Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Three Cheers For Starbucks

Warning: this was written very cheesily. (I blame the caffeine I'm on.)

Last week, I stopped in at Starbucks to buy two lattes and a granola parfait while balancing my wallet and keys. Luckily, Starbucks has nifty drink holders that allow you to carry three cups and a wallet with one hand, or I would have had to make multiple, awkward trips to my car. However, as I was at the till, I was trying to figure out how I would drive. Calgary roads tend to be slightly pothole-prolific, and as much as I love the smell of coffee, it's not the scent I want in my car. So, as they mixed the drinks, I stood and pondered the ways that Starbucks could improve upon their lids. My two, rather comical conclusions were 1) that they made two types of lids- one with a mouth hole and one without. You put the one without mouth hole on your drink as you drive, and when you get to your destination, switch! Or, better yet, 2) succumb to common gas station coffee lids and make ones that the customer opens themselves. Sure, it's not as classy, but it would cost less than two lids. Then my drinks came, and I left, slowly maneuvering the streets of the northwest. Luckily, I did not spill a drop, but the dilemma still nagged at me.

Then, today I went into Starbucks (really, I'm not that addicted) to get a frappuccino in celebration of the wonderful exam I finished and the beautiful day. As I was waiting for it to be mixed, I noticed a cup of green sticks at the stand. I couldn't really figure out what they were, but I figured that Starbucks had improved upon their wooden stir sticks by making them reusable. Then, a lady who had gotten two lattes (deja vu) reached over, pulled two out and placed them into the lid holes. I watched them slide down and, gasp, fit perfectly! My jaw dropped, I'm sure. Just a week after I had put my entrepreneurial mind to work for Starbucks, they had felt my pains and invented something for me! Ok, I'm not that egotistical. Turns out, these new "splash sticks" came out in April. Maybe they had a late release date for Canada.

Upon my research on these splash sticks, I came upon several comments that they are not environmentally friendly, etc etc. To that I would like to ask, what would the purpose of this stick be? It seems like Starbucks is trying to make a multipurpose stir stick, and thereby fade out their wooden ones. So, if it's something people are already using, I don't see how making it in a different material harms anything. In fact, plastic would improve the situation because they're simple to rinse and reuse (as opposed to wood that soaks in). Products like this and their cardboard sleeves are great opportunities for personal recycling.

And if I'm going to a fair-trade supporting shop (thereby environmentally aware) and spending $4.00 on a cup of coffee that I could be spending $1.25 on at Tim Horton's or Second Cup, I don't want it sloshing around in my car, so thank you Starbucks!

Picture from USA Today (I think it's by Starbucks, but can't really tell).


Kevin said...

Oh, no disclaimers! I enjoyed the post immensely. Life is full of funny moments, and many are worth a story.

Veronica said...

Hehe. There is a site around somewhere that has reusable "Green plugs" for cups... with carriers, etc. to keep them in.

Matthew Camell said...

Yes, it does seem like Canada has a late release date for just about everything :P

And as for the environmental concerns about the stir sticks, you needn’t be worried. Of course the environmentalists don’t like the new stir sticks because they are made from non-biodegradable material. I’m sure they hated the old ones as well because they were made from trees (forget the fact that trees are a renewable resource). And if Starbucks came out with a metal stir stick, they would be quick to disapprove of it as well. I just want to know what these quacks want us to make stuff out of. If we let them have their way, we would still be in the Stone Age.

P.S. Sorry if I offended any environmentalists, but if any of you are reading this, let me know when you figure out what we can make things out of instead of what we can’t.

P.S.S. I am a conservationist – that is I believe in conserving and replenishing natural resources as much as possible, while environmentalism seems to endeavor to radically restrict the economic utilization of natural resources.