It was one of my co-worker’s birthday recently so we (they) decided to go out for lunch to celebrate the occasion. The birthday celebrant ordered a soft drink with ‘light ice.’ That did not surprise me – not everyone needs their beverage freezing cold. However, what DID surprise me was what the waitress said – “It is just that the glass will not be full.” My co-worker said it was OK and that they understood. WHAT?
Several weeks ago, as I was browsing through various news sources to find a topic for one of my NROPs, I stumbled upon a piece that talked about Starbucks (or a similar coffee chain place) charging extra for drinks with no ice. Never having seen anything like that myself, I figured that it simply could not be true. ‘Simply ridiculous!‘ I thought and scrolled to the comment section at the bottom of the article. One of them explained how the premise was inaccurate, which confirmed my belief, and so I moved on – happy that it really was not the world we live in (as if we did not have other problems already).
Until now. I mean – until that lunch.
As a kid, I remember my parents telling me that restaurants displayed their greediness by putting (more) ice into your drink. That way, they could save a few cents here and there on putting less of the actual drink into your glass. (That is specifically true for cocktails! Hence, I prefer the spirit neat when out and about.) I smirked at them. ‘How much money could the restaurants really be saving? People want ice.‘ I thought and figured it was another one of those ‘old people thing.’ When my parents ordered a beverage for me and my sibling, they asked for either light or no ice. Even though they were fully aware of the restaurant’s ‘trick,’ that was not what affected their order. Instead, they were worried that a drink chilled too much might hurt our throats. Whether it is because of their teachings or not, to this day, I prefer a drink that is not freezing cold. (A sip is fine but anything more than that is overkill.)
For some reason, I remember going abroad around that same time and being told that a beverage with ice was priced ‘extra.’ Since it was very warm and the beverage with no ice – room temperature, we had no choice but to pay extra for the ice (even if light). It was before I studied economics, so I just tried to reason with myself to find out why anyone would pay extra for ice. At home, you just poured water into a tray, stuck it in the freezer, and voila! My parents helped by suggesting that the water used for the ice might not be tap water (hopefully) and therefore more expensive. Additionally, you had to have a freezer, which used up electricity. Of course, they had to charge extra for ice! (Those were small mom-and-pop places abroad, way back; it is possible that they did not have ice machines.)
Returning to the US, I was glad that – even though our drinks were full of ice – at least we were not being charged for that. (Perspective, anyone?!)
Many years ago, my parents predicted that one day we would be paying extra for a drink with no ice but people would just raise their eyebrows at them. Pessimists… People have the same look when they glance at me these days. No. Not a pessimist – an unfortunate realist.
A few weeks ago, a TikToker (because that is THE business to be in) shared with the world how the coffee place listed a surcharge on their menu of $1 for no ice. First of all – charging extra for a drink with no ice is ridiculous. Second of all – charging a DOLLAR for no ice is even worse. That is a lot. Should we maybe start suing those companies for charging us a price in which a dollar worth of a beverage was missing? If I had a dollar for every drink I have had… I might be rich (or not).
Some people think charging extra for ‘no ice’ seems fair because ‘you are getting more product.’ My manic laughter quickly turned into tears. Is that really a depiction of the society we live in? I am assuming that these people were only born in the last couple of decades and just do not know better.
Now, of course, there is always someone who makes things worse for all of us by trying to make things better for themselves. There is a Starbucks ‘hack’ that has gone viral, which might have fueled the ‘charge for no ice’ change. Apparently, in order to game the system and get two drinks for the price of one, you should ask for a drink with no ice… and a cup of ice on the side…
I have personally witnessed someone doing that (at the airport) and I did not really think twice about it. I figured that the ice was for bottled water that was had by a fellow traveler or just to dose the ice as the customer saw fit (that the drink would not dilute too quickly). And people say that I always see the worst in people. No, I do not. I do not want to, but the reality- I am sure you see it yourself.
The outrageous surcharge of $1 for no ice in the TikTok video seemed isolated. Until my co-worker received 3/4 of a glass of whatever they ordered. If that ever happens to me, I will ask them how they feel about me suing for all the time when they gave me ice with a squeeze of a drink when I ordered a drink. It will not change anything but it will let them know that not everyone is OK with being robbed. (I will applaud anyone who actually has receipts and will attempt that.) Let this be a warning to you all – if it feels like something can be exploited – sooner or later – it will!
(P.S. I miss the days when we went out to lunch and had an alcoholic drink without anyone batting an eyelash.)
- Do you like a lot of ice in your drink?
- Have you encountered the ‘no-ice’ surcharge?
- Are you ever surprised by how things end up or do you see it coming a mile off?
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