Reusable Mug at Starbucks? Huge Eco-UNfriendly FAIL...

Last weekend I went to do some furniture window shopping with a girlfriend and of course we had to run through the Starbucks drive through first. When I ordered (via the drive-thru) I told the oh so friendly Starbucks employee that I had brought my own cup. I typically don't have a reusable mug with me, but I just happened to be emptying the dishwasher before I walked out the door so I decided to bring it along.

This is where the comedy ensuing disaster began.

I pull up to the window, where I am greeted with, you brought your own mug? I handed it over. I then watched the Starbucks employee pour my chai into my reusable mug from a paper cup. Then the employee casually offers me the leftover chai that was remaining in the paper cup. I say sure, assuming he's just going to hand the almost empty paper cup over to me. He hands me my reusable mug, full of chai. When I look back, he has kindly poured the remaining left over chai into a small kid size cup for me with another plastic lid.

Here's the math, using ONE reusable mug brought to Starbucks:
1. Tall cup where drink was originally made (even though I told them I had my own cup).
2. A SECOND paper cup to put the leftover chai in.
3. My mug, which got dirty and used as well.

ONE chai, THREE cups. I'd call that an eco-UNfriendly experience. BOO Starbucks! On a side note, I probably should take the blame here because I thought I could easily use my reusable mug in the drive thru. The reality is I probably would've had better luck if I went inside, lesson learned. Ironically enough, I had to follow the mantra on my reusable mug, Keep Calm and Carry On.


  1. Crazy! I take my own mug almost every time I go to starbucks and I've never had that experience... of course I never do it in the drive-thru.

  2. Better luck inside? Not necessarily. I ALWAYS have my mug with me, and find it's pretty hit or miss in terms of baristas knowing how to respond. Good, experienced baristas always just make my drink in my mug...but all the other baristas (even the ones that might be good, but just don't have much experience) often act confused. Very, very frequently I interrupt them right after they take my mug behind the counter, and then start to make my drink inside a disposable cup.

    The WORST time though, was when the barista who refused to listen to my suggestion that she just make my drink directly in my cup ("it's unhygienic and against policy" she told me, even though I'd had a drink made in my own cup, at the same shop, several times before.) She told me I was welcome to poor the drink into my mug myself. AND THEN, she insisted I HAD TO take a lid for the cup too, because it was unsafe to hand me a cup w/out a lid...AND THEN, she yelled at me when I started to poor it into my mug at the counter. *sigh*

    Anyway. Point being? Don't be yourself up. Some baristas get it...more of them just don't.

  3. HA! How ridiculous. You go to the trouble of BYO and you didn't have to bother. That made me laugh.

  4. Huh. I have always wanted to be one of those eco-friendly moms who have it all together and come to the counter with their own mug. I used to beat myself for NOT remembering my mug. Now I realize it probably wouldn't matter. The landfill will get filled regardless. I promise to still take my cans in for recycling though. And also bring in those ink cartridges & toner cartridges at Staples. (C'mon! They pay $2 a pop! Which means MORE STARBUCKS FOR ME!)

  5. Exactly why I will go to someplace else. This has happened so many times to me at Starbucks.

  6. I had that happen at the farmer's market one day. I brought my own cup for hot cider, and as I watched, dumbfounded, the woman poured the cider into a paper cup and then into my cup. I guess she was measuring so I wouldn't get too much...

    i lost mine on a bus and i've been searching the internet far and wide!


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