Hey 3.5 readers.
Your old pal BQB here.
California, that dopey state full of dopey people (unless you read this blog then I love you and you’re not included) has passed a law, the basic summary of which is if you’re a waiter and you hand out a straw without being asked for one, you could get a fine up to $1000 or 6 months in jail.
Let’s unpack this. I assume the concern is a) all other problems in California have been solved and the legislature can now put all of its focus into the great straw catastrophe and b) straws are not really a necessity (at least for most people) and therefore if they are passed out only when asked for, there might be a reduction in straw plastic being thrown away.
First, I mean, holy shit, a fine or jail? Look people. Jail sucks. The government shouldn’t be creating new ways to throw people into jail over piddily shit. Can you imagine the conversation on the cell block?
PRISONER A: Whaddya in for?
PRISONER B: I was the chainsaw maniac serial killer on the news. I chainsawed 50 people to death. How about you?
PRISONER A: I was a mob hitman. I whacked over a thousand people. Hey you, what are you in for?
FORMER WAITER TURNED PRISONER C: I gave a straw to a customer even though he didn’t ask me for one.
PRISONER A: OH MY GOD!
PRISONER B: You make me sick!
At any rate, prison time should really be reserved for major crimes so I mean, you know locking people up or fining them or putting anything on their criminal record over a straw is crazy.
You might think this won’t be rabidly enforced but I mean, all it takes is for one uppity person to run to the cops and be all like, “He gave me a straw without asking!” And then what’s that trial going to be like? Five days of lawyers and witnesses and a judge re-enacting an alleged straw handoff?
Second, paper straws do exist. I’ve used them and they aren’t that bad. If plastic straws are that concerning, they could tell restaurants they have to use paper straws.
Third, there has to be a reason why restaurant drinks always come with straws in the first place. It’s got to be a sanitation thing. If you have customers just putting their mouth germs on the straw and then the straw is easily flicked into the trash, maybe that lessens the spread of bacteria for say, a dishwasher who would otherwise be handling hundreds of glasses that were drunk directly from all day.
Plus, you’ve got these cups being drank from by tons of people everyday…and they’re being handled by waiters all day…I’m sure the dishwasher probably kills most germs but the straw just adds an extra little layer. I mean, if there’s serious germs in that cup, will the straw stop it? Probably not but still.
In theory, I do wonder about all the excess waste that restaurants and especially fast food joints produce. Every drink you get a plastic cup, a bag or a box your food goes in, you eat for a few minutes then that all goes in the trash but unfortunately I just don’t see another way.
I just think that jail time for a straw infraction is a bit much. The threat of jail should be used sparingly. I have a feeling in the next year there are going to be a lot of waiters and waitresses whose disgruntled exes are going to be shouting, “He/she gave me a straw! An unasked for straw!”