Tea and the Old-Time Gas Station

National 623 Hot Coffee Machine Used or Reconditioned (Screen capture from site)
National 623 Hot Coffee Machine Used or Reconditioned (Screen capture from site)

Businesses doing things with care, giving attention to the tasks and to their customers — it all seems to have passed away. Everything is rush-rush, self-serve (like those annoying automated check-out lanes in stores), and somewhat homogenized customer service wise. That can include service at the tea shops. What brought all this to mind was a recent experience when seeking to refuel our car. (We tend to see parallels between experiences in one area to those in other areas.)

I remember gas stations where the attendant pumped the gas, checked the oil level and tire pressure, and washed the windows. And then we kids all got a lollipop. (I’m giving away my age a bit, or at least the general neighborhood of my age by stating this.) That was then, this is now. The other day hubby and I needed gas in the car and the only place around was one of those stations that have a couple of gas pumps where you swipe your credit/debit card and pump the gas yourself. Not a human in sight. Sigh!

That’s sort of the same feeling I get about those Keurig machines, automatic hot drink dispensers (that have been around for decades and been the butt of jokes about as long), and any other self-service type machines. The particularly loathsome kind are the ones that dispense tea along with coffee, hot chocolate, and sometimes hot cider. The tea comes out tasting like a blend of those other beverages with a strong bent toward the coffee side. I can’t stand coffee-flavored tea mainly because it tends to make me queasy. The merest whiff or taste will set my tummy into somersaults. Not sure why. That isn’t the only problem with these machines, as some of you may already know. As with any coin-operated vending machine, you could put your coins in and get nothing out. The machine itself may malfunction where the cup doesn’t drop right or only a very watery solution comes out or even a very dark, thick, syrupy solution fills the cup. Overflows have also been known to happen.

The alternative to vending machine tea. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
The alternative to vending machine tea. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

While I guess these things have a place in our modern world, I am glad there are steeping mugs and other items that we can use instead to have a decent cuppa while out and about. A recent addition to our arsenal is a good example. We especially like the handle this model has. Although the sides of the mug (made of glass and poly) only get mildly warm even when the tea is at its hottest, the handle is still a great idea. And we can say goodbye to that “stuff” from the machines.

Now, if we could only have those full-service gas stations back!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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