Oxymoron in the Drive-Thru

As per our rainy day tradition, Mary Hazel and I rolled up to the Starbucks drive-thru line and sang silly songs until Khaki, our obviously-over-caffeinated barista, took our order. I requested my usual. “Grande coffee with cream and sugar…and I brought my own travel mug.” You get a discount when you bring your own mug. And you feel maybe slightly less guilty about your overt consumerism when you dispose of one less item a day. I always have my travel mug in the car. I always tell them I have my travel mug in the car. I always give them my travel mug and they always (over)fill it. Today, however, when I pulled around to the window, Khaki handed me an already-filled paper cup of hot coffee.

I said, “Oops. I brought my own travel mug. Oh well, next time.”

She earnestly replied, “Hand me your mug and I will pour the coffee from this cup into yours.”

I said, “No, that’s OK. Next time.”

She said, “But don’t you want your discount?”

I said, “Yes, I do.”

She checked over her shoulder and said, “Well, then, I have to pour this into your travel mug.”

I said, “No, I don’t want to waste the cup. I’ll just take it this time.”

Khaki’s manager, who may or may not qualify for the 2016 national wrestling team, came over to investigate. I explained the situation (which really wasn’t a situation) and waited for my coffee.

She explained, “We cannot put your coffee directly into your travel mug when you order in the drive-thru line. We always pour it into a paper cup first so we can keep the orders straight and the line moving.”

“Ah. But I always get coffee in my travel mug here.”

“You might think you do, but I promise that we are just pouring coffee from a paper cup into your travel mug after you hand it to us.”

“Every day?”

“Every day.”


“Yup. But if you bring your travel mug inside, we can fill it up for you directly.”

“But, I’m in my car because I’m…traveling.”

(Crickets chirping. Blank stare.)

“Well, just give me my coffee and I’ll be on my way,” I gave up.

“If you want your discount, I need to pour it into your travel mug first.”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! Please give me the cup. I don’t want to have to wash my mug and throw away a paper cup.”

(Gum chewing.)

“OK. Would you like a stopper? Receipt?”

“No. Thanks.”

(Mary Hazel in the back asked, “What’s taking so long, Mommy?” The manager looked her over while handing me the cup of coffee.)

I drove away and sipped my bitter coffee, right after I removed the stopper and threw away the receipt.

Note: This is the same establishment that refused to sell me decaf coffee after 2:00 p.m. because they don’t sell enough to brew it in the afternoons.


7 thoughts on “Oxymoron in the Drive-Thru

  1. What the what?! Why do they have the discount if they’re using a cup anyway? I demand to know what the discount is rewarding you for. 😀

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