Let me paint you a scene. I had just arrived at Boston Logan Airport, ready to head back to Notre Dame for the last time as an undergrad. It was a bittersweet moment for me, so I decided to fuel myself with some comfort food — coffee and a glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts. In a
pinch, there’s nothing that makes me feel better.
I stood munching my delicious glazed confection waiting for my coffee at the pickup window. I had found joy in my life. Until they put the coffee in front of me. Instead of the usual foam cup stood a tiny cardboard one. That wasn’t the problem — I’m not particularly partial to any type of cup. It was the size. I had ordered a small, but this cup of coffee was tiny. A small, not two sips!
I was so confused, I barely got off a thank you to the person working behind the counter. And then, being the ever-inquisitive college student I am, I sat down at a table to ponder this new development.
Luckily, Logan has free Wi-Fi, so no speculation was needed to figure out the evil plot behind this size change. I also perused the board at Dunkies (I had a while before my flight and you can blame my senioritis on the fact that I wasn’t going to touch the textbook in my backpack). Turns out, Dunkin’ Donuts has changed to a new sizing system. Except unlike Starbucks, who just added a new size at the end of their sizes, the Treinta, Dunkin’ Donuts totally resized their drinks.
Now, they have small (10 oz.), medium (14 oz.), large (20 oz.), and extra large (24 oz.).
America runs on Dunkin’. Just not on its normal size.
Why did Dunkin’ Donuts do this? I have no idea. I have Google-searched this topic far too much and yielded no answers — an investigatory email has been sent, however. The only answer I can come with is the trend of vanity sizing.
Vanity sizing is a serious problem in women’s clothing. Due to increased obesity rates in Americans, stores have begun tailoring their sizes to make women feel better about their bodies. Two years ago you were a size 4 at The Gap? Well, a size 4 is actually now a size 2. Congratulations, you’ve lost weight! Or at least we’re going to trick you into believing you have shed a clothing size.
Because women want to be told they’re skinny. They want to be told they look great (men, take notes). So if they go into one store and fit a size 6, then head to another store and fit a size 4, subconsciously, they like store No. 2 better.
This is all well and good. Who doesn’t like to feel good about themselves? But what about when you’re ordering clothes online? A small might not be
as small as the last time you ordered clothes. So you have to hedge your bets and order two sizes so that you can try them on at home, only to go through the hassle of sending one back. All because women — and I’m not judging, rather including myself in this — are insecure creatures. Blame society, blame our genetic makeup, whatever. It’s just true.
I struggled, though, trying to apply this concept to coffee sizing. I wanted at least 12 oz. of coffee that afternoon. Would I have felt better about myself ordering that medium? I know for sure I would’ve been more energized, with those
extra four ounces of caffeine.
Maybe, though, in caffeinated beverages, bigger is better. You hold that 24-oz. extra large coffee and you’re telling the
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world that you work hard. You stay up late, only getting 4-6 hours of sleep so you can finish that project for work or school. And then you still make it there the next day. Maybe my stomach can’t hold that much liquid (here’s looking at you, Starbucks Treinta), but I look dedicated heading to work with that huge coffee or ordering that extra large with a long line of people behind me.
Because size does matter. But not enough that I have to re-evaluate my dress size every three months or my drink size every two years.
People say we coddle our children by awarding everyone prizes in sports for participating or telling them that they’re good at everything. Well, adults, take a look at your own lives. You assign arbitrary sizes to clothing and drinks to suit your own egos.
This article probably isn’t going to stimulate enormous change in society, I know that. But I hope that it will reach a few people who will double check the order board next time they’re getting coffee somewhere. And to any marketing person reading this, please stop this as a marketing campaign. It’s very confusing.
Size matters, so keep it simple.