The leaves are falling from the trees, kids are back in school, and the pumpkin spice latte has reappeared on the menus of Starbucks all over the country.

Never mind that a few weeks of summer still remain. The beverage has become such an autumn staple that it has given Starbucks the de facto authority to declare the start of the season whenever its marketing department deems most opportune.

SEE ALSO: Oh sweet sugary god, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is coming soon … very soon

In the sickly sweet coffee drink, known in grating shorthand as the PSL, Starbucks has created a social phenomenon that transcends a relatively simple caffeinated concoction. It’s a derisive cultural cue for the …

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