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RED-EYED AND RAVENOUS: Brand Name Me

I have developed a few specific brand-name loyalties over the years. To the diminished extent that I still drink soda, I drink Coca-Cola, not Pepsi. I buy Ford cars; I haven’t owned any other type of car since 2006. I wear Wrangler jeans. I can be promiscuous in my at-large consumption of potato chips, but when I’m getting a bag of chips to eat at home, it’s gonna be a bag of Lays Potato Chips. No one can eat just one, and I don’t consider purchasing any other brand.

My most steadfast daily exercise in brand loyalty is my coffee: Chock Full O’ Nuts. That Heavenly coffee. Better coffee a millionaire’s money can’t buy. This was just the result of a choice I made many years back to pick a brand of coffee and stick with it. Decades ago, Billy Miller and Miriam Linna wrote in Kicks magazine of their affection for (or addiction to) Chock Full O’ Nuts, and I figured that was as good a recommendation as any. Great choice. I favor the dark, bold taste of its New York Roast, and I enjoy a 20-ounce mug of it each and every morning. I’m not kidding when I say there are some nights when I go to bed looking forward to my cup of Chock Full O’ Nuts as a reward for getting up to face the day. I’m not a coffee snob at all. When I’m out ‘n’ about and in the mood for a cup, I readily go to war with the coffee a diner has, not the coffee I wish it had. I’m also quite fond of Paul DeLima coffee. I think the coffee at Starbucks tastes like it was made with hair. 

Most mornings, especially work mornings, I have a bagel for breakfast. The fact that I’m fine with store-bought, pre-packaged bagels from Thomas’ or Wegmans destroys any hope I could ever have of achieving bagel hipster status. I slather the bagel with peanut butter, and in that regard, I’m a choosy mutha: I choose Jif. I never buy any other kind. 
(My favorite bagel overall would, of course, be a real bagel, preferably an everything bagel. I want it with lox, cream cheese, and capers. But there is no element of brand loyalty in play here.)
As a proud Central New Yorker, my chosen brand of hot dog is Hofmann, period. Hofmann is the brand served at the locally-iconic Liverpool, NY hot dog stand Heids, and there just ain’t no substitute for Hoffmann. I recall a period years back when Heids stopped using Hofmann hot dogs, and I saw a customer buy a birch beer from a Heid’s stand at Great Northern Mall, then move over to a competing stand to buy a Hofmann hot dog. Ouch! Heids and Hofmann have since reunited, and it feels so good. Taste tells.

Those are my primary examples of brand loyalty. I think Kasteel Winter Ale is the best beer I’ve ever had, but it’s not to be had, so I settle for others (usually Blue Moon) while occasionally experimenting with random choices, preferably of Belgian derivation. I tend to buy Progresso soups, but I’m not opposed to Campbell’s. When treating myself to a chocolate milk–a smile in a glass!–I use either Bosco or the more readily-available Nesquik rather than Hershey’s syrup. And, as noted in our opening paragraph above, if I’m buying cola, it’s Coca-Cola, ideally the Mexican variety made with real sugar. It’s the real thing!

Although I have my loyalties and preferences, I’m really not all that picky, honest. We all have our likes and dislikes, but I try not to be militant about mine. Hell, sometimes when I’m at a restaurant and in the mood for a cola, I’ll even order a Pepsi if the joint doesn’t have the good sense to offer Coca-Cola.

I’ll drink it under protest, mind you, but I’ll drink it. Cheers, then.

But given a choice? No Pepsi. Coke. And a cheeseburger while we’re at it.

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