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 was going to write my own comment but WilliamWeaver wrote it for me. I love this machine. It's a fresh as the Heinz squeeze and dip ketchup containers that some people complain about for reason I cannot fathom.
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!
Are we really that concerned about public touchscreens? How have we survived ATM's and gas pumps? I like the design and doubt that the health considerations were neglected during the design process. More likely, the touchscreen decision was made based on consumers' comfort and familiarity with the technology in so many other daily transactions.
But what if I want Pepsi? :-) Na it's true, stick to water it's better. I rearely drink anything else with a meal. The exception would be coffee with desert.
Yes, don't fear germs. They reckon a large percentage of your DNA is inherited from germs/viruses. There's also been links found between autoimmune diseases and sterile living. Live clean but not sterile.
I think the only valid point is that this will slow the queues down.
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.
Good that more drink options are available. Bad it is a beverage company doing this and I understand why. I like Coke very much, but this means only coke products will be available. I am not a huge fan of cherry or vanilla in my cola, but wouldn't be awesome if I could get a grapette, A&W, Dr Pepper, Mug Root beer, or many of those older cola flavors that were popular way back when. A person has to go to a soda pop specialty store to get something other than Coke and Pepsi flavors. Now that's giving a person choices and it might hold up the line a few minutes.
<i>Good that more drink options are available.</i>
I don't know about that. Some interesting research suggests that too much choice can in some ways lead to less happiness than not enough choice. Type "choice happiness" into the http://www.ted.com/ search box, and watch the presentations by Dan Gilbert, Barry Schwartz, and Malcolm Gladwell.
I'm 61 and pretty much a Luddite. (I don't have a cell phone or even want an IPod.) However, I seldom find the drink I really want at eateries and I think this thing would be great. I can put a napkin over my finger if I notice the place is full of nose pickers and lepers.
The solution to the germ problem might be an iphone or android app that talks to the dispenser via bluetooth or the web, of course eliminating customers not possessing such devices.
I have heard that some highway patrolmen carry a case of Coke in their trunks because it's the only thing that easily removes blood from the pavement. Also, a penny in a glass of Coke will dissappear in a few days. So the other solution might be not to ingest that #%$#% in the first place. I thought engineers were a practical, analytical, solutions-oriented lot.
Although I have not seen any of these new-fangled machines in the local eateries here in the Tampa Bay, FL area, I don't doubt their existence. However, the negative comments about the germs problem of touching the screen I think is an overblown fear. Depending on the age & style of the drink dipensers, not ALL of them use the container bar-press solution. Many of them feature a rectangular area on the front of each product's dispense head w/ the word PUSH inscribed. Since these machines have been in use for probably 20 years, and there have not been any conclusive studies claiming outbreaks of LEGIONNAIRE'S DISEASE, LISTERIA, E-COLI, EBOLA, or the common cold being spread from these machines, I think the probability is rather low.
The concerns that some folks voiced regarding the time factor I believe IS a far more legitimate concern. When a person is forced into perusing all the options, making a decision, and waiting for the dispensing operation, there seems to be a built-in irritant factor with this new design. One commentor suggested having the new-style machine side by side w/ a traditonal machine. That decision will probably be relegated to the "suits" at McDONALD'S, BURGER KING, WENDY'S, etc.
I've been mixing drinks for years. I always mix regular and diet: less sugar, better taste than diet. Mix in some lemon-lime.... Not as many choices, but it's possible to have too many, especially at a "fast food" place.
Most places also have water and ice. Sometimes the water doesn't taste that good or you have to get expensive bottled water. I usually get unsweetened ice tea, occasionally, black coffee. Yes, drinks are where they make their profit. If they can't do it there, then they'll have to make it up somewhere else.
Your body has many more alien (non-human microbes) than human cells, basically the human cell structure is a scaffold to carry germs from place to place....the touch screen merely allows you to share your collection with others and let them share with you...you would not like them to get lonely!
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