have you ever wondered why no car dispenses an item as curious as it is the coaster? Today it is difficult to find a tourism that does not enjoy, either in the center console, or in a drop-down menu of the dashboard (style Porsche), a coaster, a receptacle in which to leave a bottle of water, a coffee, a glass of water, a can of
beer soda, etc. Many, myself included, learned to drive with cars that had no coasters. That being said, how it became this element is essential (in fact it is one of the most valued and used by the drivers)? In what time the automotive industry has decided that their customers needed a place to leave their drinks? What has this to do with the case of Stella Liebeck, an elderly woman who received 2,86 million dollars in 1994, Mcdonald’s, in concept of damages, for a coffee too hot?
The american industry is the most has a lawyer by include cup holders in their cars, encouraged by the booming business of fast food in that it is not necessary to get out of the car to pick up your menu.
The origin of the cup holders in the cars is closely linked to the culture of the restaurants drive-in and drive-through in the united States. The manufacturers of north America were the most advocated, and before, by the introduction of this item today is essential. The first restaurant of this type, in which customers had not to alight from his car to receive his food, he was born in Texas in 1921, and the cars passed – quite literally – by the interior of the restaurant. Later, from the thirties, the restaurants, the drivers made their request for a window, began to become a boom, very also associated to the proliferation of a myriad of business of fast food.
In those years also began to proliferate autocines, a sort of open air cinemas adapted to watch the movie from our car. And you will be with me in that, whether to see a movie, or eat a good burger in the car, it was essential to have a safe place in which to leave the soda, don’t you think?
In 1994, a customer of McDonalds was compensated with 2,86 million dollars for a coffee spilled on his legs when he was traveling passenger in a car that, incidentally, had no coasters.
In those years the industry was making the website to a hole in which you could sustain itself perfectly in a soda can, and even moved the idea to the rear seats, with moveable armrests in the central square. But the real fact which led to many manufacturers, especially in the united States, to install cup holders in all their models, was the trial of Stella Liebeck against McDonalds (see history of the case, Liebeck against McDonalds on Wikipedia).
In 1992, an elderly woman from Albuquerque asked for a coffee in the window of the McAuto of your city, when I was traveling in the front passenger seat of the Ford Probe 1989, his grandson. It turns out that the Ford Probe had no cup holders. And when Stella placed the coffee between her legs, and tried to open the lid to add sugar and milk, the coffee is poured out by his legs and his pelvis provocándola third-degree burns on six percent of her body, that kept her for eight days in the hospital and were seriously damaged their health.
mrs. Liebeck tried to get McDonalds to cover the expenses of their hospitalization, and other derivatives of the scars left on her body that incident, but Mcdonald’s instead offered a compensation that is much less expected. So that Stella Liebeck was on trial, with a complaint considered by many as frivolous and without prospect of obtaining a favorable verdict for the affected. And, against all odds, in 1994 was compensated with an award of 2.86 million dollars. In the end, the story is very american.
Although Ford did not have to pay any compensation for damages, the case also marked a before and an after in the history of the coasters. From that moment on there was no manufacturer, especially american, who could forget the importance of including a cup holder in your car.