I’m a “Pepper” now, I guess.

Because of the hours I keep these days, I depend on a steady flow of caffeine to sustain me and keep me from driving into oncoming traffic.

One of my truly minor pleasures these days is stopping on my way into work for a massive Diet Coke–but it has to be a fountain drink. Bottled vs. fountain–discuss.

Last night, I stopped at the Wendy’s on Belmont off of the Kennedy for my Diet Coke. Once I got onto the expressway, I took a sip. Shitbeans, it was Dr. Pepper–I’ve never been a fan. As far as doctors go, I put Dr. Pepper on a par with Dr. Mengele.

Mistakes happen, of course, so I tried again tonight. At the drive up window, I placed my order (which tonight included a regrettable sour cream and chive baked potato). I saw my order come up on the screen–Biggie Dr. Pepper and a baked potato. “Excuse me,” I said, “that’s a Diet Coke, not a Dr. Pepper.”
“Okay,” the voice barked out.

I drove up to the first window to pay. “You got that it’s a Diet Coke, right?” I asked. “Yes,” the vaguely snide girl replied with an additional eye roll to drive her point home. I remained unconvinced that I’d be getting what I asked for, and pulled up to the next window. There, waiting for me, was a biggie drink and a regrettable sour cream and chive baked potato. “Is that a Diet Coke?” I asked the woman at that window, who was even more of a sourpuss than the girl before her. Without flinching or second thought, she nodded with a scowl. She closed the window, and I prepared to drive off. Best to take a sip before I take off, I thought. Impossible. Dr. Pepper. I’d been thwarted every step of the way. I waved at the sourpuss to open the window again. “Guess what?” Scowl. “It’s a Dr. Pepper. Can I please have a Diet Coke?” Double scowl. She poured me a biggie and handed it over. Just as she was about to close the window, I asked, “Um, can you throw away the other drink for me?” That earned me an exasperated sigh. Diet Coke and regrettable sour cream and chive baked potato in hand, I drove off to work.

So many questions. First being, is good help that hard to find? I mean, I realize that I’m not patronizing some Randolph Steet hipster restaurant, but….come on.
Second question–is it possible that Wendy’s is trying to force Dr. Pepper on their customers? Do they have some sort of horrible overstock that they need to burn through? The whole experience was like the classic “SNL”/Billy Goat skit–”No Coke, Pepsi.”

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