We have been banging our collective heads against the onslaught of the pod people for years, as the expensive, disposable, unrecyclable (yes, unrecyclable) but oh so convenient coffee pod systems take over the world. One complaint we have had was that it limits choice, reducing customers' options if they want fair trade or shade grown or even picked by women farmers.
But the worst offender of all of the pod people were Keurig, which sells its version 2.0 machine that has a reader that rejects coffee pods made by other pod makers. Third party suppliers were taking 15% of sales and since the real money is in the pods, this had to be stopped. As Peter Nowak writes in the Globe and Mail,
Even this pro-business conservative newspaper gets radical about this issue. Noting that Keurig recently raised their prices:
Suddenly these popular single-serve coffee machines are like the MP3 players of a decade ago: saddled with copy-restricting digital rights management software that puts them high on the list of potential gifts to avoid this holiday season.
It’s the first increase in what is sure to be many, unless consumers vote with their wallets and prevent the emergence of a veritable locked-down coffee cabal. Anyone who doesn’t think it can happen probably hasn’t tried to buy printer ink lately.
Now other radicals have got involved in this and developed hacks to get around the DRM in the Keurig machine. The kids at Keurighack.com show you how to do it with a piece of tape and not much aim, all to stirring Star Wars music.
This is a step in the right direction, but still locks you into buying expensive pods, even if they are third party. These are all still creating mountains of garbage and they don't even pretend to have phoney recycling programs.
The best solution of all is to just reject the pod people. There are other technologies, from french press to my favorite Bialetti, that are almost as convenient, cost a quarter as much per cup, have no fancy electronics and screens and stuff to break down and give you a world of choice in coffee. The Bialetti has been around since 1933, comes in a number of sizes, and lasts forever.
There is no reason that we should let the pod people tell us what we should drink, and no reason we should pay their prices. Just say no to pods!