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Full Price for That?

As my kitchen nears completion, I’ve been warned by everyone who’s ever had renovation work: “Don’t write the final check to the contractor until everything is completed or those last few things will never get done.” 

Message received. Besides, I don’t like to pay full price for three quarters of anything. Do you? Would you pay the dentist full price for only three-quarters of a filling? Or pay an organizer full price for organizing only three-quarters of your closet? Or a hairstylist full price to cut only three-quarters of your hair? I don’t think so. Most of us expect to get our monies worth. However, when it comes to America’s newest favorite pastime – coffee drinks – we’re not.

I was at Panera last weekend and treated myself to a hot chai latte. With tax it cost $4.14. Yes, it’s a lot for a drink, but happens to be my “writer’s tonic.” I ordered it with no foam. I’m paying for a drink, not a bunch of hot air. Coffee shops don’t like “no foam” orders because they make a hug profit off of foam. And while some may like foam, I’m not one of them.

As I was handed my drink, like always, I lifted the lid. While the cup was absent of foam, as I’d requested, it also happened to be absent of at least a quarter of my drink. Had I had a measuring tape in my pocket, I’m sure there were at least three inches between the liquid and the lip of the cup.

“Excuse me,” I said. “This isn’t to the top. Can you please fill it?”

“You didn’t want foam,” she explained.

“But I paid for a full cup of chai, not a three-quarter cup,” I said calmly.

She shrugged. “Well, that’s our spec.”

“I paid for a full cup,” I repeated, realizing at that moment why Panera’s stock was doing so well. She harrumphed, took the cup and filled it to the top. By sticking up for myself, much to the annoyance of the barista, I got my monies worth. I like to think of myself as someone who sees the cup half full. Except when I’m paying for it. Then I demand it full to the top. For the thousands of folks who take their cup of comfort without question, what they’re paying for is mostly a lot of hot air.

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