Diet or Regular?

I stopped drinking pop several years ago; back when I was about 20, in fact.  I had given up alcohol at 17, and shortly thereafter decided that I would cut caffeine from my diet as well.  I’ve never really liked coffee, but I did drink iced tea at the time, as well as Mt. Dew and Pepsi, and I vaguely remember that it was hard to stop . . . especially the Mt. Dew.

Craig, on the other hand, still loves his pop.  He’s a Coke man, so it’s good for our marriage that I stopped drinking Pepsi before we got together.  ;o)  He says he got into his 3-4 can a day habit when he went back to school to get his animation degree.  Late nights and homework deadlines meant he often had to stay up through the night, so he would get himself through them with Coke Zero and various energy drinks.  When he told me that story, I shuddered at the thought of all the caffeine rushing through his bloodstream, but since I used to be a Mt. Dew fiend, I probably wasn’t much better in my heyday.

Craig did give up drinking carbonated beverages for an entire year as a New Year’s resolution while back.  When he did that I was certain he wouldn’t enjoy the taste when he tried to drink it a year later because that’s what happened to me after I stopped drinking pop.  But nope, at 12:01 a.m. January 1st of the following year, he guzzled down two Coke Zeroes (his particular brand of poison) within the span of ten minutes.

Very few restaurants carry his Coke Zero, so when we go out to eat, Craig asks for regular Coke.  There are some restaurants that serve Pepsi and don’t seem to think there’s a big difference, so they’ll say “We have Pepsi, is that okay?” to which Craig fervently responds, “No. Pepsi is not okay.”  We’ve both taken The Pepsi Challenge before, and could ALWAYS tell the difference between the two (and quite honestly, I don’t understand the people who DON’T taste the difference), so I totally empathize with him.  When I drank pop, if someone told me they sold Coke instead, I always opted for some non-cola drink.  Craig’s the same, choosing root beer when faced with the “We only sell Pepsi products” conundrum.

But when he’s able to order Coke, something strange happens.  When our server sees his beverage is getting low, they’re generally very good at refilling it.  However, they tend to refill it with Diet Coke.  Even when they ask first, they always say “Was this Diet Coke?”

The first few times this happened, we passed it off as servers who didn’t pay attention to our order.  Maybe that was due to them being super busy, or maybe they were just really bad at their job.  But as it happened more and more, we realized it was Craig-specific.  I kid you not, this happens probably 8 out 10 times for us, and it’s become something of a joke.

We can’t quite figure out why our waitstaff’s impulse is to bring him a diet drink..  Yes, Craig’s got a belly on him, but he’s not overly obese, so I wouldn’t think people would assume he needs to drink diet soda.  He’s obviously not a woman, so the stereotype of a woman being “constantly on a diet” doesn’t apply either.

So then, why on Earth would our servers’ first thoughts be to refill his glass with Diet Coke?

Have we, as a society, become so obsessed with how fat we’ve become, or with dieting, or with counting calories, that our wait staff automatically assumes if they see a dark brown beverage in a glass that it’s diet?  Or is Craig–unbeknownst to both of us–wearing an invisible sign that reads I’m trying to stop drinking pop, so please bring me a diet drink that will cause me to make a face and not finish the beverage, opting instead to drink the bland water that’s also sitting at my table?  If it’s the latter, we need to find a way to remove that sign, or else make him a bigger one that says NO DIET SODAS ALLOWED.

Until then, he’ll just continue to correct our servers when they make the wrong assumption.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Craig
    Jan 24, 2014 @ 09:18:08

    Awesome Blog Babe. Just to further educate your readers who don’t know, but Coke Zero and Diet Coke are NOT the same thing. They have different artificial sweeteners in them. Coke Zero with zero calories has a sweetener that I can tolorate. Diet Coke, which I believe uses aspartame has a taste I definitely CANNOT tolerate. So, when the server asks or accidently brings me a “Diet Coke”, it’s the crappy kind, IMO.

    By the way, does anyone else have this experience?


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