Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lid Trouble

I stopped by Starbucks over the weekend, and they were having trouble with their new lids. Unlike the old lids, which would snap in place and hold tight, the new lids come loose at random times, potentially spilling hot and cold drinks on people. It makes coffee more of a high-risk experience than people were used to.

I am sure Starbucks will get its lid problem sorted out quickly, but still: If they are going to change the shape of the lid, wouldn’t they test the new design to make sure it works satisfactorily before they introduce it? If the objective was to save money, hasn’t Starbucks lost more money in spilled coffee than it might have saved in the manufacture of the new lids?

It made me think, of course, of the troubles BP is having with its out-of-control oil well. The problem there too is a lid that won’t fit. The lid, actually a valve, apparently wasn’t tried to see how well it would work. Before the explosion, it was said to be partly functional, but an equally plausible explanation after the fact is that it wasn’t functioning at all. If BP thought it was saving money, it was being lid wise and barrel foolish. It has lost far more money in spilled oil alone.