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Why Do Coffee Shops Ask "For Here or to Go"?

What's Up With Coffee Shops Asking "For Here or to Go"?

When you're stopping in to your neighborhood coffee shop for a little pick-me-up, the cashier might ask whether you'll be enjoying your beverage "for here or to go." She's not asking out of curiosity, and she's not just trying to find out if your coffee should be presented in a paper or ceramic cup — she's asking to find out whether or not your purchase should be taxed.

This policy is going to vary depending on your state's tax laws, but here in California we are taxed when the answer is "for here." To have a nontaxing experience, tell the cashier you want your goodies to go.


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nancita nancita 7 years
I have always wondered this, especially at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, since they only have disposable cups.
Advah Advah 7 years
In the UK Starbucks drinks are more expensive when they're 'sit in', but I always thought it was their way to squeeze more money out of their customers..
rickimc rickimc 7 years
Our taxes don't change, but the McDonald's by my work charges a 15 cent fee for "here" because then they have to pay staff to clean.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 7 years
I'd totally take it to go and drink it at the park.
aka-Daria aka-Daria 7 years
i noticed the tax when i went to carls jr and ate there.
death-by-chocolat death-by-chocolat 7 years
Ah yeah, I've known about this since I was a kid. In Ohio, we used to get that question concerning anything- fast food in particular. However, they recently changed that piece of it so that you're automatically taxed going through the drive-thru (obvs "to go") but I do believe if you're in something like a coffee shop you still have the option of tax-free "to go". I think there was some argument that they're taxing the "service" and the containers for the food, rather than the actual food. That's how the fast food companies were able to tax drive-thrus.
verily verily 7 years
In TX, it's taxed no matter what. It's considered "ready-to-eat" food whether you sit down in the restaurant or take it away.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 7 years
This is always the case in the UK.
Berlin Berlin 7 years
it isn't just coffee shops, most restaurants are like this too. At my bar, if people come up to the actual bar and order food and they intend for it togo, then we don't pay taxes on it if it's entered as such. Tricky business:) But in FL, it's definitely taxed otherwise!
itsallabouttheg itsallabouttheg 7 years
learned this tidbit the hard way when i discovered coffee bean during undergrad! cokerad: i've never seen an employee do anything about it, but i'd at least throw some change in the tip jar.
cokerad cokerad 7 years
What do they do if you say "to go" but then sit your butt down in a seat and enjoy it "here"?
JaeB JaeB 7 years
As long as the weather stays nice here in CA, I don't mind "to go", but in a month or so I will.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
well i don't think that i've ever been asked that in a coffee shop here in NYC but when i was in london at school over there, i was asked that a lot - and sometimes it's not such a bad idea to sit and enjoy the cup rather than take it and run.
ehadams ehadams 7 years
The sales tax thing is so tricky. You definitely need to say TO GO in CA for any coffee, fast food, etc. to avoid the sales tax. It is small but it adds up for sure.
ditorres ditorres 7 years
same with pinkberry. i wish they just automatically made it "to go". The last time I went to pinkberry, a snooty lady was ordering in front of me. Apparently she struck the cashier person the wrong way because not only did the cashier person ring her up "for here" but also individually charged her for three toppings when her order was supposed to get three toppings for the price of one!
dbeauty87 dbeauty87 7 years
I have chosen "for here" but i dont fancy it. Most coffee shops fill the mug to the brim, making it impossible to make it to the table with a steaming hot drink, without bumping into someone. And its even more difficult to drink it that way. Maybe im just clumsy, but with anything hot, i prefer a lid.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 7 years
Really? I have to check my state! Tricky.
sweetstanzy sweetstanzy 7 years
Yeah, I found this out a couple of years ago so I always say "to go" when I go to Coffee Bean. But even when I forgot to say "to go" or said "for here" they still gave me my coffee in a paper cup.
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