Why Would You Not Get the Extra Large?

This is a job question for Superman Dan Ariely.

A few times during the year, Wawa, the Philadelphia-based convenience store (and by far THE best convenience store chain in the U.S.), has a promotion that offers any size coffee for just $1.

The coffee cup sizes come in small, medium, large, and extra large, and every time I go to Wawa during this promotion, I am shocked to see people getting a cup size smaller than extra large. It seems like the kind of decision that would be in Sebastian Maniscalco’s routine, What’s Wrong with People?

Maybe there’s a rational explanation for such behavior, but I can’t think of what it might be. Here are some reasons why it makes sense to get the extra large:

  • It appears that the bottoms of each cup are all the same size, so it doesn’t seem as if it would be a car cup-holder issue.
  • Even if you only want 12 ounces of coffee, what’s the harm in getting 24 ounces. Perhaps you will change your mind later, but even if you don’t, all you need to do is throw the extra coffee down the drain.
  • If you’re worried about drinking that much caffeine, then make it a half-caf.
  • The extra large size will help keep you better hydrated than a smaller size would. And we all know the importance of good hydration.

It’s not always the case that more is better, or that bigger is better.

But in this situation, it clearly is.

Thanks, Wawa, for offering an extra large coffee for just $1.

(If you want to read more about Wawa, here is a previous post I did about its greatness).

*image from Buzzfeed

2 thoughts on “Why Would You Not Get the Extra Large?

  1. Well there’s this:
    1) since I load my coffee up with milk and sugar a huge cupful means more calories/caffeine (I think decaf tastes weird) …caffeine is a drug we self-regulate. If we get too much we can get wired/shaky/anxious
    2) a huge cup is heavier to handle and top-heavy cups tip over more easily in my car’s cup holder
    3) it might get cold faster if the one-size-fits-all little sleeve insulates it less?
    4) old habits die hard … and before that first cup of coffee our minds just aren’t sharp enough to see the wisdom of changing a habit that has driven a deep rut in our brains … 5) bigger isn’t always better if we’re just going to waste it…think of the planet!)
    6) I don’t like cold coffee and I don’t think I could drink the big cup before it got cold and then I’d be stuck having to throw it out and/or risk spilling it while looking for a place to empty it…

    So… unless I was planning on sitting down and drinking it there –where I could microwave it to heat it up after it got cold– I think I’d go for the second largest size in my to-go order.

    Thanks for asking!


    1. You put a lot of thought into your daily cup of joe! And thanks for offering your thoughts about why you would not choose the extra-large. I guess I don’t need Dan Ariely after all!


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