Gothamist: Ethics of Latte Shortcutting:
Call it a ghetto latte, call it bootleg latte - the real question is whether or not ordering a cheaper Starbucks item and then jazzing it up at the condiment station is right. The topic has been debated on Starbucks Gossip, after a reader noted that a customer managed to turn her iced grande and venti Americanos with shots into an "Iced Quad Venti Breve Latte and an Iced Triple Grande Breve Latte," saving almost $5! Now, people have most certainly encountered empty milk and cream carafes - now we know what's afoot!
Starbucks issued a statement that was basically a blessing for milk hogs:
"Customization is a fundamental attribute of the Starbucks Experience. We provide condiments to our customers so they can make their drinks to their liking and we appreciate their patronage. We trust our customers to make the choices that are right for them." That's a very Howard Schultz approach. At any rate, given that the stores are making bank on regular coffee drinks, a little condiment station over-indulgence isn't that bad. Just remember to tip your barista with some of your savings.