The Sneaky Way Starbucks Is Scamming You

Take a simple look at Starbucks' wealth, and it's easy to assess that a company worth billions is pretty popular with a lot of people. After all, a company doesn't sell a bazillion cups of coffee if people don't like it, right? But for every person out there who can't get their day started until they get a venti caramel Frappuccino, there's someone else who thinks Starbucks is a complete ripoff. 

People have been complaining about Starbucks' business practices for years. Some disgruntled folks have even gotten the courts involved. In fact, the U.S. government sued Starbucks in April, though that case was about the company's alleged retaliation against workers who attempted to unionize, rather than about the company's products.

Truth be told, Starbucks may be scamming you, but it's probably not much worse than any other mega-corporation out there. How the company is doing it, though, might surprise you.

Pay attention to the ice in your Starbucks cup

"I ordered a grande iced coffee today and it was at least 2/3 ice. Felt like a rip-off when I was quickly done with it." That's how one person blasted Starbucks on Reddit, and they're certainly not alone in that opinion. People have taken issue with the amount of ice Starbucks puts in its cold beverages for years

Social media is full of people complaining about and even poking fun at the coffee chain for supposedly loading its drinks with ice to save money by giving the customer less of the beverage they're paying for. 

To combat this, you could try ordering your drink with "light ice" — but that doesn't mean you'll actually get light ice. "It seems like at least 1/3 times I get regular ice or even more than regular," one person who orders "light ice" complained on Reddit.

There was a lawsuit over the Starbucks ice issue

Starbucks' apparent ice issue has outraged so many customers that a class-action lawsuit was filed against Starbucks over the matter in 2016, per The Washington Post. However, it was eventually dismissed, with Judge Percy Anderson shooting down any merit in the lawsuit. 

"When a reasonable consumer walks into a Starbucks and orders a Grande iced tea, that consumer knows the size of the cup that drink will be served in and that a portion of the drink will consist of ice," Anderson said, via the Post. And given the fact that Starbucks uses clear cups for its iced drinks — making the amount of ice used in each beverage visible — the judge didn't believe customers were being misled.

Whether it's a coffee shop or any other business, it's ultimately up to consumers whether or not they want to give businesses their money.

Can you ask Starbucks baristas for no ice?

You might have seen this one on a list of supposed Starbucks hacks: Order your drink with no ice and ask for a cup of ice on the side. That way, you can add it yourself instead, theoretically getting more of the drink you ordered in the original cup.

However, ordering your drink without ice might still lead to disappointment. Starbucks baristas have likely heard this "trick" before, and you're not going to pull a fast one over on the company. In a February TikTok video, one customer claimed that she ordered a cold drink with "no ice" at Starbucks and was given a cup that was more than half empty. (The barista reportedly told her it would cost extra to fill the cup to the top.)

As Newsweek explained, some self-identified Starbucks employees responded to the TikTok by noting that the company has pre-determined measurements for its drinks, regardless of the amount of ice they contain. "There are recipes and measurements for all the drinks ... We can't just make new measurements when you ask for no ice," one commenter wrote, via Newsweek. The "no ice" hack may work for fountain drinks, but don't be surprised if it doesn't fly at Starbucks.