Thursday, May 15, 2008

How To Stick It To The Man - Volume 1, #1 - Starbucks

Starbucks charges plenty for their coffee - in my humble opinion, and in the opinion of my wallet. And plenty of people drink plenty of Starbucks coffee - myself unabashedly included. I think it's pretty good stuff.

But still, it ain't cheap.

I drive to work almost every day, and usually bring coffee along with me - either home-brewed or from the local Starbucks. Also, I should note that the roads in my neighborhood aren't entirely well paved. And the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has some rough patches as well.

So, as you can imagine, my daily coffee addiction often leads to 2nd degree burns on my hand and arm, and spilled coffee all over my center console and luxuriously carpeted floor mats (I didn't spring for the all-weather rubberized mats).

Anyway, the simple answer to this problem is - don't fill the coffee cup all the way.

At Starbucks, that usually means ordering a medium (they call it a "Grande" but I still refuse to use that terminology - another shot to the crotch of THE MAN) and dumping some out in the trash or on the sidewalk.

What a waste of coffee and money. Starbucks coffee is much more expensive than gasoline, and will remain so even if oil surpasses $200 per barrel. Do the math.

There must be a better way.

You're in luck. There is.

What I've discovered - drum roll please - is that if you simply order a small coffee in a medium cup (a "Tall" in a "Grande" cup, if you don't want to arouse suspicion), not only will you save 21 cents (Note: 21 cents in New York City - your actual savings may vary) by getting the smaller size, but the Starbucks employees will usually fill the medium cup to the perfect level for taking in the car with you. In other words, they fill it up to a level at which you don't have to dump anything out.

The result is that you get exactly the same amount of coffee as you would have if you ordered the larger size, but don't waste any coffee and save about 10%.

I stick that 21 cents in a jar near the door. By the end of the year, I should have enough to buy a Gulfstream V. Those are the ones that have enough range to fly across the Atlantic or cross-country nonstop. I'll keep you posted.

As fair warning, occasionally you get the unexplicably stingy barista who practically measures the amount of a small cup into the medium cup. But that's pretty rare, in my experience.

Starbucks employees are not motivated to conserve coffee as if it were liquid gold. They do, in fact, regularly dump out the coffee and brew fresh batches during the course of the day. Why not give a paying customer a little extra fresh-brewed love every now and again?

So you're not seriously harming the behemoth corporation by taking advantage of this small loophole - no reason to feel guilty. You're just getting closer to the amount of coffee that's rightfully yours for 2 bucks.

If anything, you're really sticking it to the man - big time - with this little maneuver. And isn't that something you can feel good about?


JG said...

or . . . . you can just stop drinking coffee. now THAT's sticking it to the man. besides, i feel like i spend half of my life watching you stir sugar and milk into a coffee.

The Mill said...

If I stop drinking coffee, you'd have to deal with my miserable self as I went through months of painful withdrawal.