A woman I know was one of 5 or 6 kids. Her parents used one of these for the family milk. It holds 5 gallons. A new one is cost prohibitive, but if I didn't have such a tiny kitchen, I would consider scouring the used market. Milk takes up so much room in my fridge.
My kids are big fans of straws. I have a few cleanable, reuseable ones, but they tend to get chewed up after a week of use. Plus, the Carnation Instant Breakfast I encourage the kids to use to make chocolate milk gunks them up. Instead of worrying about clean straws all the time, I just buy the cheap-o disposable ones. I think 100 straws cost $0.76.
For a while, we had one of these. Cute, retro-style...but I had to re-fill it every other day. I have 5 straw users here drinking several cups of whatever a day. Frequently, it would sit empty and the kids got their straws directly from the straw bag. I ditched the dispenser.
But, the cheap-o straws come in a cheap-o bag that splits open and won't actually hold the straws. Frequently we have straw disasters and piles to pick up. Unfortunately, yesterday, the party responsible for the disaster threw a fit at having to clean it up, and even after an act of mercy presented her with assistance, she was too far gone in tantrum mode to accept the help and threw the straws back on the ground. The straws sat on the kitchen floor. I was too busy with school to deal with the mess, and figured ten minutes would calm the perpetrator and cooperation would be more easily attained.
But then some nameless toddler took advantage of school time to hunt around the pantry and find a juice box (a rare treat). Unable to open it the proper way, he merely used his teeth to puncture the box. He then enjoyed his refreshment right over the pile of straws, covering them all with sticky juice. Lovely.
I think it's time for a new dispenser.
I found this one, which is pretty cheap. The big, fast-food types are 4 or 5 times this price (they hold more and will stand up to more abuse, I'm sure). But I was really attracted to the 12,500 straws for $27...that's 5 straws for a penny! So, at an estimated rate of 15 straws per day, the supply will last for well over two years.
Would it be too cruel to wrap the big box of straws and put it under the tree?