Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What happened to cup sizes?

Brian Regan, one of my favorite comedians has a bit where he talks about cup sizes at restaurants and the silly displays hanging from the ventilation duct to let you know what the different cup sizes are. And yes, its a silly idea, but maybe not so much now. Lately I've been discovering that the old size standards have changed. When I was working in the fast food industry the sizes were thus:

Small: 16 oz.
Medium: 22 oz.
Large: 32 oz.
XL: 44 oz.

and I want to say that the children's size was maybe 12 oz., but I can't be sure about that. I think pretty much everyone was used to this standard. But in the last 6 months or so, all of a sudden, fast food places are pulling a switcheroo on us.

This morning at Carl's Jr., I ordered a combo meal and when asked what size drink I wanted I asked for a medium, only to be shocked moments later when a 32 oz cup was slapped down on my tray. Apparently medium is now what large used to be. At Wendy's if you order a combo meal they ask what size you want it. If you get a "medium" sized combo, you get a 32 oz drink. The "small" size comes with a 21 oz. Strangely though, if you order a "small" drink from the 0.99 value menu its a 16 oz. Its gotten to the point now where I occasionally ask the worker what size the cups are. Not that they ever know. This is especially critical in the drive-thru where too large a cup may result in the cup not fitting in your cupholder, and too small a cup with no refill recourse may be inadequate for my thirst-quenching needs, not to mention the fact that you don't even get to see what size the cup is until after you've already paid.

I'm not sure why the restaurants have done this, but I'm guessing they aren't doing it because their customer have demanded it. I've yet to hear anyone complain, "I wish that a medium soda were a lot bigger, but still called a medium." I haven't looked into the pricing, but I suspect that these new "mediums" are priced higher than the old ones.

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