Back in March, as I slowly began to grasp the reality of our new world, one of the first things I mourned was the Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine. I understand this is a very crazy thing to be upset about considering, well, literally everything else in the news, but I have a very special connection to these very special machines: Cherry Coke Zero was one of the things that helped me get sober five years ago (it’s a weird crutch, I know), and the only way to get it as a fountain drink is through the Freestyle machines. And, as we all know, soda from a fountain is far superior to soda from a can or bottle, so as far as I’m concerned, those machines are dispensers for sober champagne. Oh, what a wonderful thing it is to raise a cup and toast yourself with 64 ounces of bubbly bliss in a Wawa parking lot! But then coronavirus happened, and suddenly I realized that just like salad bars and all-you-can-eat buffets, the machines I love so dearly were probably covered with terrifying diseases that no amount of sweet, sweet aspartame could ever make me forget. I believed Freestyles were yet another simple joy that would be forever lost.
I shouldn’t have worried, though, because just like Rick Astley, the fine folks at The Coca-Cola Company are never gonna give me up, never gonna to let me down, and never gonna sit back as they watch millions of dollars go down the drain. Today, via a press release, The Coca-Cola has announced it is rolling out “a new pouring option to meet consumer needs with its latest Coca-Cola Freestyle technology innovation – contactless, mobile pouring from a smartphone.” Here’s how you can safely enjoy the finest fountain beverages known to man—note that it doesn’t even require you to download an app!
Step 1: Stand in front of a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine of your choice.
Step 2: Hold your phone’s camera up to the machine’s display. This will automatically scan a QR code, “which immediately connects to the cloud and brings the Coca-Cola Freestyle user interface to your phone,” according to the press release. (People who do have the Freestyle app on their phones can scan the code within the app to select from pre-saved mixes and preferences.)
Step 3: Browse the menu that pops up on your phone and make a selection. Watch in amazement as the machine dispenses the drink of your choice.
Step 4: Go outside to drink your soda, because if I see any of you people taking off your mask to drink your soda inside then may god have mercy on your soul.
Even though the Freestyle machines are fancy high-tech contraptions, for some reason this exciting innovation of self-serve beverage technology will only be available at 10,000 machines by the end of this summer, with the other tens of thousands of machines getting upgraded by the end of the year. I cannot wait until December 31, when I can raise my fountain Cherry Coke Zero and toast the end of this crapass year while sitting in a Wawa parking lot. Finally, 2020 has given me something to look forward to!