On the other hand, I have a serious tea problem. Unlike some friends of mine, I'm not a fancy tea
In a perfect world, all decent restaurants would get a decent tea selection to match, or at least choose a house tea with some semblance of taste. Places with nice tea options stay in my mind vividly and for a long time, places like Blue Duck Tavern for one, or The Brampton Inn (by the way, I recommend that given the opportunity, you try dinner at Blue Duck Tavern or a night at the Brampton). This will never happen, not in the coffee-alarm-using, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz eating US of A. A commenter on Bruni's piece had a nice suggestion, which I might use in the future. The mother of said commenter brings her own bag but orders hot tea at the table, swapping the restaurant's bland offering for something she prefers. The restaurant, in essence, charges for the tea service but the classy lady gets what she wants. This seems ideal, unless one takes a quick glance at the economics of it. The customer pays for the tea, then for the tea service. Assuming the restaurant reuses, rather than tosses, the offending tea bag, the restaurant profits. If one worries over troubling the waiter for hot water, why not just toss an extra dollar or so into the tip, rather than paying for hot tea, using one's own tea, and then tipping on the tea order? This is getting so complicated that it's entirely simple to see why I no longer order tea in restaurants very often. Also, I anticipate at least on person wondering whether the economics of tea is really a big deal. Well no, not at say, Bigelow from the grocery store prices. But if you purchase a nice tea, whether loose or bagged, prices can go up considerably.
I don't have this one worked out. I think I'm going to keep skipping after dinner beverages, or opting for an espresso once in a while. What would you do in my situation? Eat the extra cost to drink what you want? Bite the bullet and either order of the menu or order nothing?
* Actually, this is not entirely accurate. On occasion I have purchased a cup of tea or similar from Starbucks and, not finding a seat, have toted my beverage to another Starbucks location. I do not think this is morally reprehensible. If you disagree, leave it in the comments.
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