First of all, Merry Christmas world! I hope you all had the chance to spend the day with the ones you love celebrating the best day of the year! And I hope you didn’t receive any of the items I’ve profiled over the past few weeks. Mom almost gave me a scare with a Life Savers storybook in my stocking, but bless her heart it was the hard candy version. Thanks for reading, mom!
Every year, the Kingma’s make more trips to Sheetz on Christmas Day than the average man will make in his lifetime, but for good reason. Well, usually for good reason. See, historically, Sheetz has always given away free coffee, hot chocolate, and cappuccinos on Christmas Day, and they’ve always made my Christmas so much better.
However, this year was different. I won’t say much, because I’m going to share the letter I just wrote to them (via their website) about the experience. If you haven’t read this blog much, you may not know that I have a tumultuous history with Sheetz (read about my previous experience, starting with round 1, then round 2, and finally round 3). I thought my chapter with Sheetz had long been closed, but it’s time to re-open, on Christmas of all days. Here it is:
“Hello, Sheetz. My name’s Luke Kingma. It’s been a long time since we last spoke! Actually, only about 7 months, but it’s been a good 7 months (I just got a real job in New York!). I’m writing you today as a citizen of the world who, despite problems with Sheetz’s cleanliness in the past (there was a “fly” epidemic at my local Sheetz about 7 months ago that still makes regular appearances in my nightmares), still loves Sheetz to death.
One of the staples of the Kingma family Christmas day is the Christmas morning, afternoon, and evening trip to Sheetz for their (your) free hot chocolate/cocoa/cappuccino bonanza. You’re one of the few companies that doesn’t shutter its doors on Christmas, and probably the only one (that I know of) that gives free things to their customers. Big points for you… usually.
This Christmas, for the first time in years (ever actually), the experience was not warm, happy, and hearty, like it usually is. This Christmas, we were betrayed. Let me explain. We arrived at the Sheetz on Rt 61 in Leesport, PA at about 7:00 PM. The address is 5515 Pottsville Pike
Leesport, PA 19533. You’ll need that I’m sure.
Elated by the thought of warm, delicious free drinks well within our grasp, we went to work. I chose your “Red Hot Santa” drink (I’m a risk-taker), and my brother Josh decided to go with your standard, regular Hot Chocolate. After a quick drive back home, we were ready to drink these bad boys and watch an NFL game that didn’t mean anything but was still enjoyable enough to watch. It’s actually on now. Go Cardinals.
And then, it happened. We started drinking. Immediately, we were both overcome with a flavor that was anything but what the cheap little stickers on your machines told us. I promptly removed my lid (and Josh’s) to make sure everything looked okay “under the hood.” Long story short, it didn’t. These drinks had been watered down to the point of cruelty…. they were more watered down than the “Jamal Cleaning Solution” a creepy man tried to sell us at our door a few months back (moments before he was arrested for soliciting strangers without a permit).
I’d like you to see pictures of the drinks, so you can see for yourself. I’m sure you know what hot chocolate is supposed to look like, and even if you don’t, you’ll be able to tell something is very wrong.
Picture 1 – Hot Chocolate
Now, I understand it’s probably very hard to judge from the picture just how watered down and disgusting this drink is, but any decent, honest person will admit that something definitely looks wrong. Hot cocoa isn’t supposed to look like a cup full of rancid Spaghetti O’s sauce. It isn’t supposed to taste like it either, but, today, well, I guess it does.
Picture 2 – Red Hot Santa
If the problems in this Sheetz styrofoam cup aren’t apparent, somebody else needs to be doing your job. I would have, without question, believed the Sheetz employee that sold me this if he told me that he had gone to a soaking wet horse race track and taken a sampling of a muddy puddle, heated it up, and gave it to me to drink as a joke. And the taste would have confirmed it.
Now I realize you were giving away these drinks for free, so I don’t have very strong grounds to complain on. However, you don’t seem to understand that, for many, this is their first chance to sample what Sheetz has to offer in terms of hot beverages. Do you think those people are gonna be excited enough about these drinks to ever come back? As Kevin McCallister would say on Home Alone, “I don’t think so.”
I sincerely hope that, for America’s sake, this is an isolated incident. If you’re going to give away drinks on Christmas, make them like you always do. People don’t deserve to get sick from these… especially on Christmas. I really hope you’ll have this fixed in time for your New Year’s coffee and hot chocolate giveaway, because getting sick again is not the note I want to start 2011 on. I’m hoping to have a good year. Thanks!
It’s a rough note to receive on Christmas, but the 10 minutes I spent in the bathroom after drinking the bit of the Red Hot Santa that I did wasn’t exactly pretty or fair, either. Round 2 will hopefully come soon. Until then, enjoy the rest of your Christmas, and beware of Sheetz! Free gifts are often worth exactly what you pay for them.