Princess Time Toys Blog

Friday, August 15, 2008

Greening Up the Office - One Soda Can at a Time via


trying to "green-up" around the office and so we've stopped buying bottled water
and switched to a Britta pitcher and filter. We use all-new packing materials in
our shipments, but we try to buy those made from recycled materials whenever
possible. We also shred our documents and then send them out to recycle as well
as sort our trash.

We do a lot, but one area we are really terrible on was soda cans. Yep, we
have a huge soda drinking habit here in the office and it's quite normal for us
to go through a 24-pack a day. That's a lot of cans! We do send them out for
recycling, but it just didn't seem enough. We wanted to do more.

We researched soda machines because giving up our habit wasn't an option. We
quickly ruled out the soda guns, the cost was staggering and the technical
knowledge needed to install and maintain them, was more than we could manage. We
looked at "home" versions selling in the $600 range - still too pricey, although
they seemed manageable. We figured there had to be another way, or we'd wait it
out until home soda was more popular and thus it would bring down the prices.

Imagine our surprise when one day while hanging out on
, someone mentioned they owned a home soda machine! We were thrilled
at the prospect but also knew that our hopes had been dashed several times. We
were given the link to

Soda-Club USA
and was pleasantly surprised to find they had a home
machine for under $100! Granted, it wasn't the same instant tap machine as the
others, this one required you to make a liter of soda water and then add
flavored syrup to it to make your drink, but it was promising.

After checking out the how-to videos and reading about the different models
and options (a great

guide to help you choose the right model
is provided), we decided to
purchase the less expensive of the two models, the Fountain Jet. The more
expensive model is more streamline and self-contained - perfect for someone with
a fabulous kitchen.

Diet caffeine-free cola
isn't a small machine, it's 17" x 5 x 8 so it needs a bit of counter space. We
chose the silver/black model because it fit our decor better. It also comes in
white. We purchased a starter package which included our choice of 3 flavor
syrups, and extra carbonation cartridge, and extra lids for the bottle.

There are tons of flavors to choose from but we only drink Diet here so we
chose from that realm. There were still many options. We chose Caffeine-Free
Diet Cola, Diet Lemon-Lime (their version of 7UP/Sprite), and Diet Grapefruit
(their version of Squirt/Fresca). There are many more we'll try in the future,
but you can also make your drink with tea, fruit juice, and other natural foods.
I did like that they use Splenda in their syrups which I think just tastes
better than the commercial sweeteners used in others and they're certified
Kosher. They claim that each bottle of concentrated sodamix contains enough
syrup to make about 12 liters of fresh soda and that each bottle will retain
it's fizziness for up to 1 week.

Home Soda Fountain Jet Black/Silver
received our soda machine today and let me tell you there was a buzz in the air.
We've been waiting over a week. Strange when I read the packing slip it's been
mailed from the same city we're in. In fact, they're about 7 miles away. That's
a long time for an order so close in our opinions.

Still, we were excited to finally be able to ditch the can habit so we ripped
into the box. We opened the large outer carton to find another smaller box, with
no packing material to keep the smaller box from banging around inside. We're
professional packers - this was a poor packing job. We also found an invoice
noting that everything else was on backorder. WHAT? A soda machine with no soda
syrups? Yes, that deflated the mood quickly.

We called the 1-800 number from the packing slip and found that the person
answering the phone wasn't able to help. Seems he can only pass on the
information to his supervisor who will then call us back with the ETA of our
syrups. Wow, that's a crazy way to run a business. We empower every employee to
help our customers when they call so they're never passed around or kept waiting
for 24 hours for a simple question.

So, so far we're not impressed. We haven't even tried the soda and it's
already gone flat. Slow and poor shipping, backorder of important products
without any notice, and no customer service. Luckily the machine has a 30-day
money-back guarantee. If it doesn't work or taste as good as our regular drinks
it's going back and we'll search again.

UPDATE 8/16: The day we inquired about our backordered items we
received an email stating they'd been mailed the day before. No promised phone
call and now we have another 6 days before we can try out the machine. Blah!

UPDATE 8/17: Ok, so I just received the following UNSIGNED email
(sorry, that's a personal peeve of mine, especially coming from someone
representing a business), "The backordered portion of your order is being
processed now and will ship shortly via UPS. Tracking will be sent to your email
when the order leaves our warehous." The spelling error is hers (I know it's a
female by the email address. Ok, so which is it. Did it leave Friday or am I
still waiting? This company needs to do some improvement on their delivery
skills. I'm hoping the wait will be worth it, if not, I'm going to be very

UPDATE: We received the machine and LOVE IT! Read all about it here

Images © 2008 Soda-Club, USA. All Rights Reserved. Used here under the
fair use doctrine - we were not compensated by the company to review this
product, in fact they're probably not going to be very happy with us, but then,
we're not happy with them either.

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