Customers Were Not Prepared For What Their Coffee Shop Refused To Do

The morning coffee. The afternoon coffee. Any coffee. The getting of the day's cup(s) of coffee is basically a sanctified and inviolable ritual. To break its rules would be to upset the very fabric of society, to end order and peace on our city's streets. Right?

Because we're really all just this lady:

Blissed out from yoga, trying to get our decaf coffee on.


The kind (or grouchy) coffee person will give it to us with that little paper sleeve without our even asking, and we'll wander out into the noonday sun and drink it slowly, trying not to burn our tongue.

This social experiment aims to snap us out of our automatic apartment-yoga-coffee-office routine.

(Or, y'know, whatever your routine is. My day certainly doesn't start with yoga. What am I, a flexible rooster?)

A coffee shop asks its customers whether they want their beverage "for here or to go," and when someone says they'd like it "to go," the guy behind the counter asks for their to-go cup.

What's that? No to-go cup? Jeez, that's too bad — because they're not offering paper or plastic cups anymore.

Just miles and miles o' mugs.

People are a little bit surprised.

But they take it in stride. At least, these folks did. (Must not have been filmed in New York?)

In the video capturing this little project, most people stall for a minute, unsure of what to do.

Then they say, "OK, for here then." And they just go on living their lives.

It's funny to watch. But what's really great is how little happens.

There's a very good chance that if we changed the behavior of businesses, we awesome individuals could save 160 million cups per day. And I like how easy that sounds.

Want that obligatory holy-cow number again?

That's how many cups we're using every day for our mocha-choca-latta-ya-yas.

But this isn't a lecture from Professor Boringpants. (He's on sabbatical.)

This is an impassioned inquiry into the invisible hands that shape our everyday behavior. We're not here to ask, "Why aren't you a better person who brews a fair-trade coffee at home every morning and carries it in a BPA-free thermos to work?"

No, we're to ask:

Why do thousands of businesses give us 160 million pieces of garbage that we then have to throw in the trash every day?
Heroes