Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fountain Drink Dissertating

Sometimes when you attempt to write daily blog posts after months of barely writing a thing, you have to dig deep for inspiration ... deep into the bottom of your crowded, messy pit of a purse where your phone is always hiding.*  Then you find that phone, scroll through the 1,362 photos saved there since August and look for some images to use as blog fodder.

May I suggest a writing prompt?  Ahem, here goes:  What sort of soda fountain are you most happy/unhappy to see in dining establishments you frequent?

Fountain A 

I captured this photo of Fountain A at a Potbelly near Northgate Mall in Cincinnati, OH in July of 2015.  I would characterize Fountain A as a "people pleaser fountain."  First things first, Diet Coke is available.  That's all that is needed for me to be happy about the fountain drinks on offer.  I don't share the passionate feelings of some about Diet Dr. Pepper (I'm a regular Pepper, all the way -- the only non-diet soda I will drink), but two people dear to me are DDP-lovers so I like to see a fountain that they'd be really excited about.  A bold move would be a Diet Mountain Dew tap.  I wouldn't touch it, but another someone I love would be thrilled.  I don't want to drink Diet Pepsi, obviously, but I can respect, if not understand, that there is a population that loves Diet Pepsi in the same way that I love Diet Coke.  Potbelly wants to please them, which is nice, but they're not fools at Potbelly.  They know that Pepsi/Diet Pepsi can't anchor a fountain.  The food has to be pretty awesome for me to purposely dine at an establishment that only serves Pepsi products.

Fountain B

Fountain B is not in the "people pleaser" category.  Fountain B is "curated with conviction."  I snapped this pic in October at an In-N-Out Burger in Petaluma, CA.  I don't know the ins-in-outs of beverage distributorship in California, but it seems like some party lines were crossed to gather these fountain offerings.  Someone was like, "Well, for sure we need Coke and Diet Coke.  We'll go with 7-Up for our clear beverage and Dr. Pepper because it's freaking fantastic."  Now, notice that Coke and Diet Coke each take up two spots, a choice that I suspect reflects more than just response to demand.  This move says, sure we could use those two spots for something inferior (like an orange soda), something disgusting (like a blue sports drink), or something trendy (like a fruit-flavored ice tea or a flavored water), but we privilege quality over variety.  Boom.

The discussion of the ice on offer on each fountain is really its own separate topic.

Well, that was fun.  Email me a pic of a fountain that makes you happy/unhappy, and I'd be eager to offer my analysis and impressions. 

*No, I don't have a special spot for my phone in my purse, even though my husband has made the suggestion several times.


  1. I love a coke foundation with the cherry coke option so that I can do 95% diet and then top it off with some cherry. That small amount is really all it takes. This combo is at the Sams right down the road from me and pairs well with the Sams soft pretzel:) For me, DDP is the saving grace of a Pepsi establishment.

  2. I am chuckling over here. Frisch's ice. :)

  3. While I think those 100 plus option computer screen option things are intimidating and make getting to your table at Wendy's really tedious while you wait for new people to figure the darn thing out, I have to admit I really like the option of Caffeine Free Diet Coke with Cherry Vanilla flavor. Liam is all over the Lime Fanta from the same machine. I know how disapproving you are of the gold can of DC, but I am always happy when I'm given it as an option, since I uually am about four cups of caffeinated coffee in for the day by the time lunch rolls around.

    1. I am happy for others to have options (including that gold can) so long as my favorite is also an option! The Freestyle machine is a blessing and a curse as it can also be painful to stand with a child as he/she makes his flavor determination (similar to that interminable "spending tickets" time at Chuck E. Cheese).

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