Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
If there's one thing Starbucks has tried to do over the last year, it's steer away from major social issues.
It's tried not to offend with its Christmas cups, nor has it actively suggested its baristas chat to customers about race first thing in the morning.
Yet just as it thought it had entered calm waters, another enormous issue has suddenly erupted.
It involves a new drink called the Cloud Macchiato.
What could possibly be controversial about "layers of fluffy foam, cascading espresso, vanilla-flavored syrup and a drizzle of caramel served over ice"?
Other than that, at 2.5 grams of saturated fat, it sounds remarkably unhealthy.
Oh, but perhaps you weren't aware that this gourmet concoction was created in collaboration with Ariana Grande. You know, the famous singer.
Grande is also a famous vegan.
And, as BuzzFeed helpfully discovered, dedicated Grande (either Ariana or Macchiato) fans delved into the list of ingredients and were stunned to discover its veganness was compromised.
There's Egg White Powder. There's Butter. There's Heavy Cream. There's Nonfat Dry Milk.
There's even Meat Extract.
I'm sorry, that last one is totally inaccurate.
Still, ire reigned in the place where ire most finds its throne: Twitter.
I thought Starbucks new drink since it's being endorsed by Ariana Grande would be able to be made vegan since you know she IS vegan, but upon research it has egg white powder in. V sad-- Jinna (@JinnaOhara) March 8, 2019
Oh, there was more.
Even Starbucks baristas felt pained and put upon.
As a barista AT Starbucks, I think it's really weird that Ariana Grande is the ambassador for the new drink. You literally cannot make it vegan, the key ingredient in cloud powder is egg whites to make it more like meringue-- Rayyy (@memerayo) March 6, 2019
Naturally, I contacted Starbucks to ask how it's feeling about this painful lurch into the pit of lifestyle purgatory.
I'll update, should I receive a reply.
Will Starbucks vent(i) or will it offer a tall story?
I really shouldn't have written that last sentence.
Still, people can be touchy about what they're ingesting these days. Many take it far more seriously than people used to.
Also, it's always worth, when you're working with stars, focusing on any potentially thorny issues in their lives.
They're larger than life, after all. They're worshipped beyond reason. Sometimes, then, reactions associated with them are beyond reason too.
Stars, too, have a brand. And sometimes, brands and stars aren't perfectly aligned.
A little like stars and other stars when they date.