Starbucks: The Dictator of Time


Claire Weltz, Opinion Writer

As an ex-Starbucks barista, I am here to tell you that our calendar is no longer determined by the movements of the sun, moon, and stars. Time isn’t measured by cesium atoms – no, no, absolutely not. The most efficient way to keep track of the change of seasons is through the release of Starbucks’ seasonal drinks. According to my calculations, the coffee powerhouse does five seasonal drink releases: winter, spring, summer, fall, and holiday. This means that there are actually five seasons. If you combine winter and holiday, I can see where some might see it match the traditional four seasons that we know and love, but the fact of the matter is this: Starbucks controls our perception of time.  

Seriously, think about it! Ask anyone what they think of when they think of fall. You’ll probably get the changing of leaves, back to school, and pumpkin spice lattes. From my experience working for Starbucks, the pumpkin spice sauce comes out on the last Tuesday of August. (Please note that I said sauce and not syrup. These terms are not interchangeable to a barista. Mocha, white mocha, and the since retired dark caramel are sauces. Vanilla, caramel, toffee nut, and the like are syrups. The difference, you may ask? Sauces are thicker in consistency and mix better in hot rather than iced drinks. The sauces also are deeper in color. Syrups are at most a light tan, but they’re usually almost clear due to the company’s campaign to remove artificial colors. That’s another story for another day….)  


Pumpkin spice latte season marks the start of fall, even though most areas around the world haven’t dipped under a balmy seventy degrees yet. In addition to this, the autumnal equinox doesn’t occur for another month! Even the pumpkins aren’t ready for PSL season in August! During the time of year Starbucks releases its fall drinks, pumpkins are closer in appearance to a green watermelon that one would associate with summer rather than the bright orange that comes to mind when thinking of pumpkins.  

All of this is to say that Starbucks controls time, forcing the masses to accept fall too soon. By making it fall in August, we miss out on the dwindling days of summer. Now, I’m not going to ask you to write to your Senators to demand that Starbucks releases the pumpkin spice latte on the autumnal equinox, but if you did, I’d love a copy of their response. If Starbucks truly does have the power to control time, I vote that they hand over their information so that we can bypass the rest of 2020 since it has been a dumpster fire of a year.  


Claire Weltz is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected].