Pay it Forward, Good Day Cup and Tip Votes

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While driving back to Portland with my Sister she told me about this news story where someone bought the person behind them a cup of coffee, the act continued for several hours. Awesome!
Here’s a link to the original story.

I was really excited about this story as it’s just the kind of thing we need more of. I was thinking about ways to implement something like more often. One decision I’ve made was to use my fully stamped coffee card (that buys me any coffee drink) and use that to buy the next person what ever drink they wanted. I’m going to continue this practice as I slowly fill up cards. The problem is that it generally takes a while to fill up a card for a particular coffee shop and the whole pay it forward thing could be slightly more organized.

Fixed Pay it Forward Price

After giving it some thought, I decided that it would be a great idea to have the Pay it Forward fixed price for coffee drinks. This way you could pay for the next persons drink what ever it might be for a fixed price. At the Fresh Pot on Hawthorne where I like to go for coffee I figured the average of a coffee drink is about $2. So if they had a fixed price set for the pay it forward coffee it might prove to be beneficial for all involved. My thinking is it might be fun to actually have an organized day to promote the fixed price. I’m not sure how it would work out or if people would take advantage of the system by having friends buy them a drink for $2 that normally costs almost $4. I’m sure there might be a way to work around that too. Perhaps the pay it forward thing would work for every 5th person or something like that. The key might be to tell customers the person in front of them bought them this drink only when they are about to pay for it and give them the fixed price option for the next person.
Hmmmm it might take a little more thought.

Good Day Cup
I was talking about the pay it forward price with Guido, a consultant on MoHDI. He was telling me in Italy they have something similar. In Italy it’s called caffè sospeso . Coffee “in suspense” I like this idea that this has been going on for generations. Since I’m not a huge fan of the name “coffee in suspense”, I was thinking that “Good Day Cup” would be better. I imagine the Good Day Cup being a small cup that would be placed next to the tip jar that if people choose to could drop a few coins in that collectively could go towards a cup of coffee for someone who might need it at the time. I think this might actually work a bit better than the PIF method.

Tip Voting
My next thought would be similar to the good day cup but instead allow people to vote for a variety of things by putting tips into different jars. I also think it might be a good way to do market research for a certain area. So say you put 3 voting tip jars infront of the regular tip jar each labeled let’s say one is labeled “Red”, then “Blue” and “Green” the jar with the most $ in it at the end of the day would determine the results. Perhaps instead of colors you could do presidential candidates or to show where tax dollars should go. I think this would increase tips of the workers and also from a research point of view this would be pretty dang cool.

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