October 29, 2006

Other: Coffee Cups

It's the day after our yearly hallowe'en party (photos later: we'll see who pays what), so naturally I'm thinking of coffee.

I'm thinking specifically of something I was told by two different people in the service sector this week: "it's not the drink the customer is paying for, it's the cup." It's a phrase that only seems to apply to coffee, tea or pop so far as I've found. It came up when I was at a gas station, trying to buy a small coffee. They were out of small cups, so I put a few ounces in a medium cup, and wanted to buy that, and was told I would be charged for a medium. Here's the reasoning:

The coffee, tea or pop is sold by the store/restaurant/gas station in such large quantities that the amount one individual buys is nearly irrelevant: it's essentially just more or less water added to the beans, leaves or syrup already purchased. (Movie chains, being cheap bastards, seem immune to this thought and charge you more for everything, all the time.) The cups, however, are much more noticably different in unit price, so the charge is greater for larger sizes.

Makes sense.

Except if I walk into a store with my own cup, what do you think the odds are of my getting the coffee for free? Or even for a discount? I'm sure there would be protests if the mugs handed to me when I dine in started vanishing from the tables and showing up in my truck. The thought of keeping take away cups is even stranger! Trust me, I have NO interest in acquiring a selection of piss-poor waxed paper cups for my home; and even if I did, I wouldn't buy them one at a time and pre-used, thank you very much. No, I'm actually there to buy coffee not cups, and that's what I purchase whatever the sales staff might think. Cups are what the store buys, and excuses, it seems, are what some of them sell.

I ain't buying.


posted by Thursday at 7:26 pm


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