink to order? Below is a clip from the movie "Role Models" in which a guy refuses to order using Starbucks's insane sizing system, which cracked me up. I also laughed at Burger King's coffee ad: "Comes in three easy-to-pronounce sizes."

I thought Starbucks was the worst until I ate at Coldstone's, where the sizes are "like it," "love it," and "gotta have it." Give me a break. I'm starting to think that companies do this, not in the relatively benign attempt to make their product sound more exciting, but simply to confuse the customer. Coldstone's wall menu shows pictures and descriptions for only the most expensive items -- you have to figure out that cheaper items (like normal ice cream, or ice cream with just one mix-in) aren't listed.

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