December 4, 2019

Living in America: Free Refills on Drinks?

Freestyle Soda Machine at Burger King. Image: Phillip
One of the main things you notice when you come to the USA is the fact that most restaurant chains will only charge you for a drink once. No, I'm not talking about alcoholic drinks, I'm talking about soda, fizzy drinks, soft drinks, whatever your preferred term for them is. You order a coke at a restaurant, they'll refill it as many times as you like. In Britain, you'd be charged every time you get a refill. Crazy, right? It's been a fixture of American culture for many years. I suspect the fact that High Fructose Corn Syrup has a role to play in free refills too, though I haven't done the research on it. 

But why? WHY is it so cheap to get unlimited refills? It literally costs the restaurant pennies to buy the syrup and they make a huge profit on the drinks so they can effectively afford to let the customers pay a one time fee and let them refill as many times as they like. Is this a good thing? Perhaps so if you're thirsty and want a drink with your meal but your obesity rate is going to fly up if you eat fast food or go out to eat regularly.

Are free refills a good or a bad thing??


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