Archive | 9:23 PM

Day 311: soda, soda, everywhere and not a drop to drink

7 Nov

The road trip continues.
Today we drove through 4 more states; Maryland, Washington D.C. (I know, not really a state), Virginia and North Carolina.

At one local grocery store near our final stop, I couldn’t help but notice this product: Chubby Kids Soda.  Really?  A high-sugar drink that blatantly markets to children?

I suppose it doesn’t surprise me. Sugary drinks, in all forms, are everywhere.  Especially on the highway between Boston and Florida.

And who am I to judge?
I was a self-professed Coca-Cola fan until a year ago — and inside I may still be one.  Even though I don’t drink it anymore I love the brand, I grew up on it.

I once ordered a Coke at a lunch meeting while I was pitching the Pepsi marketing team.  Yeah… try talking yourself out of that one.  (I eventually did.)

Coke was my choice in the Soda Wars — Pepsi vs. Coke?  No contest.

Today, on one of our many stops we pulled into a road side rest stop where my thirsty soul tried to find something to drink.  There were no shops or stores.  Just big vending machines.

My options were:

Coke
Pepsi
Juice
Water
Diet Dr. Pepper
Lemonade
Ginger Ale

I happily forked over two dollars and fed the big box and pushed the button for WATER.

The words SOLD OUT ran across the screen in bright red dashed letters.
So I pushed the other WATER button.
SOLD OUT.
Finally, I pushed my last WATER button option.

Surprise!  I was greeted with those same dancing letters.
SOLD OUT.

One would think running into this issue would be easily resolved with the push of the REFUND lever sticking out right next to the dollar eater.  But, no, not this trick vending machine.  Nope. Nada. No refunds. Not happening.

So it was, there on a highway road stop, that I engaged with a vending machine in a full-on stare down.

I didn’t budge. It didn’t either.

I poked and prodded the REFUND lever to no avail.
It held its ground and my dollars.

I was left with a choice — wondering what would be the best of the worst sugary drinks. Would juice be better?  What about lemonade?

I reluctantly pushed the Ginger Ale button and out popped a big, green, plastic bottle. I turned it over in my hands and read the label. What— 59 grams of sugar!?

Ugh. Bad. Choice.

Just as I turned to leave the vending machine another couple was making their way to the dollar eating area, when it occurred to me — I could just give them the drink I held in my hand.

It would be benevolent! It would be like paying it forward! I mean, I was certainly not going to drink it. They would be so happy! I would do a good deed!

As they approached I flashed a big smile and outstretched my big, green Ginger Ale offering.

Their faces turned to disgust and they started waving their hands in the universal sign of that-toxin-will-kill-me motion.

The man rubbed his stomach and said:
“That stuff really messes me up. Sorry. Thanks for the offer.”

I don’t know why I was surprised, that’s exactly what I would do if in the other shoes.

Instead of giving him a can of soda, I shared another kind of gift.
A friendly warning that the evil vending machine was out of water and if provoked would eat his dollars.

The Soda Wars continue it seems.
But, I know, nothing was the better choice as something for my body today.

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