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Deep thoughts by Jack Not-So-Handy

I was running early for work - hard to believe, I know, but true. Rather than go to work early and get a jump on the day (always a waste of time I find - believe me), I stopped off for coffee. It was weak and terrible, but that's not the crux of this story.

I'm walking into work holding this paper coffee cup with its plastic lid, feeling bad not just because I got a terrible cup of coffee but because of the disposability of its packaging and its environmental recklessness as we still face flood damage here in Nashville and a huge swath of oil destroying the Louisiana coastline. (DOOM! I say. The crows are just waiting to suck the sweet, sweet juices from our dead eyes!)

Anyway, it got me thinking about these cups they have now that are reusable, but that look like the disposable ones you get at Starbucks or any fast food joint. Like this one.


The styrofoam ones are not that appealing. Maybe that's a matter of opinion. Maybe you think they are the most gorgeous things your eyes have ever beheld, but you're wrong. Wrong.

Plus how likely am I to just throw this away when I'm done? Sure, the weight (porcelain vs. paper) might stop me. But, more likely, my slow-acting brain will ask "Why is this so heavy?" as I throw it in the bin. Pretty much destroying it and the entire point of the thing. What's wrong with a travel mug? Or just a mug from home sans lid?

So is it something else? Is it some weird consumerist, keeping up with the Joneses thing? "Look at me. I can afford to buy coffee at restaurants. I don't need to make my own. The free coffee at work isn't good enough for me. People toiled to make my morning eye-opener."

Is the throw-away coffee cup a status symbol? Does it tell the world, "Look at me! I'm successful! I'm happy! I'm buzzed! I have more money than you because I can afford a $3 coffee!"

Okay, I'm done now. Sorry for the interruption.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Hmm. I mean, the status symbol idea is certainly possible, albeit likely on an unconscious level. But I wonder if it's more of an acculturation thing? I mean, coffeeshop coffee is so ubiquitous now, and with it the disposable cups, that that style of cup has become the default, rather than your standard, loop-handle ceramic mug.

So maybe it's more like that's what coffee mugs are supposed to look like, at least in people's subconscious minds. Sheep, yes, but not malicious sheep.

Or maybe it's a case of broad-scale societal irony :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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