August 5, 1997
Orbitz: The Drink With Balls
Orbitz comes in such actual flavors as Orange-Vanilla, Raspberry-Citrus, Blueberry-Melon-Strawberry, and Pineapple-Banana-Cherry-Coconut. I don't know about the others, but I did try Orange-Vanilla Orbitz. I even paid money for it. You're no doubt thinking, "Joe, how could you have possibly paid money for something that sounds so horrible?" Well, there's a simple and plausible explanation. I bought it merely as public service to help you, my readers, navigate through the often confusing world of beverages.
Also, I was somewhat drunk.
The odd looking bottle of Orbitz sat in my refrigerator for days, terrifying my roommates. When I finally had the balls (er, sorry) to try it, it tasted like the sort of thing thirteen year old boys dare each other to drink in a school cafeteria. And those balls only made it worse. I mean, here's this disgusting drink. One can almost handle that, but oh those balls. I caught one with my teeth and bit into it. It was like biting into radioactive mucous Tang. I don't want to think about it anymore.
And I'm not the only one who hates it. I went to the Beverage Network in an attempt to learn more about Orbitz and because, frankly, I have too much free time on my hands. Here's their review of Raspberry Citrus Orbitz:
Atrocious. That sums it up. This flavor tastes absolutely horrible. In the words of James Craven, author of SuperFox, "It tastes like water that came out of a vase used for flowers. . . . the balls make it even worse." The only difference is that Orbitz has sugar. This beverage makes us sick.
But despite all the negative reviews, Clearly Canadian is surging forward and opening a new Orbitz factory in California. It makes me feel rather inadequate to realize that while I'm still a temp the person who had the presence of mind to invent a drink featuring round floaty chunks of something or another is no doubt still employed. Hell, he or she probably got a promotion, and that's what's really confusing. Think about it. At some point during a board meeting at Clearly Canadian, the following exchange occurred:
Person who thought to put Round Floaty Chunks in a drink: " Sir, would you like to hear our idea about a new drink with round floaty chunks in it, eh?"
Chairman of the Board: "Round Floaty Chunks! Round Floaty Chunks! That's brilliant! What this company needs are more ingenious people like you. We'll be rich. Rich, I say."
Wouldn't you know it? Orbitz has a web site. As you enter their site, you are greeted with the words, "Set gravity aside and prepare to embark on a tour into the bowels of the Orbiterium." Now, I'm no marketing expert, but somehow it seems a bad idea to use the word "bowels" at a web site dedicated to a drink this hideous.
As I indeed delved further into their bowels, I discovered a page of e-mail from people who had tried Orbitz. Not only did they have pages for their "good" and "arcane" mail, but they also had a page dedicated to "bad" mail. You have to wonder about these people. First, they create Orbitz, and then they use their web site to display the opinions of people who hate the drink.
I started with the good mail. After all, I had to know who actually likes the drink. It seemed a bad omen for them when on this page of "good" mail, I came across the comment, "your drink is good but it feels like you are swallowing barf." And later on there was another ringing endorsement: "The orbitz in the drink were cool at first! But it gave me and my dad a slight stomach discomfort! But the drink was really good!" High praise indeed.
To be fair, there are apparently some big Orbitz fans out there. One person wrote:
I think that your drink is the best, it gives me a tingling feeling all over the mouth and the throat. Your drink is the only thing that ever gave me this feeling before and I love ORBITZ.
A 12 year old named Buzz wrote:
I drink Orbitz all the time. It makes me happy and sugar high. . . . Some of my friends don't like Orbitz because of the way it looks. I love the way it looks because it looks like a lava lamp. I also have a lava lamp.
And perhaps the most cogent comment of all was: "Very trippy. Whatever you guys are on, I want some."
Next, I checked out the hate mail, which included comments such as:
The little squishy balls represent disgust in its purest form. Sucking them through my teeth, waves of nausea racked my body for several hours following.
Your product sucks and thousands of people will probably do as we did and spit it in the sink!
Why does your drink make people sick if they drink it while riding a bike or doing something like that?
I still don't get it. Perhaps I'm just not hip enough. I almost think they want people to know the drink is bad. Maybe they are specifically targeting the "Here, this tastes horrible. Try it." market. We all have an inherent curiosity to taste disgusting things, because we think "they couldn't possibly be that bad." Orbitz, however is. Unless you're the type of person who has ever stared into a lava lamp and thought, "Well, gosh, I'd sure like to take a swig of that," my advice is to avoid Orbitz completely. You'll thank me later.
©2005 Joe Lavin
Orbitz Picture by Ye Olde Web Designer Cat.
Update: Orbitz was discontinued long ago. And sorry, I have no idea where you can buy some.
Check back every Tuesday for another column.
May 3, 2005