A few weeks ago, I ran into a gentleman who asked if he could see my to-go coffee cup before I tossed it in the trash. "Of course," I replied.
He pulled the sleeve from the cup, put it in his pocket and then threw the rest of the cup in the trash. "A little pet peeve of mine," he said. "It's against a health ordinance for them (the local coffee place) to put these back into use, so I sneak them back into the tray for them... just a little thing I do."
I didn't think it odd at the time, and I still don't. Here was one man doing what he could do, be it ever so slight, to make the world a better place.
"No problem," I replied.
Fast forward a few weeks and I stepped into the local Latte Land (east side) here on the Country Club Plaza with my frequent drinker card (pictured above) to meet someone for a quick business meeting. I stepped up the counter, made my order and presented the sleeve to the barista, who promptly punch my sleeve... buy 10 get one free, you know.
"Would you like to put this back into your backpack or use it for your order?" she asked.
"What?" I was perplexed at the question so she repeated it. "Use it, please," came my reply.
Part of the purpose of the frequent sleeve is reuse. In fact, it says right on the sleeve, "Be green, save a tree and drink for free!" So, why did this employee even ask whether I wanted to stuff it back into my bag (the premise being that I'd have to use a new one to protect my fingers from the heat of the tea)?
Herein lies the difference between the person in the first story and the person in the second: generation. The first man was an older person, the type of guy that keeps his nuts and bolts in their individual glass jars and labeled in the garage for that rainy day when they might be needed. The second person was a very young American with a throw-away society mentality... instant gratification, assumed entitlement, when you throw something away it just disappears with no impact on the world.
Ummm, no. It doesn't work that way. The choices we make impact the world. So, stuff that reusable sleeve in your pocket or your bag and yank it out the next time you enter a coffee house. Don't worry about whether it's for that particular establishment or not, you're saving them money by not using one of theirs.