Coffee Dilemma

TGIF 2 Minutes went on a summer break to the UK and is back in action. Thanks to all who checked in the last 2 Fridays!

Beware international – and ALL – travelers. Today’s edition poses a question, call it a coffee dilemma, if not a sort of moral dilemma.

How much is a “6-shot coffee” worth these days? Hint: in the airport, apparently nearly 45+ minutes plus a lot of hassle for fellow coffee and tea drinkers waiting on line.

The cost of a hot beverage from Starbucks, Dunkin’, or Pret a Manger has skyrocketed over time, partly due to inflation and partly due to the fact that consumers have virtually no sensitivity whatsoever to the cost of their morning caffeine shot. Add 25% to 50% more in an airport.

In addition, the customization of a coffee – with seemingly endless combinations and incremental costs – has reached epic proportions. Take for example the guy I witnessed just a few weeks back in a 40+ minute line inside security at Newark airport. Note that the line to order was 40+ minutes long and each person waiting had a flight to catch but still stood in the line, possibly at risk of missing a flight.

The baristas were working like crazy and there was even a barista assistant informing customers that there was a 20–25-minute back-up which may cause a coffee to take too long and further cause a missed flight. No one budged from the line.

Finally, at the point where customers’ names are called out for ready beverages, this one customer picks up his coffee – with the barista assistant still madly foaming milk and handing out coffees. Here is where the moral dilemma kicked in for me:

  • The guy looked at his coffee and (I cannot make this up), walked back up to the working-madly barista and said, “I need more foam”.
  • Then, after getting his more foam, the customer looked again at the coffee and walked back up to the barista and said, (again, I cannot make this up) “I ordered 6 shots and there are only 4 shots in here. I ordered 4 caffeine shots and 2 decaf shots, and there are only 4 shots in here.”

The barista politely said, let me see your cup and then said to the customer, “It says on here that you only paid for 4 shots.” And the customer said, “But I should get what I want, right? If I ordered 6 shots, I should get 6 shots.”

And the barista politely said, “But you only paid for 4 shots.”

Eventually, the barista referred the customer to the cashier and the customer must have paid for his extra 2 shots and received his total of 6 shots. Who knows? The scene definitely increased the wait for standing-nearby customers.

Moral/coffee dilemma:

  • At what point are the 2 shots so valuable that they are worth receiving in a stressed environment? (Not even mentioning the foam customization.)
  • When does it become selfish to cause such further delay, longer than the already horrendous 40–45-minute wait, to fellow travelers, albeit strangers?
  • What is a 6-shot coffee worth?

Everything has a value. That assigned value typically differs between individuals. Knowing how to prioritize one valuable product, experience or investment comes only with thoughtful consideration or advice.

Please offer your thoughts on this one. There are no wrong answers.

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