While I wish I could pretend that I get my caffeine fix at a local coffee house where the owner bakes fresh flaxseed muffins every morning and her domestic life partner plays Joni Mitchell covers during open mic night, I've got to admit that more often than not, I am guilty of feeding the Evil Starbucks Machine. This is primarily because it's right around the corner from both my apartment and my office, but also because the only other place that's directly on my route to work is Whole Foods. And after extensive experimentation, I've come to the conclusion that the coffee at Whole Foods is laced with crack, because every time I drink it, I scare the interns. They often have to peel me off the ceiling and quietly remove sharp objects from my desk. I wish this were true of the two-bite vanilla cupcakes at Whole Foods, because maybe then I'd stop eating them too.
But back to Starbucks. You see, something's been bothering me for a while (and it's not the matter of why anyone would want to put PUMPKIN in their LATTE, though I've had a few sleepless nights over that too.) My dilemma is this: when I get my Venti Coffee (and yes, I've acquiesced---I no longer point mutely to the biggest cup or try to get away with "extra large"), it always comes to $1.96. So after I've handed over my two dollar bills, I have two choices:
a) Stand there lamely and wait for the salesperson (oh come on, I gave you Venti, I draw the line at BARISTA) to hand me back my four cents. Which sort of makes me look like those four pennies are VITAL TO MY EXISTENCE and I'm going to go and count them all later and place them in creepy piles of ten on my desk, when really, just between you and me, if I didn't think it would have some horrible karmic effect, I'd probably just throw them away, because pennies are the most useless invention ever, and the only time you'll ever need them is when you buy something that comes to $19.01, and THAT is when you won't have a penny on you and you'll hold the line up while you search through your purse and then desperately cast about on the grocery store floor in case someone's dropped one.
b) Breezily walk away without the four cents---or throw it into the tip jar---before proceeding to the Splendid Splenda Station. Which, although it gives me an admirable air of recklessness---a sort of laissez-faire attitude, if you will---may in fact be WORSE, since it seems to say "Here you are, peon! Four cents for you! It's your lucky day! Buy yourself something nice!"
Since I have yet to resolve this important quandary, I mostly take the coward's way out and use my debit card. But really, which is tackier? To wait for your four cents or to walk off without it? Or should I just succumb to buying the crack at Whole Foods? It's only $1.57 there. And did I tell you they have two-bite vanilla cupcakes?