Coffee Break: I Want to Have an Idea THIS Good

I don’t normally dine in McDonald’s because the one item on their menu I like – the Sausage and Egg McMuffin – stops getting served way too early for me. But there is a shopping centre (mall, American friends) in Cork that has the most horrendously inadequate offering of coffee-drinking options of any place in the civilized world and so after seeing Jurassic Park a couple of weeks back we were forced to get some McDonald’s coffee in the food court.

Which is how I discovered that someone at McDonald’s has had a brilliant idea.

(Or, potentially, stolen it from someone else. But someone has had a brilliant idea.)

In theory, a coffee (or other hot beverage) loyalty card is a great idea. You’re buying coffees from the same place on a regular basis, so why wouldn’t you want to get a free coffee after every five or ten purchases? And of course it benefits the store, because on that morning you almost hit another cafe for a bit of a change, you remember your loyalty card and make like you’re loyal.

But in practice, loyalty cards are a pain in the arse. The company has to get them designed, produced and then kept in stock, and the staff have to remember to keep them to hand by the register and/or offer to hand them out. When a coffee is ordered, they also have to remember to ask if the customer has a loyalty card, and then they have to stamp the card, if the little stamp-thingy hasn’t been lost since its last use, or dried out by that weirdo who works Friday nights and spends his time tattooing his arms with it. The customer has to remember to bring the loyalty card with them, which is where I always fell down. I’d leave the office with cash in my hand, leaving the card in my wallet back at my desk. The cashier would give me a new loyalty card so the purchase wasn’t “wasted”, a practice that eventually filled with wallet with single-stamp loyalty cards. So, no free coffee for me.

I couldn’t find a single suitable image of the loyalty card-embedded coffee cup, and I didn’t have the foresight to take one. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.

McDonald’s have, in one move, removed all these problems. The sleeve of the cup has a loyalty card within it that you can easily peel off, along with a sticker to get your loyalty card started. If you already have one of the cards, you just peel off the sticker to add to it. With you having that cup in front of you for at least as long as it takes you to drink the coffee, you won’t forget to peel off the sticker. Even if your card is back in the office, you’re probably taking your coffee back there anyway. At no point does the staff have to get involved in the operation and as the card is part of the sleeve, if it’s unwanted there’s no additional waste.

It’s just all kinds of great, isn’t it? I’m an avid watcher of shows like Dragon’s Den and I can’t recall anybody coming in with an idea as simple as this that solves as many problems. Sure, those problems aren’t world hunger or global warming or anything, but it’s still good stuff.

I hope I can have an idea as good as this someday. Of course I hope mine is more along the lines of “How to sell a gazillion books a minute” or something, but still. I live in hope.

The Results Not Typical blog tour continues! Imagine your surprise. Yesterday I was on Writer’s Rest, the lovely blog home of Cel and Anna author Lindsay Edmunds, answering questions about creating fiction versus writing non-fiction, writing snacks and the benefits of drinking gallons of water mixed with lemon juice and pepper. (Spoiler alert: there are none.) Today I’m over on the lovely Mel’s High Heels and Book Deals, with an ode to flip-flops. Yes, I know they’re not technically high heels, but I love than more because I can actually work in them. Find out more about the RNT blog tour here

4 thoughts on “Coffee Break: I Want to Have an Idea THIS Good

  1. Andrea "The American Roommate" says:

    Very interesting. I used to get my coffee from McDonald’s pretty often a couple of years ago, but I haven’t been in awhile. I’m wondering if this is something that they are just piloting overseas – I don’t recall hearing about this in the U.S. I’ll investigate and report back. 🙂

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Do, because I’ve heard that the number of coffees you have to get for a free one differs from country to country, which would be both inexplicable and hilarious if it’s true! In Ireland I think it’s five and you get the sixth one free. Check what it is in the US! And I only had a latte but it was pretty good!

  2. Janice says:

    Hi Catherine – just wanted to let you know that I just uploaded to Amazon the couple of reviews I owed for ‘Mousetrapped’ – which I LOVED – and ‘Self-Printed’ (I won the latter on Talli’s blog a while ago). Over the past few weeks I’ve been very busy adhering to Self-Printed (thank you) and that’s my excuse for the delay in the reviews! Just wanted to add that I’m really looking forward to reading your new book ‘Results…’ which sounds like great fun! Best wishes, Janice xx

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