While at Whole Foods recently we went to their coffe bar and asked for a large. Since we like a good amount of milk to tame their typically deep dark brew, we requested the "barrista" to warm up the milk (to be sure the finished drink would still be hot). When the young man asked for $2.95 we questioned the price for a large ("vente") and discovered we were being charged for a cafe au lait. A buck more to warm up some milk? Come on.
In this computerized world definition and terminology rule. You couldn't sell a rose by any other name.
There are still many Hispanic restaurants around our neck of the woods that prepare the most delicious cafe con leche for anywhere for one dollar or so. For those in the hinterland, a cafe con leche is a shot of espresso and steamed milk. We prefer it sweet. Ask for that at a Starbucks and add two to three dollars for the special handling.
Sometimes you just want a cup of coffee. Value added marketing is a boon to the consumer, what with all the choices and options for things. But when you are being served at a profit first kind of place, its mainly a boon to the stockholders. Some franchise places are so calibrated that any step outside the usual comes with a price add on. Some workers at such places are so robotized they can only think in the categories given to them by the boss.