Like all Dunkin’ Donuts, the location at Reagan National airport has a napkin dispenser. But at this particular location that dispenser is in danger of being emptied by one woman.

“You have to pay for napkins,” the Dunkin’ employee tells her.

“What? Really?”

The customer looks at the two dozen napkins in her hand.

“Paying for napkins – in America?”

The Dunkin’ employee flashes a sly smile.

“I’m joking,” the Dunkin’ employee says.

“Oh! You know, in some places they make you pay for grocery bags. Can you imagine that?”

Hearing my cue, I chime in.

“Yes, that’s what we do in California, unless we bring our own.”

“Pay for bags,” the woman says, a horrified look on her face. “Why on Earth would you do that?”

“Because we live on Earth.”

The woman shakes her head and offers a one-word response before walking away – “California.”

I could feel smug, but I’m quickly humbled. The Dunkin’ employee hands me my coffee in a styrofoam cup, and I head to my gate, where I will board a plane with a carbon footprint that surely exceeds all the paper napkins that woman will ever waste.

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