Okay, so the title is a bit of an exaggeration. I drink tea more than coffee these days, and I was never a big coffee drinker to begin with. And really, the grossness is not something I did intentionally; it came in the form of non-dairy creamer.
Before I start, let me throw this out there: I’m sure you have a strong opinion on non-dairy creamer. If you don’t put it in your coffee, I’m happy for you. But I would rather not hear your “I told you so” on this one. I happen to enjoy some plastic in my hot beverages, okay? Great.
Last Friday, I was out doing the weekly shopping. We were planning on having family over for dinner on Sunday, and most of the people coming enjoy coffee. We had purchased our Giant Box of Coffee online, which will last us until sometime in the next decade. To go with that, I decided to try a new kind of coffee creamer.
That was a monumentally stupid idea.
Never try a coffee creamer just because it looks “interesting.” I browsed the shelves in the dairy case, not feeling sold on the usual pumpkin spice, vanilla, and hazelnut varieties. Instead, I picked one labeled, “Salted Caramel Mocha.” Yes, I realize I should have known better; but I hate grocery shopping, and I was feeling antsy at being unable to decide among the other flavors.
Back at home, I realized it might not be a good idea to serve the aforementioned creamer to our guests without trying it first. On reflection, I actually think it would have been dang funny; but I digress. I brewed myself a nice cup of coffee in the Keurig and settled on the couch to enjoy it.
After the first sip, I nearly gagged. The effect was stunningly bad. Imagine with me, if you will, taking your beautifully brewed medium roast coffee and dropping in a handful of Milk Duds, followed by the entire contents of your salt shaker. Stir and enjoy. Awful is not a strong enough word. Come to think of it, I’m not sure a strong enough word exists in the English language. I won’t say it’s the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but it was absolutely in the top ten.
Of course, I decided that perhaps I had been a bit too harsh. After all, I had only tried a single sip of my coffee. I took another, then another. Nope, still just as bad. I would like to say that I expected better of the Salted Caramel Mocha creamer; in reality, I think this is probably exactly what I had predicted somewhere in the part of my brain not adversely affected by Grocery Store Freak-Out.
When my husband came home from work, I told him what had happened. As you may have guessed, he laughed at me. When I described the taste, he said, “Well, at least it’s truth in advertising. It says ‘salt’ right on the bottle.” He recommended that I return it, since our grocery store (Wegmans) has a pretty liberal return policy.
At the store, I brought the offending creamer to the customer service desk. In my embarrassment, I had it wrapped in a grocery store bag so the label wasn’t visible. I apologetically explained what had happened to the young woman.
She said, “Let me guess. Is it the Salted Caramel Mocha?”
She went on to tell me that people had been returning it left and right. On the one hand, I was relived; clearly I wasn’t the only one who had thought it was a good idea at the time of purchase. On the other, what does this say about the state of our society that so many of us are easily duped into buying something so dreadful, just because the picture on it makes it look good?
As she made the return for me, the employee called over her coworker to show her. The other woman asked the question that is probably weighing on your minds: “Why on earth would anyone want to put salt in their coffee?”
In the end, I purchased a much more normal flavor of creamer for Sunday dinner. I also learned some valuable lessons: First, salt is not a good combination with coffee. Second, never buy coffee creamer out of desperation. Third, I freakin’ love Wegmans. I’m grateful for good customer service with a smile, even if it’s at my expense.