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Things don’t necessarily go better with Coca Cola
At The Three Crowns we sell Coca Cola both full fat and the skinny variety. We sell it because our customers ask for it and like it; I could save a couple of grand a year by switching to the other team and even more by siding with Mr Branson but would our customers like it?
Most coke sold is known in the trade as post mix, it arrives as concentrated syrup in a 7 litre bag and mixed with chilled carbonated water, a bit like a wizzier version of a Soda stream.
From time to time the machine develops a hiccup and a call to Coke central is required to negotiate the services of an engineer, I say negotiate as it has been known for several days to pass between calling for and actually seeing one
From experience, just pray that your machine doesn’t develop a hiccup anywhere near a Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday or any day with an ay in it.
During one such visit I was showing the engineer a recurring problem we were having and suggested that he replace the machine for a more up to date version.
Machine fixing was his department but not machine replacement, this required a ‘site visit and survey’ so several days later a site visit and survey Coke man showed up, looked round and when I asked him when we could expect the new machine I was told that he didn’t actually make the decision, he just carried out the survey.
Must admit I had sort of lost interest until a couple of weeks later a courier delivered 5 large boxes addressed to me all containing bits and pieces of our new Coke machine, these sat around taking up space for a few days until I seized the initiative and called Coke central to ask what was happening and it was agreed that a member of the installation team would visit.
Once installed the new machine took pride of place on the bar leaving the old machine now in pieces in a large plastic bag, the member of the installation team explained that he didn’t take the old stuff away but someone from disposals or recycling would be along to do their stuff.
After a couple of days we noticed that the new machine had a few teething problems so we put in a call and when the engineer arrived asked if he would mind taking the old machine from the cellar, naturally he couldn’t but promised to phone a man who can.
You’ve probably guessed where this is going so I’ll miss out the subsequent phone calls and emails to remove the old machine as we were now more concerned about the new machine which had now taken on a life of its own, refusing to obey simple commands like ‘Can I have half a pint please ?’
‘No you can have a whole pint and I’m going to attempt to put it in your half pint glass and splash all over your shoe’
‘Can I have a small dash please ?’
‘ I’m thinking about it so please don’t press the small dash button again whilst I consider your request, oh you pressed the button when I told you not to so now I’m going to splash all over your other shoe ’
All of this is accompanied by a somewhat disturbing chugging noise, a bit like a steam train pulling out of the station and the more we seemed to offend the machine the louder the chugging got.
Finally after yet another pair of shoes were soaked I called and suggested that somebody within Coke who had the authority to get things done might like to visit.
Actually that last bit was a fib, I screamed down the phone but it seemed to work as an extremely apologetic gentleman in a Coke jacket arrived within the hour, I say he was extremely apologetic as he was sorry that he couldn’t cure the chugging, but he would get an engineer to visit and he was sorry that he couldn’t take the old machine…for Health and Safety reasons, not even when I offered to carry it to his car could he be swayed.
So the old machine stayed put and the new machine carried on chugging until today when an engineer came and explained that the chugging is all part of a new ‘Volumetric’ system that coke are installing and we are lucky enough to be amongst the first to get it, and no he couldn’t take the old machine but he would arrange for somebody to come and collect it.
Meanwhile the Coke machine continues to chug and wet our shoes but at least we know we are one of the few pubs in the country to have one.