99¢ route 44 slush

route 44 lemon slush with extra lemon, using the TXT special. sahara SONIC.


dollar route 44s all day tomorrow

latest TXT.
End of Month Special @ Sonic Feb 28th - 99 Cent Route 44 Fountain Drinks
& Slushes ALL DAY. Plz mention txt when ordering. Have a SuperSONIC


happy hour

medium lemon-powerade mountain blast slush; SONIC #5517.

wanted to try the mix after having a pure powerade with my wacky pack
this week. not bad, although there is a bit of an artificial vs.
natural taste civil war on my tongue.

the great thing about powerade is it carries a tad of a caffeine jolt
(not that i need it after 10 glasses of ice tea at lunch).

quote of the moment

"never put all your eggs in one basket ... or all your chicken strips in one dipping sauce."

-- "jack" on jack in the box restaurant radio


superbSONIC rolls (and *maybe* rocks?)

got this piece of fan mail from suttonhoo.  close friend and confidant.  hardcore ecommerce person.  occasional bane of the entire b1- series.  (the closing refers to the ongoing talks we've had about whether the jillions of things i write should be consolidated.)


re: your sonic blog is mesmerizing

body: & I'm trying to figure out why.

it's always fun to read your stuff, of course; but that's not why.

the account of the SMS campaign mishaps is fascinating to me as a
marketer, but that's not why.

maybe it's the repetition with the mild variations on a theme. or the
fact that these different locations develop into characters that we
know and recognize when they come round again.

you're right that it definitely needs to be it's own, dedicated stream.

good stuff.

write for superbSONIC?

let's say you're a loner with no hobbies ...

... or let's say that you've got an obsession with the greatest fast-food drinks in the US, a good SONIC story, a cool piece of info, or even work at/own/rob restaurants in this fine chain ...

if any of those things apply to you, you're welcome to post here ... i'll take anything from a one-off story to ongoing diatribes ... just think, you can be just as famous as i am and you'll get paid the same amount.*

leave a comment or send an email to fly.a.versatran+SONIC [at] gmail.com

*if you can't figure out what these figures are, i think it's in your best interest not to write here.


partial survey receipt decoding

the combination of starting this 'blog, and a surplus of survey receipts, has gotten me to the point that i know some of coding on them.

when you call the survey number (877-807-2710), you're asked to give the code in the lower left hand of the receipt.  after you answer the questions (sometimes just three, sometimes a slew of them) you're given a validation code.

in my most recent visit...
the receipt code was: 243802230456
the survey completion code was: 243811541

this was at the SONIC on sahara, which is #2438.  so the first four numbers of the receipt and the completion are the store code.  the suffix digits of the receipt code might be nothing more than a serial receipt number (ie. they've given out 2M surveys).  the suffix of the completion code is probably the number of people who have actually taken the surveys and responded.

ah, the things you think about as you nibble on a wacky pack.

wacky pack wednesday (with bonus ice tea)

wacky pack: chicken strips and BBQ sauce, apple slices with caramel sauce
and a lemon-powerade mountain blast slush. all this accompanied by a route
44 iced tea.  total meal -including the four sugar packets for my tea- is a very reasonable 550 calories. SONIC #2438.

i've been inside writing all day and wanted a nice large hit of
caffeine, hence the powerade slush chased by the route 44 ice tea.

between 2 people, we ordered a butt-load of food: two wacky packs, an additional small tots and the monster ice tea.  all for the low, low price of five
bucks (thanks, in part, to a survey receipt).

AND we got a survey receipt with our order. in fact, the cashier was
positively *jubilant* that i got another one. (sahara is a really good
SONIC, it's just the view here isn't nearly as sexy as flamingo) ...

... AND as i was throwing away trash an earlier SONIC bag for the day
was sticking out (i had to stuff it in the can to get my junk in) and IT
TOO had a survey receipt. (come on, do you REALLY think i would take
someone else's receipt when i was given one? really? really, really?)

i *still* love wacky pack wednesday.

hi-C revelation

as i was writing my last post i realized, for the very very first time in my life, that "hi-C" is called that because the drink is spiked with vitamin C.

either i'm the dumbest kid on my block, or my lifetime subscription to lumosity is doing something positive to my head.

probably both.

advice for a SONIC first-timer

i was talking to the grumbler the other day and he asked me an interesting question: i'm going to SONIC for the first time, what should i order?

