One of the dining halls on campus has a little coffee shop that uses Starbucks products, but is not directly Starbucks-affiliated. I used to work there, so a few of the baristas know me. At this point in the year, both the local Starbucks and this place have their seasonal pumpkin spice lattes, which always brings me great joy because I love pumpkin spice flavor in just about everything. My personal favorite at the moment is a pumpkin chai.
Anyway, I went to this place yesterday and ordered a pumpkin chai. (The ordering system here is that you write your order on the cup sleeve and hand it to the barista.) My favorite employee T was working, and she stared at the order for quite a while before this dialogue happened:
T: I don't think we can make this.
Other barista: Of course we can. Just add the pumpkin syrup to the chai.
T: No, no, I know HOW to make it. I just don't think we're allowed to.
She then pointed to the promotional sign advertising "Hot Pumpkin Latte" and explained that since this was the promotion, it was the ONLY thing they were allowed to make. HOT pumpkin latte. No iced pumpkin lattes, no pumpkin chai, no pumpkin fraps, anything. (She made me the chai anyway, since the restrictions weren't apparent on the sign, but warned me she wouldn't be able to do it again.)
The price difference between the pumpkin latte and a regular latte was exactly the same as with any other flavored drink (the cost of the syrup), so it's not like the pumpkin syrup is an extremely expensive commodity that must be conserved. And even if it was, wouldn't it make better business sense just to charge more for the difference, rather than not sell it at all?
Can anyone think of a legitimate reason that they might have this policy?
Edited for clarification: I think it is the actual management here that is to blame, and not the barista, for two reasons, both of which I know from working at this place in the past: 1) This particular barista is known for bending over backward for customers and sort of doing a wink-and-nod on policy things if she thinks she won't get caught, so I doubt this is a matter of her being afraid of doing the wrong thing. 2) The management at this place has had other rather screwy rules in the past, such as only being allowed to put 2 slices of cheese on a sandwich where other dining halls put 3 on for the same price, using the same supplies.