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To the Starbucks Barista Who Doesn't Judge Me for My Eating Disorder

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Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.

You don’t know me, or maybe you do because I come in a lot. I can’t help it — I live so close by. On good days, when my foggy brain needs a caffeine kick, I order iced tea or a tea latte. Milk isn’t my friend, so you may realize I get a little bougie and splurge on the coconut milk.

But every once in a while, I don’t come in for something to drink, but rather to eat. Oh, Starbucks and your endless array of desserts, of muffins, pound cake, scones, cookies … When I come in for a snack, it’s never just one of these items. I impulsively order more, granting my cravings the purchasing power. The Sam who comes into Starbucks for baked goods is not the Sam who casually comes in for a beverage. You are serving someone with binge eating disorder.

So I wanted to thank you for serving me without judgment. You go behind the bakery counter to retrieve my order and are nothing but friendly. Good customer service goes a long way with a sometimes self-conscious customer.

Last summer, I went to the grocery store and bought a lot of treats. The man behind me made some comments about my purchases that were unsolicited and inappropriate. Granted, this was before I even recognized I had a problem with food, so I shrugged off his remarks. If it were now, I would feel differently. There is a lot of stigma around eating disorders, and with stigma comes shame.

I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you for not adding to the self-criticism or guilt that is often attached to binge eating. You reinforce what I try to practice every day, which is to treat everyone with kindness because we know nothing about the demons people face.


If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Unsplash photo via Brigitte Tohm.

Originally published: April 6, 2017
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