I have been using my own Klean Kanteen #reusable steel pint glass and porcelain mugs in lieu of single use paper and plastic cups for years at coffee shops, but have always been a little leery of using them at quick service restaurants. Some, like McDonald’s and other places you shouldn’t be eating at anyway, freak out when they see you use your own cup. Most franchises and mom and pop shops, I have found, are actually happy when you use your own cup, as it saves them money.
Quick service restaurants are like well-oiled machines. Process driven, the typical cashier will have her hand on the stack of cups as she asks you if you’d like a beverage. I used to feel awkward asking them permission to use my own cup, so I would use theirs. The best example I can think of for comparison is that old credit card commercial that has a long line of customers, credit cards in hand, with a cashier taking the cards and swiping them methodically in
perfect rhythm. That is until a bumbling customer gets to the front of the line, clumsily grabs change out of his pocket and starts to count it out, completely disrupting the flow of customers. Sadly I can’t find this commercial online, but I have a feeling you know what I’m talking about.
After more than a year of stress, self-induced guilt and anxiety, I have finally gotten over my “fear” of using my own cup everywhere that does not provide a reusable option. Getting to this point took a change in thinking. Instead of asking for permission I tell the cashier that I will be using my own cup and hold it up for them. I haven’t been denied yet.
There is still a long road toward a cultural shift that not only accepts this type of action, but supports it. Just yesterday I was eating at a local sandwich shop. With my reusable cup in hand I went to refill my soda (Yes, I know I shouldn’t be drinking that stuff!) while the manager stared at me with a look on his face that said, “Can you believe this guy is stealing soda right in front of me?” After explaining that I had paid for a beverage and was using my own cup to save on waste, he said, “Oh. Thanks.”