Monday, December 18, 2006

BYO breakdown at WF


In all my BYO years, I've never had the issues many friends have with someone refusing the cup, not being sure what to do with it, claiming they couldn't use it for hygenic reasons....

Till this morning at Whole Foods! The exchange was pretty absurd actually:

Barista: I'm sorry, we can't put any espresso drinks in your personal cup, only drip coffee, until we figure out a system for writing down your order to give to the cashier.

(uncaffeinated) Me: Couldn't you just write it down on a little sticky note to attach to my cup?

B: Yeah, so that's what were looking into, my manager is researching all the sticker options, but we want to make sure we don't leave sticky residue on your cup.

Me: (respectfully) How about just a little post-it note, I'm sure you guys have a thousand of them in your office, or even a piece of scrap paper?

B: Like I said, my manager is looking into all the different possibilities and trying to come up with the best system, in the meantime, we can't serve anything but drip coffee in your own cup.

Are you KIDDING me? Is this what happens when bureacracies gets over inflated, a total breakdown in reason? I wonder how long this "research" into the latest in sticky-technology will take......

7 comments:

Tim Harvey said...

Anna, this is exactly why I find existing in the a capitalist first world economy so aggravating (i.e. drives me agro) at times. Everything is so systematized that we can't even ask for coffee at a commercial venue unless months of pontification have established an ideal system for filling our deviant cups. Those who don't conform to prevailing systems are scorned as nuisances, people like me that ride bicycles on freeways (I digress, but it is absurd to create public transportation routes off limits to bicycles) and given that so many systems that we establish are environmentally unsound, we are therefore marginalized simply for doing things right way. This drives me agro. Rigid systems also kill diversity and impoverish society in general.

But you were pointing to a greater irony, the profound state of absurdity into which we have descended. You echo the sentiments of the great 18th Century Irish satirist Jonathan Swift, who wrote in Gulliver's Travels about the land of "Laputa" (Spanish translation, anyone?). Laputa was a floating island ruled by a class of advanced scientific minds, who had mastered magnetic levitation but had lost the ability to do anything simple or practical, like make clothes that fit, or, one has to assume, pour a cup of coffee.

It is time to reclaim sanity and rebel against the Laputan world order, one BYO coffee mug at a time!

Anna said...

Thats perhaps the most fiery, radical comment yet, gracias Tim! Nice to see some sparks....

I think I'm adopting your last sentence as my new biz card tag line:
"rebelling against the Laputan order, one cup at a time."

The Worsted Witch said...

Do they realize how absolutely *absurd* they sound? Geez, Louise. What happened to low-tech/no-tech?

Anonymous said...

I used to bring my own cup to Starbucks. One time they used a cup to write what I wanted (nonfat latte) and stuck my cup inside it. Totally negated my effort at saving paper. They had little post its just like the list on their cups. Don't know if they still use them somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Being a former barista at Wild Oats I am really astonished that Whole Foods could not give in to your request. During my employment we constantly gave print out tags to customers for wheatgrass shots, espresso shots, and larger orders in order to prevent the cashier from having to ring separate cups. Placing a tag on a cup was common practice but there was no regulation that said we had to do that and when it came to hot coffee drinks we usually put the sticker on the cardboard "coffee cozy". Maybe this is part of the reason why Whole Foods profits are going up and Wild Oats are going down. We are still waiting on a Whole Foods here in Nashville but with my years of experience with Wild Oats I suggest you go to a store manager and insist you prefer using your own cup. If that seems too extreme you can always offer to pay for the drink before they make it.

Anonymous said...

Being a former barista at Wild Oats I am really astonished Whole Foods would not give in to your request. For each order we would print out a barcode tag and although it was common practice to place it on the cups we were not required to. When it came to orders such as wheatgrass shots, espresso shots, ginger shots, or larger drink orders, we usually would just give the customers the tags without attaching them to anything. Maybe this is part of the reason why Whole Foods' profits are going up and Wild Oats' are going down. Well you can always try to complain to a store manager, that always gets good results at WO or if that is too extreme offer to purchase the drink before they make it.

Shawn said...

Starbucks sells those travel cups where you can put your own image inside. You know, they have that removable piece of paper in them. Anyways, it would be funny to print out a mock paper cup with your drink order (assuming you get 1 regular drink) already filled in on those 5 little squares.

From the viewpoint of a business needing to be streamlined in order to handle volume, I can understand the issue. But I am positive there are several feasible solutions.

Just found your site today, it's pretty cool =)