backing up a step, before you do anything you should consider signing up for their online propaganda arm (SONIC cruisers) and getting their mobile TXT notifications.  either of those may shoot you some kind of a discount for your first visit.  neither of them are outrageously spammy in their approach to the public.

on your first SONIC visit, i'd recommend going to a stall and getting a carhop for your adventure (as opposed to going through the drive-thru).  do a slow drag around the place to find the spot with the best view ... this gives you a chance to sort of take the SONIC experience all-in and keeps you from having to drive with a drink in your hand/lap/spilling across your passenger seat.  the only downside of doing this is it jacks your total outlay up because you need to tip your carhop.

if you're feeling nerdcore cool, call SONIC FM as you pull in (1-866-766-4236 / 1-866-SONICFM) and you can hear your song while you partake.  be sure to tell the DJ it's your first time at a SONIC.  (you might want to try telling that to your order taker as well, they might throw you a freebie.)

keeping my SONIC prejudices in mind, the stand-out at SONIC, for sure, are the drinks.  my recommendation would be to get something with fresh fruit in it: a limeade; a strawberry, lemon-berry or lime slush; or a (caloric heavy-weight) fruit smoothie.  absolutely you should go during happy hour (2:00 - 4:00PM most places) and get it half price (smoothies don't get happy hour rates).

a good poor-man's second in the drink world is to do a mix-and-match on the fountain.  i've heard of people ordering things like coke and dr. pepper slushes (i've experimented a bit with this myself) ... the 'net has several people who talk about mountain blast and ocean water mixes ... slushes with cranberry juice, apple juice and orange juice are all a nice twist ...  if you demand low-cal, a cherry limeade is probably an excellent choice.

the only SONIC food that i think is worth its weight in taste -- but not in caloric-hit, unfortunately -- are the tater tots.  the burgers are dull and hint of having been both cows and sponges at one point in their life.  SONIC dogs aren't kosher, which causes me to dismiss them out-of-hand.  {4/6/11 addition: the new SONIC dogs are very good.  if they still have them when you read this, and like a good dog, you can't go wrong in ordering one ... stay away from the foot longs, go with one of the place-named wieners.}

having said all this, there is another possibility, and that is you could order a wacky pack.  yes, it's a kids' meal, but you get a little bit of everything for a low-low price.  three bucks and change ($1.50 on wednesday in vegas) gets you a main, a side, and a drink (the kids' size slush isn't available any other way).  the problem here is that there aren't any healthy -or particularly good tasting- food choices for the main course: chicken strips, corn dog, grilled cheese or jr. burger.  it's the taste bud equivalent of having to choose from the last four kids for your soccer team in sixth grade gym class.  my pick of this runt litter is the chicken strips -- they're not bad when slathered with a little bit of SONIC's perfectly-acceptable BBQ sauce (you have to ask for a side of sauce).

ignoring taste and nutrition to focus on calories only, you could go as low-cal as chicken strips, apple strips (hold the caramel sauce) and diet dr. pepper (380 calories total); or as grand as a grilled cheese, fries and a watermelon slush (790 calories total).

the soft-serve (real) ice cream at SONIC is extremely good.  consider saving room for a dish or cone.  if you want to load up, have a blast.

oh yes, and don't forget to have fun too.

if you've read this posting, and then gone on to visit a SONIC for the first time, please leave a comment ... i'd like to hear about your experience.

{an aside, SONIC has an excellent nutrition calculator online ... definitely worth playing around with if you're into that kind of thing ... while you're at it, you can have a look-see at my SONIC tricks, tips and gimmicks page -- you might glean something else to stimulate your frontal lobe.}


that lame SONIC TXT message

the hot dog TXT from the other day, was, in fact, spammy.

the big powers are making it clear that SONIC is moving away from the dollar menu and to higher quality food ... my TXT was nothing more than an alert that a new set of all-beef hot dogs are on the slow rollers -- all at the $1.99 price as indicated.  okay, fine, but DON'T SEND ME A TXT MESSAGE ABOUT IT.

i don't want SONIC telling me about things that are already on the menu (i know how to read when i pull into a stall).  tell me about deals and discounts.


happy hour

small strawberry slush; flamingo SONIC.

weird series of circumstances had me buyin' a slush for happy hour and
holding the other half of my lemon-iced tea slush for tomorrow instead.
the slush mix was a little too watery -- odd since that tends to be more
of a summer problem than winter (we actually have snow on the mountains right

more importantly, SONIC has killed their dollar menu ... smalls aren't a
buck any more, they're $1.59 ... this may well have happened at the same
time they upped then end of happy hour from 4:00PM to 5::00 and i just missed it.


