Coffee for life, or $100k? UFV baristas ask an impossible question in quest for tips

How long do you expect to live? When will the world economy collapse? These are similar questions.

Would you take $100,000 if it meant forsaking caffeine for the rest of your life? Or would you rather have free coffee forever?

That’s the question baristas at a University of the Fraser Valley coffee shop put to their customers last week in an attempt to gin up some extra tips.

For the last two years, staff at the Fairgrounds coffee shop in the university’s Student Union Building have put out duelling tip jars. A previous employee had suggested the idea and it has proven to be an engaging way to encourage tippers, according to Tripat Sandhu, the president of the Student Union Society.

The questions are changed about twice a week, although Sandhu said it can be difficult finding something creative so often.

But if last week’s question took some creativity to think up, it’s answer also isn’t simple or easy if you consider it closely.

That’s because the value of caffeine for life doesn’t just depend on how much you love caffeine products. It’s about when you figure you’re going to kick the bucket.

After all, a 20-year-old taking $100,000 is forsaking much more coffee than someone who is 60 years old.

Then there’s the fact that while few people get offered a lifetime of free coffee, most of us are actually able to reap financial rewards for forsaking caffeine.

If you spend two dollars a day on coffee, in 60 years, you will have spent $43,800 on java.

You can go further down the rabbit hole too.

After all, inflation will also play a role here.

Assuming the price of a cup of coffee increases at about two per cent a year – Canada’s inflation target – you’ll have spent around $87,000 on coffee by the time 2079 rolls around.

On the other hand, if someone gave you $100,000 today, you could invest that money and, if it were to grow at four per cent each year, you’d have $1 million by 2079.

But will the world even exist as we know it in 2079? So, yes, you might need an advanced degree to answer this coffee question. But forget all that. You’re on the internet. If a person needed to know what they were talking about to share their opinion, half of the web wouldn’t even exist.

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