Wednesday, October 21st, 2015, marked the very day that the popular Back to the Future franchise takes us to the future.
And with the odd screenings of a 26-year-old sequel on a Wednesday night, it brings with it a realization that we are, indeed, living in the world of tomorrow.
The world has changed vastly since when those movies were released in the 1980’s. I’m sure the starkest contrast one would notice if they arrived here through a stainless steel sports car is the development of technology.
We have entire personal computers in our pockets, wireless internet (occasionally), and 3D printers in our learning commons.
In most cases, this more developed technology is seen as a good thing. It’s capable of more things, connects more people, and does it all in a shorter amount of time. In one place though, we may have gone too far.
That is the case of the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine.
Coca-Cola Freestyle Machines, for those blessed enough to be unaffected, is the name for those large red bulky boxes that stand in Wawa’s where our dearly departed soda jerks previously stood.
Now, one may be roped into the Freestyle Machines through its perceived sleekness and the frequent marketing that usually accompanies their arrivals in stores. You may notice that the machines are marked with the signature of Pininfarina, the same design company that creates the blueprints for fancy Italian sports cars.
After a few seconds of use on the Freestyle, you soon learn why you’ve never seen a crossover between the sport auto industry and soda machines.
A major selling point that is pointed out is the “over 125” choices offered by the machine. Yes, there are 125 different options to choose from, if you enjoy bizarre fruit-flavored diet ginger ale.
For those of us who prefer a fuller, richer, soda experience, the options of non-diet and caffeinated sodas are much more scarce.
The problems of the machine do not stop there. It is a widely-known fact that soda in different containers has different tastes. Most prefer those in bottles, those in cans have a noticeably crisper feel than those in bottles, and the taste from soda fountains is always the freshest.
Well, the Freestyle machine does its best to ruin this too, because as the soda comes out of the spigot you can see the syrup separated from the carbonated water.
When I’m about to enjoy myself a nice refreshing soda pop, I do not want to be reminded that my drink of choice consists of only syrup and carbonated water. Seeing this ruins the experience at the soda fountains and makes the soda taste less good.
With traditional soda fountains, the two ingredients mix together before leaving the spicket. All you saw was pure soda coming straight from it’s source. It was still possible to live in ignorant bliss and keep dreaming that all soda is piped right from the factory, where it’s made with love.
The new machines allow no space to keep the dream alive and just slap you right in the face that what you’re drinking was not assembled with care and love, but rather consists of two basic ingredients thrown together approximately 2 milliseconds before hitting the bottom of your cup.