Touch Screen Soda Kiosks – A Germophobic’s Nightmare?

Editor’s note: Do not read this article while eating. Some material may be potentially nausea inducing and include references to fecal bacteria, “Montezuma’s Revenge,” food-borne illness and general ickiness. Do not read if you’re easily grossed out. 

Imagine an oversized smart phone that everyone gets to use, and assume that not only didn’t all of its users have at least “cleanish” hands when using it, but add to that the general “stickiness” you find on the floor of your typical movie theater. Not the kind of “stickiness” you might find on the floor outside of a peep show stall at a Velvet Touch store – but the stickiness that emanates from soda dispensers. Seriously – did your minds go to a different “sticky” spot? If so, that’s all on you 🙂 Oh ALL right, maybe I did kind of encourage you to go in that direction…but just a little!

Yes, I call carbonated soft drinks “soda.” I grew up in Mid-Michigan, where everyone called these drinks “pop.” In the South, people tend to call all such beverages “Coke” whether they are actually “Coke” or not. The 25 years I’ve spent living in Southeast Michigan has caused me to make the move from “pop” to “soda.” I think “soda” is kind of an East Coast thing. I’m no linguist…I just know without thinking about it I started calling these bubbly sweet drinks “soda” in the past 10 years or so. And according to the map below, me calling it “soda” is not typical for my area (go figure that I’m some kind of “Soda Rebel”)…


What do YOU call sweet fizzy water that you can spruce up with vodka or rum?

In case you haven’t ventured into a major fast food or quick-serve restaurant in the past five years or so, here is what these giant smart phone slash soda dispensers look like:

2019-04-26 14.00.11

So many beverage choices! Would you like some E. coli with your soda?

I like that there are more choices available in these “Sodamatic 2000s” than there are from typical fountain drink dispensers, which are just as gross as the “new hotness” touch screen things (you can read more about how gross fountain soda dispensers are in this article). It’s just kind of… annoying to have to immediately go wash my hands after getting my drink. It’s just something my germophobia compels me to do. You have to admit – it’s a “somewhat” rational fear! E. coli outbreaks have caused massive food recalls, sickened people and forced the scientifically curious to try to learn what the “E” stands for (pssss…it’s Escherichia). A recent outbreak of E. coli is being investigated, according to this article.

I wouldn’t wish a case of “Montezuma’s Revenge” on my worst enemies. Being so sick you have to make the “ass or face” choice while sitting on your toilet and eyeing the trash can as a possible puke vessel is NOT fun! This is just a colorful way (coined by my friend Dave) of describing being so sick that things are “coming out of both ends.” I haven’t been this ill since late 2008, when I had what I think was some kind of stomach virus. Several of my co-workers were  also sickened at the same time – a hard-core Latvian woman who NEVER called off sick at work (even when she stabbed herself in the eye with an eyelash curler) even called in sick from this thing! My husband had it too, which told me that it must’ve been contagious. I developed a taste for powdered miso soup during this nauseating ordeal.

Yes, there are myriad ways for bacteria to enter your body whether you can control it or not. I may not be Howard Hughes in my levels of germophobia quite yet, but those touch screen soda dispensers? I’m just going to say ewwww (gross)!

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