Listen, we get it. It's hard to be courteous and kind when you haven't had your caffeine yet. But if you pay a visit to a little coffee shop in Roanoke, Virginia, kindness will pay—literally. Cups Coffee & Tea is encouraging more human interaction than your average Starbucks with a deal that those who mindlessly order their coffee have to pay up. A rewards system sign posted outside of Cups went viral recently, and for good reason: It made it clear that if you order "one small coffee," you pay a whopping $5. If you add a "please" the price drops to $3. Going the full "Hello, I'd like one small coffee please" lowers the price further to $1.75.
The sign is a brainchild of Austin Simms, who told local TV station WDBJ7 that while he was intending to be funny, he also wanted customers to treat the baristas like humans.
"I decided, because I need to solve all the injustices of the world, to start charging more for people who didn't take the time to say hello and connect and realize we're all people behind the counter," he said.
Less than 24 hours after the sign was posted outside, it was published in a British newspaper; three days after that, news organizations were showing up at Cups. And hey, it makes sense, because it brings up all sorts of questions: Should politeness be a currency? Will jerks avoid this place entirely?