Opinion — The fun drink phenomenon


SHOP AND SIP — I discovered the fun drink phenomenon while searching for a FitAid at a local grocery store in Marquette. To ensure my shopping trip is not a bore or a chore, I now select a “fun drink” to enjoy while checking off my grocery list.

Andie Balenger, Opinion Editor

I refuse to believe that I am the only person who hates grocery shopping. The thought of driving across Marquette to the nearest grocery store, getting overwhelmed by prices and lugging around a basket full of produce screams annoyance to me.

Maybe it is the atmosphere of most supermarkets that makes them deplorable. As a speedy shopper who knows exactly what they want and where each item is located, a typical trip to the grocery store should take roughly ten minutes. 

Unfortunately for me, most stores are overflowing with people who like to take their time while shopping. I admire those who can peruse aisle after aisle with such ease, analyzing every detail of a product’s packaging before gently placing it into their overflowing cart.

With my luck, there is always one of these gleeful shoppers camped out in front of the singular item that I need within an aisle. Considering that my body physically rejects any form of confrontation, I will skip to the next item on my list before asking someone to move out of the way — making a mental note to return to the aisle before leaving.

If I am left with no choice, however, I will silently wait behind the person until they either decide to move or catch me anxiously staring at them. 

I suppose my weekly trip to the store would be different if I actually enjoyed cooking. I can see myself in some alternate universe doing pirouettes down the spice aisle, adding thyme, oregano and other meaningless herbs to my basket that would help brighten up my meals.

Instead, I am more like Oscar the Grouch when it comes to navigating the kitchen. The two of us are stubborn and confined to what we consider to be our “safe zones.” The only difference between me and the green grump is that he finds peace in a trashcan, and I am only comfortable using a rice cooker or a toaster when cooking. 

However, I recently discovered a cure to the misery that typically accompanies my weekly shopping trips. While the miracle elixir comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, it has yet to fail at bringing me joy.

I call it the fun drink phenomenon.

Positioned towards the front of nearly every grocery store rests a large, open-faced cooler. Easy to distinguish from its many counterparts, this cooler catches your eye with its bright colors, oddly shaped bottles and beverage brands you have never heard of before. For lack of a better term, I call it the “fun drink cooler.”

My discovery of the fun drink cooler was an accident, as most groundbreaking events in history seem to be. I had been searching the “normal” drink aisle for an energy drink that I had previously bought at a gas station, unfortunately finding no luck.

As I headed towards the checkout, I happened to pass by the fun drink cooler. I had never had a reason to inspect the juices, smoothies and coffees that reside in the space before — my hurried shopping trips never allowed for such an excursion. In a last-ditch attempt to find my energy drink, however, I decided to check the cooler out.

Finally, I had struck gold! Not only did I find the energy drink I had been looking for, a FitAid, but I also stumbled upon a variety of kombuchas, fancy waters and even the old-fashioned sodas that could only be found at small town mom-and-pop stores. 

I was ecstatic.

In my opinion, we all deserve a little treat after running errands all day. Some may indulge in a six-dollar coffee and a delicate pastry while others may opt for a fast-food burger. For me, however, it is a fun drink from the grocery store. 

Thanks to the fun drink phenomenon, my trips to the grocery store have transformed into a taste-testing experience. Each trip, I select a new drink to test out and compare to the last — sparing a couple of bucks a week for the experiment.

I hope to compile a comprehensive list of all of the fun drinks, ranked from best to worst, by the time I graduate in May. 


Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.