About 15 years ago, I stopped drinking coffee (mostly iced) because it was wreaking havoc on my guts.
About three years ago, I decided it was time to quit artificial sweeteners. I was drinking sugar again. I kept drinking soda (only one a day) (but it was an enormous one), just the kind with sugar (usually high fructose corn syrup) (but real sugar when available). I have not had any artificial sweeteners since.
About six weeks ago, I decided to see how long I could go without regular soda. There was no big blanket "never again!" this time, just an awareness of how much sugar is in a high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden enormous soda. I can't avoid all HFCS, but I can avoid one giant dose of it. I switched to un-pre-sweetened iced tea immediately for my caffeine fix. And even as much as I like sweets, I'm never going to add as much sugar to a glass of iced tea as is already in a soda, for two reasons:
- embarrassment, and
That's been going great. I can even procure my iced tea from the same location I was procuring my soda, for nearly the same very low price.
Until, SIGH, I had reason to send this letter to the customer complaints address of a certain convenience store chain this morning:
I regularly visit both the [my town] store and the [RI's town] store.
A few weeks ago, I went to buy an iced tea in [my town], only to find a long, mucouslike glob (of mold, I assume) dripping from the spout. There was a store employee cleaning nearby, who saw me react, and immediately agreed that it was unacceptable, poured out the full urn of tea, reassured me that they do clean the urns frequently and that he would reclean that one, and offerred me a free fountain soda, coffee, or hot tea. I was completely satisfied with his reaction, and have returned to that store several times since then, though I haven't been able to stomach the thought of getting iced tea there again.
Saturday morning (4/19) at about 10:30, I stopped in [RI's town] for an iced tea. There were no visible issues, but after I left the store, I discovered the iced tea tasted rotten. It was undrinkable, and I poured it out (but did not complain, because I'd left the store, and essentially forgot about it). I have had [store's] iced tea often in the past with no taste issues.
This morning, at about 5:45, I stopped into the [RI's town] store for an iced tea again, and was startled to find what looked like a dried-up version of what I'd seen in [my town], again, coming from the iced-tea spout in a long thread. Again, there was an employee in the area cleaning. I pointed it out to him, and he was dismissive, and just picked the crud off the nozzle. I left the store without buying anything, and will certainly think twice about buying anything prepared at that location again.
To have the same experience in two stores in such a short period of time suggests to me that the cleaning process for those urns (or maybe the design of the urns themselves) is problematic. I hope you'll work with your stores to find a solution, and I hope you'll let me know when you do, because I'll miss having such a convenient, inexpensive option — but I'm not likely to buy iced tea at any [store] location unless I know the problems have been rectified.
Thank you for your attention.
It is now about 8 hours later, and there's been no response from the store, and I still feel as sick to my stomach as I did first thing this morning. Gross.