experimental slush

route 44 lemon-iced tea slush, with extra lemon. flamingo SONIC.

sometimes i have why-didn't-i-think-of-this-before ideas ...
yesterday when i was waiting for my slush on the landing, i heard a guy
order a dr. pepper slush. an interesting idea -- slush with dr. pepper
in it.

and then it hit me ... ice tea slush ... and hey wait a minute, if
you're gonna do that, you could go ahead and cross it with a lemon slush
(an "arnold palmer slush" if you're white, a "lisa's delight slush" if
you're black).

it's essentially unheard of for me to order a drink off happy hour, but
i wanted to celebrate my black jack tournament win today ... so i
scrounged an old survey receipt from my glove box to give it a try.

it's sort of hit-and-miss. the taste is right, but the slush is diluted
by the regular ice tea liquid ... which, in turn, makes the slush rise
in the drink ... you end up with liquid in the bottom, slush sediment on top.

i can drink nearly an infinite amount of ice tea ... and that's a
caloric problem here because the taste is close enough to ice tea that i could
just down the whole thing at once ... that'd be more than 300 calories
in one go, and just too much.

half in my belly now, half in the freezer for tomorrow (which may well take care of the not-fully-frozen problem).

a good experiment.


2/22/11 addendum:

freezing the entire thing solid in my freezer at home, and then thawing it back out, essentially solves the too-thin-slush problem (the texture's off just a bit because the ice grains are a little larger).  not exactly expedient, but an answer that works.


happy hour

medium lemon slush with extra lemon wedges, flamingo SONIC.

i was going to order from the landing and *just* as i approached the
platform the driver of a white chrysler 300 opened her door and hurled
*volumes* onto the stall floor.  (and no, she hadn't had any SONIC yet.)

did this stop me from ordering? did it? did it?

of course not. you can't live in las vegas with no stomach for

when my order came out, i turned around to see the car hop rollerblade-deep in the spew ... which goes to show you just *how serious* your mom was when she said not to lick your sister's roller skate wheels.

AND, yes, yes, yes ... another survey.

bonus gratuitous pic:

{as long as i was firing out a SONIC graphic, i figured i'd include a
pic from last night as well ... five-of-a-kind on a joker wild (sic)
video poker machine ... the penultimate payout ... $250 on a $1.25 bet.}


happy hour

medium lemon slush; SONIC #2438


happy hour

medium lemon-berry slush; SONIC 5942.

these bastards. goddamn i hate this SONIC. it has exactly two things
going for it:
1. it's on the direct drive from the silicon valley to vegas.
2. it's a SONIC -- meaning you can actually get a slush.

the person who shall never be mentioned and i pull to the drive-thru.
we order two slushes. we wait something like seven minutes to get to
the window. we pull up.

spudnut cashier: "that's $1.53 please. would you like any ketchup with

my driver: "no, we're having drinks."

spudgirl: "oh, you'd like ranch instead?"

and i swear to you, i thought my driver was going to launch out the
window and grab the throat of the girlie.

in fact, the person who shall never be mentioned had become magnesium
lit-up ... no extinguisher could quench this blaze.


which is to say that the entertainment value was high and ...

... you'll love this ...

... i got a survey receipt.

dog day today

latest TXT offer. i don't know if this is actually a bargain/discount
or just a spammy message ...


Try one of the new Sonic premium beef hot dogs today - All American, New
York, Chili Cheese & Chicago only $1.99


come on, at least they ARE brown

One morning a few years ago I was driving by the South Plano Sonic at 108th & Memorial and their sign was flashing 'Now serving breakfast!'. I was hungry so I pulled in and ordered their pancake battered sausage and hash brown bites combo. It sounded kind of good and was a departure from McDonald's or Burger King, although there was no picture on the order board.

They brought me a corn dog and tator tots.
-- "dr. strangelove" commenting on a tusla news website

st. valentine's day taste bud massacre

stopped by the gilroy SONIC on my way to monterey and decided to take advantage of their TXT offer. i pull to the drive thru knowing full-well that things could go wrong ... and they do, almost immediately.

i order a route 44 strawberry slush (using a survey receipt) and a medium red velvet cheesecake blast (using the TXT discount).

the speaker chirps, "that'll be $3.59."

no it won't.

i pull up to the window. the girlie says, "that'll be $3.59."

