Tea & Coffee

What you should never say to a sweet tea drinker.

This past Friday I was out running errands in the sweltering summer heat about an hour from home . . . and an hour from delicious, ice cold, homemade sweet tea.

Not wanting to wait the hour to quench my thirst, I pulled into the drive-thru of a local chain sandwich shop and asked if they sold sweet tea.

Now, I knew what the answer was going to be. You see, I live in an area of the country that is a barren wasteland when it comes to sweet tea, so finding an establishment in my area that serves sweet tea is like pecking for a needle in a haystack.

But this Friday I thought I’d ask anyway, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

I wasn’t.

The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because of the conversation I had with the order taker on the other side of the drive-thru speaker box. We’ll call him JJ.

Me: Do you guys have sweet tea?
JJ: What was that?
Me: Do you guys have sweet tea?
JJ: Can you repeat that?
Me: Do you guys have sweet tea?
JJ: I’m sorry, one more time?
Me: Do you guys have sweet tea?
JJ: Do we have sweet cheese?
Me: No. Do you guys have sweet tea?
JJ: Oh, no, but . . .

Now, I’ll stop the conversation here momentarily. Because, as any fan of sweet tea knows, whenever you ask someone if they serve sweet tea, and if their answer is no, they always follow it up with the same suggestion.

JJ: . . . we do have regular tea and we have sugar you can put in it.

Nooooooo! That is not sweet tea!

It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re in, it doesn’t matter what type of economic background the cashier or waitress is from, what their race, creed, or color happens to be, they all answer the same, just like JJ.

My advice to all of those working in the food and beverage industry is that if you don’t serve sweet tea, just say you don’t. Don’t try to remedy your restaurant’s lack of foresight to offer the best beverage on earth by telling customers they can just add sugar to plain tea. It reveals that you have no idea what sweet tea is and it is an insult to sweet tea drinkers everywhere.

So, next time you feel the urge to offer that your customer “just add sugar,” resist saying that and instead offer something equivalent like: “We have heaping ladles of sun-warmed mayonnaise mixed with NyQuil you can put in it.” Seriously, it would be the same difference.


7 thoughts on “What you should never say to a sweet tea drinker.”

  1. So very true…. One time I was up at Quantico training at the FBI Academy and went to a TGI-Fridays there and just wanted some sweet tea. The waitress sounded like your transaction, but offered up “flavored tea”! Um no…. unless it is flavored with sugar during the making, there is no substitute!

    Liked by 1 person

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