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News of the Week: Starbucks, Stamps, and How Staying In Is the New Going Out

Published: April 15, 2016

And Now, a Scolding from the Internet

Starbucks has apologized to a customer after the man got a note on the drink he ordered at one of the chain’s Florida locations. Where the customer’s name would ordinarily be was the phrase “Diabetes Here I Come,” presumably because the man had the audacity — can you believe it? — to actually order something he wanted to order: more syrup in his Grande White Chocolate Mocha.

I’m always amazed — and maybe at this point I shouldn’t be — when people on the web have the completely wrong reaction to a story like this. You would think that most of the comments on this story would be on the customer’s side, that maybe baristas at Starbucks shouldn’t be dumping on customers via their coffee cups. But this is the world of internet comment sections, and many reactions are along the lines of “He shouldn’t be drinking that!” and “You mean to tell me he added more sugar to something with a ton of sugar already?!?”

Talk about missing the point. Or maybe they see the point very clearly and have instead decided to dump on the guy and give their flawless moral opinions, because that’s what comment sections and social media are for now.

Stamp Prices Are Going … Down?

That’s not a typo or a hallucination; stamp prices are actually going down.

Stamps have been 49 cents for the past few years, but last Sunday, the price dropped 2 cents to 47 cents. Postcard stamps — and I always forget about those — have also gone down, a penny, to 34 cents. The reason? A program that allowed the United States Postal Service to raise prices on stamps to make up for lost revenue when the volume of mail decreased during the recession has come to an end. I have no idea why the price of the stamps is going down instead of just staying the same, but I won’t argue with a discount.

It’s the first time stamp prices have gone down since 1919.

Nothing Left Unsaid

Did you know that CNN host and 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper is Gloria Vanderbilt’s son? I know, I know, that’s old news by now, but I’m sure there are some who didn’t realize it, and maybe you knew it but forgot that you knew it.

Vanderbilt is 91 now, and not only do she and Cooper have a new book out, The Rainbow Comes and Goes, but a new HBO documentary about her life, titled Nothing Left Unsaid, premiered last weekend. I caught it and it’s well worth seeing. It’s not only a fantastic look at Vanderbilt’s life, including the infamous custody trial she was involved in at an early age, her marriages and business successes, and the suicide of Cooper’s older brother Carter, it also turns out to be a rather surprising and inspirational meditation on the power of art and how to go forward in life. It’s really well done, and I recommend you take a look.

RIP Arthur Anderson

The actor started as a child actor on radio and Broadway with Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater and appeared in many movies and TV shows, including Midnight Cowboy, Zelig, and Law & Order. But you might remember him as the original voice of Lucky the Leprechaun in a series of Lucky Charms cereal commercials from 1963 to 1992:

Anderson passed away last week at the age of 93. In 2010, he released the autobiography An Actor’s Odyssey: Orson Welles to Lucky the Leprechaun.

Robert Osborne Will Be Absent from TCM Film Festival Again

Well, this is rather too bad. For the second year in a row, Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne will not appear at the TCM Classic Film Festival, which will take place in Hollywood from April 28 to May 1. In a letter to fans (PDF), Osborne says that a health problem will sideline him again this year. In 2015, a health problem also made Osborne miss the annual get-together. The classic political thriller All The President’s Men will open the festival, and guests this year include Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Eva Marie Saint, Stacy Keach, and John Singleton.

Osborne says that everything’s okay, though, and he’ll be back on TCM soon.

Going Out Tonight? Don’t Bother!

Big is the new small! Wet is the new dry! Stamp prices going down are the new going up! And going out is the new staying in.

Apparently, people aren’t going out as much as they used to. And as Molly Young points out in her interesting essay at The New York TimesT Magazine, you can pretty much blame the internet and television.

You can do everything from the comfort of your home now. You can binge on movies and TV shows, shop, post pictures, order food, find a soul mate, and most importantly, you can hang out with friends without, well, actually hanging out with your friends. There are also many jobs you can do from home now, so you don’t even have to commute to work every day. If you carefully plan things out, you never have to leave the house again!

I’d just like to say that if staying in really has become the hip, cool thing to do, then I must be a trailblazer, because I’ve been staying in for years.

Happy Tax Day Everybody!

It’s April 15. What, you haven’t done your taxes yet? What the heck are you doing reading this then?

I did my taxes the other day, and while I would never call the process “fun,” I felt a certain amount of pride and accomplishment when I finished. Of course, writers are notoriously bad when it comes to math, so I have no idea if I even did them correctly. But hey, I did them!

If you really haven’t done your taxes yet, don’t stress out too much; you’ve got a little extra time this year. Because Friday is a legal holiday for public employees in Washington, D.C. — it’s Emancipation Day — we all get an extra weekend to procrastinate. Taxes are due on Monday, April 18, this year. But why wait? Do your taxes today so you don’t have to worry about doing them over the weekend.

Today is also National Glazed Spiral Ham Day. I don’t know if you can combine that with doing your taxes in any way, but if you do, let us know.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

Bay of Pigs invasion (April 17, 1961)

Here’s how The Saturday Evening Post covered the military plan and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Benjamin Franklin dies (April 17, 1790)

Franklin did many things in his life, including starting the newspaper that eventually became The Saturday Evening Post.

The midnight ride of Paul Revere (April 18, 1775)

It really should be called the midnight ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes.

The San Francisco earthquake (April 18, 1906)

The destructive quake hit at 5:12 a.m. and killed 700 people, a number many researchers think is actually a lot lower than the actual death count.

Ernie Pyle dies (April 18, 1945)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist died after being struck by a Japanese machine gunner’s bullet.

“In God We Trust” first put on U.S. coins (April 22, 1864)

​Here’s a timeline of how we handle faith in America, including putting those words on our currency.​

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  • Bob McGowan jr.

    I agree with your ‘Scolding from the Internet’ comments. Something tells me this was a calculated move on coffee monster’s part TO get this exact thing to happen. They lit the match they knew people on social media would turn into a big fire, getting that company yet even more attention and publicity.

    The drink with too much sugar and name substitution was just a means to that end. Your last paragraph summed it up perfectly. The company wasn’t scolded for what was clearly inappropriate behavior on that employees part by the social medians; oh no, of course not. Should this man have requested yet more syrup in his Grande beverage? Frankly no; but that’s his right, his business, and his body: for better or worse.

    This is one reason I’m not on social media other than the occasional comments on Yahoo. What’s commented back to me (often) is either a completely wrong misinterpretation of something I said, stating I said something I never said at all, or something that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic.

    There was such a case on ‘News of the Week’ several weeks ago where the latter happened. In that case it was something entertaining, well written and actually kind of a hoot, but had nothing to do with your column otherwise.

    Moving on to the price of stamps, I’m kind of surprised myself. I wonder what role the Forever stamps played in the 2 cent decrease. Thanks for the link on the price history of stamps also. It clearly tells a sad story of just how worthless our money has become over the years, and an increasingly accelerated economic instability.