So-called “rainbow drinks” that aren’t on the Starbucks menu but are popular on social media this summer leave some customers and baristas confused. Also: Hope Solo lists Kirkland home for sale, Microsoft’s intern email-fail, and Nordstrom goes the extra few yards for customers.
The brightly colored Starbucks drinks — the so-called “rainbow drinks” found only on the company’s “secret menu” — are all over social media right now.
But they also seem to be causing at least some confusion, if not headaches, for baristas.
The brightly hued drinks, made on request by baristas with ingredients carried in Starbucks stores, such as Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers, and Iced Passion Tango Tea, first took off on social media earlier this summer.
The #PinkDrink was eventually followed by other colors including #OrangeDrink and #PurpleDrink.
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And as the oh-so-Instagrammable drinks were photographed and shared, more and more people wanted them.
The problem is, these concoctions are not on Starbucks’ official menu.
Rather, they are on what’s known as Starbucks’ “secret menu” — drinks dreamed up by baristas or fans that are not part of the company’s official recipes.
Hence some of the woebegone comments from seekers of rainbow drinks:
“It’s really unfortunate when you go to a Starbucks and they act like they have no idea what I’m talking about nor will they make it for me,” one Instragram commenter wrote.
“I asked for green drink at the loop and they didn’t know what I meant,” another said.
And from a barista: “As a barista, how do we charge for the orange drink?”
The website and online community Barista Life addressed this directly in a recent post on how to order a rainbow drink.
“The Starbucks ‘secret menu’ is most secretive to the people making your drinks; the baristas,” the post says. “If you want a ‘Pink Drink’ or a ‘#PinkDrink’ or if ‘on Wednesdays, you wear Pink,” we will make you a ‘Pink Drink’… All we, your baristas, ask from you is you simply provide us with a recipe.
“If you come up to the register or the drive-thru and order the ‘Orange Drink,’ your barista is going to have no idea what you are talking about,” the post continues. “We are not paid to know ‘secret menu’ drinks.”
Starbucks, seeing the rising popularity of the colorful drinks, provided recipes for each of the colors last week. #PinkDrink, for instance, is made with Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers with no water, sub coconut milk. #OrangeDrink is made with orange mango juice with vanilla bean powder and a splash of coconut milk.
Erin Shane Riley, a Starbucks spokeswoman, says she doesn’t know the origins of the rainbow drinks.
“This is something our fans created, our customers created,” she said. “We have 170,000 different drink combinations at Starbucks if you look at the different kinds of milks, toppings, etc…. Because these aren’t official drinks, we ask customers, if they know it, to give the recipe to the barista when they order it.”
Jaime Prater, a Starbucks barista in Southern California who started an online petition urging the company to do something about what he sees as understaffing at stores, said the company regards Frappuccinos as labor intensive.
But “the pink and purple drinks — they’re as labor intensive, if not more so than Frappuccinos,” he said.
— Janet I. Tu
Hope Solo lists Kirkland home
Just days after touting her Kirkland mansion as the place she’s happiest, soccer superstar Hope Solo has put the home where she lives with her husband, a former Seahawk, up for sale.
Solo was featured in a first-person piece in The Wall Street Journal at the end of June, photographed with her two dogs at the Eastside mansion.
“It’s the place I’m happiest,” Solo wrote in the piece that appeared June 28. The home hit the market four days later.
It’s unclear why she’s selling or where she’s going — a spokeswoman declined to comment, and the listing agent did not return messages seeking comment.
One potential reason? To try and cash in on the local real estate price boom.
Solo listed the property for $1.85 million, after buying it for $1.2 million in 2012.
If the home sells for that price, it would net her a 54 percent profit, in line with what other local sellers are seeing. In that neighborhood, the median home price has soared 65 percent since she bought there four years ago, from $379,900 to $625,000 today, according to data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. That tracks a similar, 59 percent rise across all of King County during that span.
Solo in May sold a much smaller house in Kirkland for $355,000 after buying it for $259,000 in 2005.
The latest home for sale is next to the lake, nestled against a tree-lined hill, with mountain and city views.
The 5,300-square-foot, four-bedroom house on Northeast 138th Place has a full-sized tennis court with a basketball hoop, two garages with room for six cars, a pool and hot tub, wine cellar, two fireplaces and a “chef’s kitchen.”
The city placed a $20,633 lien against the property in 2013 for an emergency sewer project in the neighborhood, and Solo satisfied the lien last month.
The Richland native and former University of Washington standout is now the goalie for the Seattle Reign FC. The former Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion is getting ready to help the U.S. women’s team in the Olympics next month in Rio.
Solo, 34, lives in the home with her husband Jerramy Stevens, a former tight end for the Seattle Seahawks.
Not mentioned in the listing is the home’s checkered past.
In 2012, shortly after Solo moved in, her then-fiancée, Stevens, was arrested at the house on suspicion of assaulting Solo, though he was never charged. The couple got married quickly after the arrest.
She still faces charges over the incident, in which police say she assaulted her half-sister and nephew.
— Mike Rosenberg
Microsoft is sorry about email invite
In the gamut of things Microsoft has had to apologize for lately, including a racist chatbot and sexy dancers, this might be one of the strangest: The company sent an email inviting interns to a party that begins: “Hey Bae Intern! <3’‘ and gets worse from there, offering ``lots of dranks’‘ and the ability to ``get lit on a Monday night.’‘
If that’s not alluring enough to the young folk, there’s also the promise of beer pong and “hella noms” (If you’re over 40, try www.urbandictionary.com to translate).
Since taking over as chief executive officer in 2014, Satya Nadella has been working to update and revitalize Microsoft for the new generation of computing, but this may not be exactly what he had in mind.
The company issued an apology within hours of the invites going viral on social networks, noting that “the email was poorly worded and not in keeping with our values as a company.” The statement promised an investigation into what happened and appropriate steps to address it.
As it reaches middle age, the software maker — founded in 1975 — wants to make sure it can still appeal to and recruit from the Snapchat generation, but its efforts sometimes miss the mark. Microsoft’s last attempt to target this demographic, the Tay chatbot, also forced an apology in March after internet denizens hijacked it, teaching it to spew racist, sexist and offensive remarks. That same month Microsoft also apologized after an Xbox party that featured go-go dancers on podiums.
It’s not clear whether the email will help Microsoft get recruits to the event, a multi-company shindig in San Francisco called “Internapalooza.” But if they do show up, perhaps they can be put to work programming Skype Translator to produce a less cringy version of how kids today speak.
In the meantime, maybe Microsoft shouldn’t use the word “bae” in corporate correspondence. “OK Bae?’‘
— Bloomberg News
Nordstrom valets at Northgate
Nordstrom has built a reputation on going the extra yard for customers. During its upcoming anniversary sale, it will literally be going a few extra yards at Northgate Mall, where it will be extending by a few yards a valet service it has been offering while the mall is building a parking deck.
Now the complimentary service’s drop-off and pick-up location is in front of Mama Stortini’s and RAM Brewery on the west side of the mall.
During the anniversary sale, which runs July 14 through Aug. 7, Nordstrom and the mall have partnered to offer shuttle service between the valet station and Nordstrom’s entrance. Two stores — Mama Stortini’s and Forever 21 — lie between the valet station and Nordstrom.
(Early access to the anniversary sale, for Nordstrom cardholders, runs July 14 through 21. The sale is open to the public July 22 through Aug. 7.)
Northgate Mall said construction is ahead of schedule for the two-level, 673-space parking deck, which is expected to open in time for the holiday shopping season. The mall said the structure will provide 140 more parking spaces.
— Janet I. Tu