August 11, 2016
This was my first visit to a Buc-ee’s. It was a bit overwhelming.
A.T. had described it as a kind of enormous Disney Land of convenience stores, complete with a cartoon beaver mascot. To be completely honest, I was largely ignoring this description however. Whatever part of the world you’re from, there are regional features that natives elevate in importance due to their ability to mark “home” rather than any inherent virtue or noteworthiness. I assumed Buc-ee’s would just be a gas station with amusing signage (see also, Minnesota’s Pump N’ Munch stores). I had been napping when we pulled in so I hadn’t really appreciated the scale of the store until I disembarked the van. It was truly enormous. This might have been more overpowering to me, had I not spent the previous two days in Houston– the ability for absurdly scaled objects to invoke awe in me was at an all-time low.
Even still, walking into Buc-ee’s, all of A.T.’s descriptions came back to me. Visually, it was not so much impressive in nature but in scope– I literally could not see the ends of the room. Olfactorily, the store was full of the smell of cinnamon. I stumbled through the doors and straight to the back where I used a shockingly well-maintained restroom. (A.T.: “I told you they advertise ‘the world’s cleanest bathrooms,’ right?”)
Now, none of this has anything to do with frozen drinks but there is a good reason I am telling you all of this rather than getting down to the Icees. That’s right, Buc-ee’s serves Icees! In fact, Buc-ee’s has four banks of Icee stations. Each has a different array of flavors of including Cherry, Coke, Doctor Pepper, Blue Raspberry, and Big Red.
Predictably, I went for cherry (though not before a moment’s deliberation over the cherry-limeade in the interest of comparison to the Love’s frozen drink from three days earlier).
As my Icee left the spigot, however, I could tell that something about this drink was not quite right. The usual expanding foam consistency was somehow wetter and looser. The color was a bit off as well. Now the cherry Icee is never as dark as the cherry-flavored products from other vendors. The Icee is less a true red than a pale pink. But this Icee was paler even than I had expected.
I thought it was just the lights.
It was not.
This Icee was terrible.
It tasted like the end of a coke machine when the syrup has run out and you are drinking bitter soda water with a vaguely acidic bite. While it was reddish, there was no discernible “cherry” flavor. Unable to believe my tongue, I sipped again and was again revolted. The Icee was undrinkable. I threw it away. I considered selecting another flavor. (A.T. had opted for a Dr. Pepper Icee, reasoning that the Plano-produced soda was the only way to go in a Buc-ee’s: quintessential Texas!) Their Icee was evidently fine… but I couldn’t bring myself to try another flavor. I considered some Dippin’ Dots but, had those proved substandard as well, I might have lost hope entirely.
I selected a bag of Sugar-Roasted Pecans and left the store.
- Quality: 0
- Consistency: N/A
- Quality: 6
- Consistency: N/A