"no. i have this receipt and <lifting my hiptop> this text message."

i hand her a dollar.

she slides the window closed and i hear a LOT of yelling back-and-forth. i don't get everything but there are lots of "we're not accepting that!" "where's that from!" and so forth.

the window slides open. "we can only accept that blast coupon if it's printed."

"no, it says you'll accept it right here," and i hand her my phone.

back and forth this goes. my phone leaves my car and goes through the pass-through window, not once but three times. i'm answering a myriad of questions, all of which are vaguely in tune with "where the hell did
you get this?" or "how the hell can we get you to leave the window right now?

minutes pass. many minutes. maybe as many as ten.

so many minutes pass that the staff begin servicing cars behind me in line by sending people

two different cars simply drive away.

the closest thing to a manager comes to the window.

"we have no idea what this text is, but we'll give you a blast for one-third off."

that's right. this situation has gotten enough out of hand that i'm now *bartering* with an american fast food restaurant.

"how much would that be?"

the officianado hacks on his register for 45 seconds.


normally i'd say, "just give me the slush" and berate the 800 number later, but i've been wanting to try this monstrosity after seeing the ads pushed in my face repeatedly for the last few weeks. and a discount
is a discount. the endless stream of cars driving past me certainly aren't getting this deal.

"i'll take it."

so i get my slush and my red velvet cheesecake blast and i drive off into the garlic smell filled night.

the slush is exactly what you'd expect.


i figured the red velvet cheesecake blast could be anywhere on the map from surprisingly good to predictably henious ... i mean, come on, it's "rich red velvet cake batter real ice cream blended with cheesecake pieces, then finished with whipped topping† and more cheesecake pieces."‡ so it has a chance, right?

it was indescribably awful. i mean, awful in that grab-a-popsicle-stick-and-scrape-it-off-my-tongue-PLEASE! way.

so bad that i:
  • ate a bite.
  • thought it was beyond horrible.
  • sat there.
  • thought "it can't be that bad."
  • sat there some more.
  • ate another bite.
  • and then actually exclaimed, "aw, gawd! this is so bad it makes me really really sorry i don't litter!"
as my l-o-n-g string of girlfriends will be oh-so-quick to tell you, i don't celebrate valentine's day. but i also don't go out and try to torture myself either. this whole thing would be a horrible, horrible, bad event ... except ...

i got a survey receipt.

and as long as i didn't chuck that flimsy piece of paper from the car as i was spewing red velvet glory out of my mouth and onto the highway shoulder, THIS one is gonna count ...

... and the 800 number is gonna hear about it. oh yes, they are.

†the phrase "whipped topping" always makes me wince ever since i took hardcore cooking classes. is it *really* that hard to whip cream?

‡doesn't this sound suspiciously like the recipe for the "squealer spoonbender" that the birdhead sent me: chocolate custard, chocolate chips and bacon; topped with whipped cream and more bacon?


your valentine's day present from SONIC

latest promo TXT.
Treat ur Valentine & yourself to a Red Velvet regular Blast only $1 each
at Sonic all day Feb 14th. Plz mention txt when ordering


happy hour

medium lemon slush (with extra lemon wedges), SONIC #5517.

took 5 minutes for them to take my drive-up order and 15 minutes to fill
it. not good. these guys are usually more on top of it than that.


quote of the moment

"fizzy means real fruit"

-- receipt sticker, SONIC drive-in; las vegas, NV

wacky pack wednesday and vanilla dish

note the cool chicken steam on the windshield 
chicken strips, lemon slush, apple slices and "too many monkeys" card game. sahara SONIC.

and got a survey receipt!

felt so good (and i was eating my first meal of the day) that i ordered a vanilla dish for dessert ...

... and got *another* survey.

$4 in drink credits on $2.50 worth of food.  good deal.

(and 717 calories total, very reasonable.)

current SONIC cruisers coupons

"SONIC cruisers" is the fan club/propaganda arm of SONIC drive-in. joining (for free) off the SONIC web site gives you a newsletter, occasional discounts and a birthday present. (if you've ever read *anything* of interest here, you should join with your junk email address.)

this morning's mail has four coupons good through the end of february:
* BOGO SONIC burger
* 2 corn dogs for 99¢
* chicken strip dinner for $3.99 (4 strips, fries, toast and a medium
soft drink)
* "brown bag special" for $6.99 (2 SONIC burgers, 2 medium tots and 2
soft drinks)

all the coupons are print-yourself and bar coded ... which means you can make as many as you want but the universal SONIC mind will track on the one you use.

