In the month of April, I tested myself. I wanted to see how few straws I could use. I did okay but I had some discouraging results. There are two areas where I hope the restaurant industry takes notice and makes some changes.
First was getting a beverage at a restaurant. When I go out to eat I mostly drink water. Once in a while I might have a glass of wine or a cider, but those drinks don’t require straws so this doesn’t really effect those. 9 times out of 10, I have water and 6 of those 9 times my drink is delivered with a straw already in the glass and in 2 of the 9, a straw is automatically given to me. I really wish that the standard was that wait staff asks if we want a straw. This would allow people to use their own re-usable straws or just not use a straw at all. The glasses are washed in between uses, why do we need the straw.
In these interactions, it was pretty easy to ask for the beverage without a straw. Sometimes the waitstaff forgot I asked and brought a straw anyway. I tried to not make a big deal and I would take the straw out and leave it off to the side. I hoped that the waitstaff would see me purposefully not using the straw and think before automatically giving one next time.
The second area is the drive-through. Never have I been looked at like a freak more than when grabbing my drink and trying to tell the person at the window that I don’t need a straw. Many people were very confused and handed me a straw anyway. At the end of the week I would empty my car of straws and by the end of the month, I had taken to having my glass straw in my hand when they are handing me the drink and waving it at them to show that I didn’t need one. This is another instance where I wish the standard was to ask. Sure some people will need one. However, many people have reusable straws and some people even bring those beverages home and can transfer them to an easier to drink from a glass.
In recent weeks, we’ve started to see responses from restaurants (yay sippy lids at Starbucks!) and celebrities speaking out about harmful straws. I can only hope that it continues in that direction and that widespread steps are taken to remove straws from circulation.
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