Commentary
7:30 am
Wed July 9, 2014

To Sip, Or To Suck: That Is The Question

Would you like a straw with your beverage? Is it for flavor or because it seems more sanitary, or because you're just used to it?


Soda straws have been with us for 125 years. The first patent was issued in 1888. And you used to get one at soda fountains for fountain Cokes and milk shakes.

How is it that all of a sudden, even in nice restaurants, a glass of ice-water comes with a soda straw stuck in it? I don’t ask for a straw. Yet, every cold beverage arrives with a soda straw. Why is this?

I looked for reasons from Mr. Google-dot-com and learned that straws overcome dirty glass lips. Are restaurant dishwashers less trustworthy today? I don’t get many dirty glasses. Google also informs that some believe straws prevent sugary drinks from touching your teeth. So maybe you’ll have fewer cavities. I don’t buy that either.

I think somewhere there’s this dynamic sales duo. Super Bottled Waterman and his sidekick, Super Strawman. There’s virtually no advertising for bottled water or soda straws. Yet, now we buy nearly seventy-billion bottles a year. And in every glass or cup there’s a straw.

I’m reminded of the construction worker who walked up to my Coke stand in nineteen-forty-three and said, “I’d like a Peps-eye Cola with a sucking tube.”

In my life it’s always been considered better manners at table to sip from a glass than a sucking tube. But then, gentlemen didn’t dine in their baseball caps either.

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