I was recently asked if I had a motto. I replied “Testers light the way.”
This blog is about learning, but my day job is software testing. I think and learn like a tester.
Recently my colleague, Michelle Smith, gave a nice little example of how testers think. Check it out. See? Testers question things. In so doing we light the way for others. I just blogged about another tester who questioned me and offered a reading list. Fabulous!
Now let me do a little questioning. Consider the photo, below. This is a cup sleeve from Starbucks.
I’m glad that Starbucks wants to “help the planet.” But I worry that someone at Starbucks is not on board with the plan. Do you notice the fine print?
“Intended for single use only.”
As a tester, part of my job is to notice inconsistencies. So here are my questions:
- Is this a warning not to use the sleeve more than once? It’s not worded as a warning, but what other reason could there be for it? If it’s a warning, why put it in fine print? You want credit for warning me, but you don’t want me to notice the warning?
- Is this warning motivated by someone who was injured, somehow, when the sleeve snapped? Or is it motivated only by the fear of that potentially happening? Either way, again, why fine print? That’s not going to stand up in court, guys!
- What kind of problem could happen? Is it mechanical failure of the sleeve, or some sort of toxic or biological hazard?
- If the sleeve can fail after one use, can’t it fail on the first use? Shouldn’t there be a blanket warning? “Caution: sleeve may snap at any time.”
- If the sleeve is so weak that more than one use puts the customer at risk of Sudden Coffee Lossage Syndrome, wouldn’t it be prudent to use a stronger glue or something? Maybe fix the problem instead merely hoping to win the lawsuit.
- What does it mean to use the sleeve more than once? Does it mean I can’t have a refill in the same cup? Does it mean I should not transfer the sleeve to another cup?
- What if I nurse one coffee a loooonng time? Is that a sleeve hazard?
- Maybe “single use” means “used for a single purpose”? Could it be that Starbucks is telling us not to use it at a coaster?
If “single use” means use it one time and then throw it away, that saves 60% over throwing away a sleeve made from non-recycled material. But if you use a non-recycled sleeve ten times, the savings is four times greater than using Starbuck’s one shot wonder sleeves.
Starbucks needs a green reality check.