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Not that your friendly Y&H is a cynic, but when I saw this article on Mental Floss, I immediately thought, “I bet you can’t get half of these ‘secret’ menu items at your local _____ (fill in the fast-food outlet).” So I went to my nearby Starbucks in Adams Morgan and asked the barista for the smallest cup of coffee I could get.

I was expecting one of those thimble-sized sample cups.

He wasn’t quite sure what I wanted, so he started showing me all the various cups available — the Tall, the Grande, the Venti, the Ubermassenhaft. (OK, I joke about the last one, but only because Starbucks deserves it for corrupting the language.) Among the cups he showed me was this petite white cone that holds a reasonable eight-ounce pour.

“That’s what I want,” I told the barista. “I’ve never seen those before.”

“We use them for espresso,” he said, noting that I could also use it for coffee.

“Why don’t you include those sizes on the menu?” I asked.

“They’re too small.”

I ignored what I considered an illogical response — too small? why? because they need to get everyone hooked on 20-ounces of pure, caffeine-injected java? — and went to the cashier. She didn’t bat an eye over my mini-coffee, either, and promptly rang it up. It was around $1.60 (they rarely give me a damn receipt!) or about 20-some cents cheaper than the “Tall.”

Frankly, I’m not interested in the savings. I’m interested in the smaller serving. Most afternoons I crave coffee. What I don’t crave is 12 ounces of coffee. Sure, I could order the Tall and just not drink it all — but I always do.  Then I live to regret it, usually through a jitteriness that manifests itself in ADD Web-surfing and the inability to concentrate longer than, oh, 10 seconds at a stretch.

Is this good for the nation’s crumbling economy, I ask?

But today, Y&H has hope, not only for his future afternoon coffee fixes but also for the rest of Mental Floss’ secret menu roundup. Next up on Y&H’s research agenda: See if I can really get green sauce at Taco Bell.

Photo by jerine via Flickr Creative Commons, Attribution License.