We went out for dinner last night (went out successfully, I might add, not the ‘walked into a restaurant and walked back out without eating’ of earlier in the week, a passtime that I cannot recommend as healthy for body or mind) and discussed this very topic.  To buy a ‘bottomless’ cup of pop will run you close to $3.  Iced tea can occasionally be $0.20 more yet.  There are places that don’t do free refills and they tend to be closer to $2/glass.  This is patently ludicrous in either case.  Consider:

Pop (or soda for the northern US or coke for parts of the southern US, more on this further down the page) comes in something called a Bag-in-Box which is about as appetizing as it sounds.  Essentially the raw syrup of your beverage arrives in a concentrated form and is mixed on-site with carbonated water (or uncarbonated for iced tea).  A bit of fairly rough web searching results in a price of about $0.06 per glass for the syrup and perhaps $0.10 for the carbonated water (on the outside).  Let’s just take it as read that pop is pretty much the widest margin product that is sold in restaurants.

I’m not sure if this is the mis-recalled experience of my fractured youth or the fevered imaginings of somebody who went to sleep at 2:30 this morning after watching Transformers 2 and Star Trek back to back while sitting in the driver’s seat of my car, but I think there was at one time the option of not paying for refills at restaurants.  One would have the option of paying, say, $2 for a single glass and then upgrading it to bottomless for another dollar.  We would like to see this brought back.  I have a tendency to try to get my money’s worth out of my $3.  I have been known to drin upwards of a litre of beverage over the course of a meal (particularly when the food is slow.  I tend to just drink whatever’s handy until it’s gone so it is probably good that I don’t care much for beer).  Amy, on the other hand, will drink two glasses, tops, and only if the food is particularly salty or spicy.  This two-tiered system would not directly benefit the restaurant (making it unlikely to be implemented) but would make us feel frugal and thrifty and I think that is a valuable service that can be provided.

Now, with respect to pop vs. soda vs. coke.  I had an argument online (and yes, I know what is said of arguing on the internet) with someone from Texas or Louisiana or one of those other humid and tetchy states.  He was insisting that coke is a legitimate generic name for pop, much as Kleenex has become generic for facial tissue or band-aid for self-adhesive bandages.  I maintain that this is a fallacy.  Coke is definitely a type of pop but it is a particular branded flavour.  If somebody asked me ‘what kind of coke do you want’ I would think them an idiot.  There is but one Coke, albeit available in cherry, vanilla, lime, diet, caffeine free, diet caffeine free, diet lime and possibly others but ‘root beer’ is not one of the available options and to insist that it is brands you a dunce.

an empty room with all the windows smashed