Sunday, April 22, 2012

Quench yourself, fool.

In the late 1980's I started something of a personal tradition ... the carrying of an Aladdin insulated mug with sweet tea in it.  The first mug was purchased at a local Junior Food Mart convenience store and I believe that it was the 32 ounce model ... white or bone white/gray with a red top and red "Jr. Food Mart Mega Mug" logo on the side along with the displacement call out ... something to brag about like the "5.0" or the "SS" or the "Tuned Port Injection" logo on your muscle car.  You purchased the mug and the cost included the initial filling of the mug with one of the many flavors from the self-serve soda fountain (I had to settle for Coke and Coke products (yech) since JFM didn't carry Pepsi but one store in particular carried Coke that was more syrup than soda and it was actually pretty good since it didn't have that annoying Coke "bite" to it when you drank it).  Refills cost considerably less than the initial purchase price of the mug and over the long run you could amortize the cost of the mug into basically nothing.

See ... I graduated college with a degree in business administration so I'm always looking at not only the bottom line but ways to maximize profit, especially if it's my own personal profit.

Later, in 1990 to 1991, when I worked for Puckett Labs as a medical courier, I upgraded the 32 ounce model to the new and improved 44 ounce model ... woo-hoo!  It was almost fifty percent more beverage!  I found that I could go to the Sonic drive-in on 4th Street and get a Route 44 sweet tea, dump it all into the 44 ounce Mega Mug and be set for about half of my trip.  There was a Sonic on the other end of my route which I would grab lunch at and refill my Mega Mug with sweet tea for the return trip.

And then came the big one ... the 52 ounce Mega Mug. 

So big that if you spilled it inside your car chances were that you would drown before you could ever get out of your seat belt and open out of the door ... rescue and EMT personnel would just find your lifeless body floating in a car filled to the roof with Coke or Coke product and they'd probably have to get the Straws of Life out to open up your vehicle.  That 52 ounce Mega Mug was just truly ridiculous in its volumetric capacity but its ability to carry a favorite beverage flavor and keep it cool for most of the day was legendary. Over the course of the 1990's, I kept one mug faithfully, so much that people came to associate me with the mug and if they ever saw the mug sitting around somewhere they knew I wasn't far away.  If I went to hang out with my friends, when they answered the door I was always standing there to greet them with my 52 ounce Mega Mug in hand.

- The Gang in Bay St. Louis - circa Fall 1993 -
At a friend's beach house with Eric, Cindy, Mel,
Bill and me with my trusty JFM Mega Mug
My Mega Mug and I were inseparable and we remained that way until the mid to late '90's.  It became something of a running joke that I wasn't ready to go until I had my Mega Mug in hand and it was full.  At 52 ounces of capacity, people also joked that not only did the Mega Mug have its own tidal forces acting upon it but that it took almost as long to fill it up at a convenience store fountain as it did to fill up gas in the car we were in. 

During the late '90's I began to purchase a large stock of these mugs and store them away in case ... I don't know ... Just in case.  I think that by the time the year 2000 rolled around I was still using my original 52 ounce mug (the lesser mugs had gone ... somewhere ... and been forgotten) but I had four more, unopened, still in their shrink wrap, held in reserve.  

And then something happened ... my original mug vanished.

It was like losing a cherished pet or a breaking up with your girlfriend. 

To his day I still do not know the fate of my beloved 52 ounce Junior Food Mart Mega Mug only that it was gone and it was sorely missed.  I went to my reserve stock and tore another 52 ounce Mega Mug out of its shrink wrap.  Months later, that mug vanished as well, fate unknown.  This happened over the course of two years, the early 2000's, and every Mega Mug that I had disappeared.  I went to the Junior Food Mart where I had originally purchased the Mega Mugs ... and they had none!

I couldn't find a Mega Mug anywhere!

Sadness set in for the long haul as I began to search for a replacement.  Bubba Keg?  Nope, it just wasn't the same.  Other insulated mugs from various companies ... not the same.  Finally, a few years ago, my wife got me a Tervis Tumbler for my birthday, a practical birthday present, and while it served me faithfully and admirably it still wasn't an Aladdin Mega Mug and so I made do with what I had for a few years more.

One day, bored, I got on Ebay and looked for a "Junior Food Mart Mega Mug" with no results found.  I saved the search and then made a new search called "Aladdin mug" and saved that as well.  A few weeks later, my search notified me of several Aladdin mug offerings and what did I find?  

Mega Mugs!

Well, not Mega Mugs since I guess that is a trademark name of JFM not used by Aladdin on their products but it was the same tankard devoid of commercial logos.  I did a search on Aladdin and discovered that the company had been bought out by another company and that Aladdin had closed its Tennessee based manufacturing location ... thus no more Mega Mugs.  A seller on Ebay had gone to the closeout of the TN manufacturing location and had purchased a large quantity of these high capacity insulated mugs for sale at a later date and over about two months I purchased five from him, four white with blue lids and no logos and one white with a blue lid and a Chevron "Cold Front" logo.

Ahhh!  Sated bliss!  More fluid storage capacity than a double humped camel!  This is the Quench-Essential Thirst Prevention Tool and next to the Moon Landing it may be the greatest technological achievement known to Man.
There was great cause for celebration!  My best container friend was back and I had spares!  


Happy happy joy joy!

Holding this mug in my hand now is like seeing an old friend that you lost track of and even though it isn't technically a "Mega Mug" that is what it will always be to me.  If you're looking for one of the best insulated beverage cups on the planet, get on Ebay and buy yourself an old Aladdin insulated mug in the 32, 44 or if you've got the balls (and the bladder capacity), the almighty 52 ounce size and quench yourself, fool.