i supposed you *could* try to pass more than one of your own
-transactions happen pretty fast, i don't see a lot of car hops with
bar code scanners and i wouldn't describe SONIC employees as the most tech savvy in the world- but i'm not sure why you'd want to.

and anyway, who the hell knows what kind of food they'd serve you if you got caught and sent to fast-food jail ... maybe something truly hideous like carl's jr. rejects.

 not worth the risk, i say.


happy hour

medium lemon-berry slush.

walked across the street from the palms after using my free tickets to the "ping pong world championships" (thanks, palms).

they tried giving me a small ... as if i don't know better.


happy hour

medium lemon-berry slush. flamingo SONIC.


happy hour

the SONIC on flamingo -- i don't have the number handy right this

this is supposed to be a medium lemon-berry slush, but i'm pretty sure
it's a strawberry slush.
her: "... and here's your strawberry slush."
me: "'strawberry?' do you mean 'lemon-berry?'"
her: "oh, yeah, lemon-berry."
it's too red, too strawberry-y and not sour enough.

my driver also didn't ask for a receipt, but i think we got weirdly
over-charged again. unfortunately with no receipt, i can't press it.

when she saw me taking the photo, the cashier said, "where're you from?"

i said, "las vegas, NV," and got nothing but a blank stare back.

no 50¢ special corn dogs today. i'm not a corn dog fan and 50% isn't
enough of a discount for me to shovel one down my gullet.

suprisingly unsatisfactory visit.


superbowl sunday corn dogs 50¢

latest SONIC TXT -- applies to tomorrow 2/6/11
Superbowl Sunday Special 50 Cent Corn Dogs @ Sonic All Day. Plz mention
txt when ordering.


happy hour

SONIC #2438

medium lemon-berry slush ... and got a survey receipt.


happy hour

medium lemon-berry slush. SONIC #5942
made it by 1 minute.

hayward SONIC with special K

night before last, special K, the person who shall never be mentioned and i took his gift card to the SONIC in hayward, CA.  i'd never been here before, but my understanding is that this one is owned by the same franchisee as the one in gilroy (a place that i've had very mixed experiences) so i wasn't sure what to expect.

we had a fistful of coupons:
we pressed to order but were told that we could only have one coupon honored per car if we ordered from the stall, but they could handle all of them if we ordered from the landing.

so out to the landing we went.  between us we had: 
  • four slushes (one was a take-away for momma K)
  • one medium tots 
  • one medium chili-cheese tots
  • two coney dogs
  • an order of apple slices with caramel sauce
there was a little back-and-forth with our order taker (he forgot the caramel sauce for the apple slices and also brought the dogs out plain -- so we asked for onions and mustard), but in the end everything from an order perspective was great.  the SONIC accepted all the coupons (about $7 worth of savings) and charged everything to special K's card. 

now, i guess you could argue that it was ridiculous that we had to get out of the car and go to the landing to make things work, BUT i understand the employees having to follow some vague form of rules ... AND the super-nice order taker gave us an easy work-around.  we also got them to accept our BOGO coupon for chili cheese dogs, but apply it for naked foot-long hot dogs instead.  

the only weird thing -just like my previous experience at the gilroy SONIC- was they insisted my survey coupon be used only for a route 44 and nothing smaller (even though i only wanted a medium).  i went ahead and ordered a route 44 -only drinking half that night and freezing the rest for the next day- but even that's not all bad because i'll report the experience to the customer service number ... and may well end up with a superSONIC postcard as a result.

but that can easily be balanced by the fact that out of our three receipts i got, that's right, another survey ... which means i'll have another freebie route 44 drink in my future.

i'm definitely not complaining about the order experience as a whole.

it was a chilly night, so we immediately packed in all back to the car and tucked in.

the person who shall never be mentioned liked the chili-cheese tots -- thinking their overall flavor was something close to tommy's burgers.  special K liked his tots and dog.

as you'll notice from looking at my tally to date, i'm not a fan of SONIC's burgers, and it'd been over 30 years since i'd had a non-kosher hot dog ... i had my doubts.  sure enough, the hot dog was just very plain tasting and lacking any kind of stand-out flavor.  a disappointment after years of hebrew nationals and siani koshers.  drowning it in mustard and onions did help considerably -- even if it made it pop art messy.

of course the lemon-berry slush, although massive, was on the mark.

i asked special K if he had anything he wanted to say about our visit for this posting and he intoned, "Sonic with you is a 24-HOE level experience."  high praise, indeed.