Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Stories Behind the Sign

It's time for another edition of Fountain Drink Dissertating, but with a twist.

We spent the weekend in St. Louis and pit-stopped at a McDonald's on the way home.  I won't share the town's name, but I will tell you I've lived in Illinois since 2001 and have never heard of it before.  Not a ton going on at the exit.  I don't know what this town has to offer in any potential town square/downtown area, but McDonald's was pretty much the only game in town near the highway.

I am not at all a McDonald's hater.  Love their fountain drinks, and get a large Diet Coke from there almost every single day.  I enjoy their fries, their cheeseburgers, and breakfast burritos too.  These days, we usually only eat food from McDonald's when traveling and *maybe* one other time a month.  But again, I'm not a hater.  McDonald's has been good to me and was the location of many happy family post-mass Sunday meals during my childhood.*

On to the fountain drink dissertating...
This fountain is excellent.  First of all, it offers Coca-Cola products, which is the first requirement of an excellent fountain.  Second, it offers both Dr. Pepper AND Diet Dr. Pepper, which is thrilling to many.  Hi-C is there as a nod to the McD's "orange drink" of old.  Barq's is a solid option.  There has to be a white fizzy like Sprite.  No need for any flavored waters or strange teas (sweet and unsweet offered to the left).  I like that WATER has its own tap instead of a smaller stream from the Hi-C. 

The real story here though is not the fountain and its solid offerings, but the crazily thorough sign outlining the Drink/Refill Rules.  These rules seem reasonable (and implicit) to me, but the fact that they are so prominently displayed is intriguing.  What kind of violations were happening?  The pop in the water cup violation is an old trick.  Unfortunate, but nothing new there.  Were commuters stopping every morning to refill the same old cup?  Large families sharing a large bottomless soda among themselves?  Were people bringing in large cups or pitchers from home and bellying up to the fountain?  Enjoying their coffee in the store and then taking a Coca Cola for the road?

I'm not critiquing McDonald's for outlining this policy, more scratching my head that such a sign might be necessary!

This sign gave me something to think about for the next ten minutes of endless highway on our road trip home.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this sign.

*The Nilles Road McDonald's in Fairfield, OH still sets the curve for service and friendliness!  When I visit my parents this summer, I will check to see if this location has instituted any such signage.  I don't even think drinks were self-serve there last time I was actually inside, but I will report back.

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