Caffeinated Irony

Sometimes, the irony of things absolutely amazes me.

You see, as curmudgeonly as I can sometimes be, I really am optimistic in many ways. I tend to think, for example, that when someone says that they’re going to do something because they’re motivated by a cause, that they will actually do so. So, I’m caught somewhere between genuine surprise and an “I should have known” attitude when I discover otherwise.

I’m very aware of the environment. Not in a tree-hugging, hippie sort of way, but we’re conscious about watching our energy consumption, recycling, and minimizing the packaging we use. We try to reduce fuel usage. You know, that sort of thing. I don’t see the environment as a political issue at all, I see it as common sense. So, I’ve been quite shocked by how politicized it has become, as well as how little anyone seems to care about it in the Southeast.

I’ve reduced the process of feeding my coffee addiction to throwing away almost nothing afterward. Part of that process is that I use the re-usable personal cups that Starbucks sells…you take it, you get a 10-cent discount on your drink, you wash it later and re-use. It’s not so much about the discount for me, I just like that I’m not throwing something away afterward. That’s really important to me, and, I think, for all of us.

So, one day earlier this week, I run by Starbucks for lunch. I give my drink order, and hand them my cup. Business was a bit slow that day, I guess, because there weren’t many customers ahead of me. So, I watched the barista make my drink. I watched her use and throw away two plastic cups that were the same size as my personal cup to measure my drink before mixing it and placing it in my cup.

Which essentially means that there was no point at all in my even taking in my own cup.

This doesn’t happen across the board, mind you. I don’t see this happen every time, or even most times, that I go to Starbucks. And, Starbucks is one of the few big businesses that I like and that I think makes a substantial effort to be environmentally friendly. Maybe that’s why I was surprised at how succinctly this barista defeated the point.

Insert sigh here. I hope your weekend is…not that ironic.