You must try sweet potato fries if you haven't yet. When properly made, they are just a bit crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, so naturally sweet they don't need ketchup. A light dusting of salt perfectly complements the sweetness. And they need to be cooked to order and served really, really hot. Yum.
But that's not what I want to talk about.
Instead, I want to bring you, my dear readers, up to speed on the new Coca-Cola dispenser. I was fascinated by the two dispensers sitting side-by-side in the restaurant. Truly I felt like a country bumpkin going to town for the first time.
These new dispensers have a bit of a "Retro" shape, but are ultra modern and computer-controlled. The customer touches the screen for the drink selection. At first I didn't know what to do after getting the ice, but after a few seconds figured out to touch the screen. There were 18 different kinds of drinks to choose from. I selected "Diet Coke", my usual. This was also the first Diet Coke I've had since returning to the US about three weeks ago.
But wait - instead of pouring out Diet Coke, the machine took me to ANOTHER screen, where I had a choice of different flavors of Diet Coke: Cherry, Vanilla, Lime, and I've forgotten what else. I think there were about six different choices of flavors.
I went with plain Diet Coke, and the machine automatically knew how much to pour in my glass.
Golly Gee Whiz!
I was so excited I tried to take a picture of the machine with my cell phone, but couldn't figure out how to do this. There were no other customers there at this odd time of day, so I didn't make a total fool of myself.
Later I looked it up on-line:
|The New Coke Dispenser -|
Coming Soon to a Restaurant Near You
It turns out this was still experimental as late as 2009, so I haven't been that much out of touch after all. And - get this - when Coke wants to test market new flavors, they can program the machine to create them. Customer selections are also uploaded to a central server, to keep tabs on the ever-changing market.
Yes, I thought this was a bit too much like Big Brother too.
If you want to know more, here's a link to an article with technical information.
And here's a YouTube video of the machine in action.
OK, there you have it: consumerism at its finest.