No, I don't think you are a Luddite. I don't think it is a fear of new technology, but a fear of extending consumer choice to the unwashed masses. "How will the average consumer interact with the product... especially without correct training?" "Will there be long lines to use the machine?" "Will I need to help people to us it?"
The answers will be provided as the experiment proceeds. I'm delighted Coke is introducing these machines... Much like Namco introduced "Pac-Man" back in 1980. A computer without an instruction manual? GASP!
I appreciate your touchscreen concern at a restaurant, but I really don't see any difference between this machine and the touchscreens at my local convenience stores. Most in my area have a made-to-order sandwich franchise that have multiple touch screens from which customers can select their exact sandwich and fixings. The touch screens have definitely streamlined the process. As for nasty germs and bacteria, that is why we have an immune system. As we continue to saturate our personal environment with bactericides, our personal systems get weaker and weaker.
I don't wish to be a critic of your opinion, but I hope increased consumer choice is met by enthusiasm and praise, rather than fear.
I like the idea of being able to mix soft drinks, but I recently had a chance to try the customized Coke machine and found that my Coke was picking up flavors that I hadn't requested. With all of those different flavors exiting through the same spout, I suppose it's inevitable that you'll get a trace of a flavor that you hadn't asked for.
I agree with the masses (or the poster and two commenters anyway), that the disturbing aspect of this new Coke machine is the touch screen that has encountered every bug that has passed through the community. As a father of thee I can testify that kids are very germy. And it's kids who will be spending quality time smearing the touch screen with community-wide germs. If this machine were placed in any of the fast food joints in my area, I can guarantee the touch screen wouldn't get wiped more than twice a day. And believe me, it wouldn't be wiped a towel carrying bacteria-killing fluids.
That said, I love variey of choices. Cool idea. They just didn't think through the public exposure.
Thanks TJ, for putting the Coca-Cola Freestyle self-serve machine on my radar screen. I must have been hiding under a rock somewhere because I hadn't heard of it. That said, my kids will go gangbusters for this since they mix drinks all the time when I let them use a soda foundation.
Nevertheless, I have to agree with every point you raised. While the technology may be cool on its own, any upside is tempered by the germfest, the pull-out-your-hair wait time for the guy ahead of you to mix up his concoction, and the gross-out factor of all those mismatched flavors coming together. Yuck, is all I can say.
I have had experience with these machines also. The first thing you notice is the extremely long line. The restaurant I went to had this as the only option for dine in guests. My first suggestion is to have the standard machine or at least one that dispenses Coke and diet Coke only nearby as once the novelty wears off these will probably be their two largest volume products. Next you step up to this machine and use the touch screen to select your drink. There are so many choices that it takes the average person like 20 seconds just to decide what they will drink (even those waiting for a while in the line and who you would think had already decided). So you make your decision and then you need ice. Well the ice is dispensed the traditional way. You push your cup against a lever and ice comes down. Then to dispense your drink you push a button (not the touch screen). Every time I go there is ice on the floor as people pull their cup away before the machine stops dispensing ice (I know, that is a different problem entirely). So you need to interact with a touch screen, a lever and a button. Why not just have EVERYTHING on the touch screen? It would be easy enough to add those selections to the side of the screen. I believe this is as much to blame as the overwhelming selection. Not to mention the kids that want multiple-multiple flavors so they start the entire process over midway through filling their cups! I thought it was the coolest thing the first time I used it. Now I just wish they had the standard machine!
They have been down here (New Orleans) in select locations for about a year. what would be nice is if they used voice recognition (I'd like a diet cherry coke please), oh wait they already have that, its called the counter sales person.
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