I sat watching an older couple at dinner the other night. There was no particular reason for my gawking, they were just there, I was kind of bored and at the end of their meal they provided fodder for today’s musings.
“I’ll have a regular and she’ll have a decaf.”
The waiter brought over their drinks, dropped off the sugar caddy and some creamers. In a flash, and without any shame, two Equals went into the coffee and the rest went into her purse.
“You don’t want any creamers do you?” she asked.
“No, but take some, we don’t have any at home,” he replied.
They joined the Equal in her bag.
When I visited my father over the holidays, I couldn’t help notice the big stack of napkins in his kitchen bearing a certain hamburger joint’s trademark “M.” Or the container full of ketchup packets. Or the Ziploc bag full of individual Sweet ‘N Lows.
I looked at his stash, shook my head and said, “Dad, what are you doing with this stuff?”
I don’t know exactly what triggers us to take things like this?
Maybe it’s a fascination with small, portion controlled sized items.
Maybe by walking out with a pocket full of ketchup packets we feel it’s some small win against big business.
Maybe we’re all just hoarders.
I’ll be the first one to admit that when I’m getting ready to check out of a hotel, I’ll take anything that isn’t nailed down and doesn’t have a price tag on it.
I have more shower gel than I’ll ever use, more odd size bars of soap that don’t fit nicely in anything and plenty of shampoo that will never get used. (I really like the sewing kits that some provide, they’re a real “score” when you find one!)
I’m sure businesses who provide such expendable items do so with their cost built into their operating margins and food costs. But at some point, as prices and pilferage rises, that cup of coffee at McDonald’s is going to be priced right up there alongside Starbucks – and we can only blame ourselves when it happens.
Myself, I would never take the creamers, the Equal, the Sweet ‘N Low or the Splenda.
I’d head right to the Sugar in the Raw.