Oct 21, 2008

Free stuff!

I inherited the must get free stuff gene from somewhere. Not everyone seems to have it, so I guess it's one of those recessive ones. Whenever there's a giveaway or some other freebie, I've got to check it out. In college, I'd figure out which corporate recruiters were coming by in the evening to do presentations, and swing by just long enough to grab a few slices of pizza, Italian food, or whatever else they had for dinner, and then slither out of the room.

Having seen a blog entry about a giveaway, we stopped by a new shopping mall in the area to get some free pretzels. I think I'd seen this Auntie Anne's pretzel place in malls in California before, so it's nothing special, but then again, if it's free we've got to get some of whatever it is.



For Chinese people, the must get free stuff gene is definitely not recessive. It seems like ninety-nine percent of them have this uncontrollable impulse. (Remember the stampede over discount cooking oil at a big grocery store chain here? Imagine if it was free oil, not just cheap oil!) If this particular Auntie Anne's pretzel give-away was better advertised, they would have had, without a doubt, hundreds and hundreds of Chinese people lined up to get free stuff. Thankfully, the event was very low key. Other than the posting on TheBeijinger.com and a few small signs near their counter in the mall, you wouldn't know about it.

So here's my assessment of Auntie Anne's:
  • Pretzels: good, and I'll continue to eat them if they will be given away. Otherwise, I'll probably spend my money on a chocolate fondant cake from the Beard Papa store nearby, or get a Blizzard from DQ.
  • Lemonade: not freshly made, just powdered mix and water with a few lemon slices thrown into the dispenser for looks. Not worth the price (10 yuan).
  • Frozen coffee drink: they had a stand set up in the center of the mall, away from the actual store, handing out sample-sized frozen coffees. They market it as a "Dutch Latté" or something. Anyway, the first time we walked by the sample area, they were still in the process of freezing the coffee inside of a large, Plexiglas frozen drink machine. The youngsters handing out samples offered us a couple shot glass-sized samples of coffee-colored liquid, and explained that usually it's frozen, but we can try this instead. Let me tell you, this liquid looked like coffee, but it tasted the way that Kool Aid powder tastes when you lick your finger and roll it around inside. I'm not talking about the sugared Kool Aid that they sell these days, I'm talking about the tiny little packets of Kool Aid that you can use to dye your hair with, the kind you still need to add sugar too. On top of the sour Kool Aid taste, throw in a dash of sour milk taste, and some acidic belch taste to round things off. This is how the liquefied coffee drink tasted. I went back after another half hour to see what it tasted like in its frozen form. Much, much better, in fact. This drink is clearly not meant to be consumed in liquid form, but rather only in iced form. It was sort of like the frozen coffee drinks from KFC or McDonalds. But I couldn't get the Kool Aid flavor out of my mind from before. I definitely have to stay away from this Dutch Latté stuff. It makes me queasy to think about it.

[Photo credit]

1 Comments:

Blogger Vickie said...

Good writing, but some of the points are not consistent with the truth, and I want to express my
different opinion, also as the only one witness,I think I should be responsible to make the correction.

1, "but then again, if it's free we've got to get some of whatever it is."

- not we, it's you.you lead me there without letting me know advance, I've never interested in any free stuff in any place, it was only you got to have and try the freebie Auntie Anne's bread.

2,"It seems like ninety-nine percent of them have this uncontrollable impulse."

- unbelievable when you did the investigation and depends on what to make the conclusion. if you're really sure about that then means you'are absolutely one of the 99%, and whether indeed Chinese people like to line up for free stuff, it depends on what the stuff is, if it was some kinda daily utility stuff, probably would be crowded,also depends on other factors. but for that ordinary typical western snack, not many people were there waiting because most Chinese people are not quite used to western food and the stuff are not interesting at all, not because the vendor's bad job of advertising. in contrary, you American love to wait in line for free stuff of whatever it is, not Chinese.

3, "handing out sample-sized frozen coffees. They market it as a "Dutch Latté" or something"

- it was not coffee, only kind of sour ice milk and the name " Dutch Latte" was generated by you imagination.

4,"this liquid looked like coffee, but it tasted the way that Kool Aid powder tastes when you lick your finger and roll it around inside"

-the fact was you came back to the vendor twice to ask more the liquid for its unique special flavor, totally, you drank 3 cups of that stuff, even more than I had.....

8:52 AM  

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