I have recently moved from Newport Beach to Isla Vista and have discovered Blenders in the Grass, a local alternative to the national smoothie chain Jamba Juice. Although I have been a faithful Jamba Juicer for many years, I figured that I should try the local taste of squeezed fruit.
I have been to Blenders a handful of times, and I have frequented several different locations around town. I didn’t think it was quite as good as Jamba, but I assumed that I just wasn’t ordering the right thing.
A few days ago though, my boyfriend had the flu and on our way home we stopped off at the Blenders in the Camino Real Marketplace, figuring that we could get some of the fresh squeezed orange juice that they offer on the menu.
Now, every Thursday morning I visit the Jamba Juice on campus and order a regular sized orange juice, which they squeeze right before my eyes in a juicer right behind the register. After someone has ordered fresh squeezed orange juice, one of the employees places several oranges in the machine and they are squeezed while you wait. However, when we ordered the advertised “fresh orange juice” from Blenders, the girl behind the counter proceeded to open the mini fridge and pull out a Tupperware jug of juice. The girl noticed the look of horror on my face and said, “We don’t squeeze it when you order it, but it’s fresh.”
I was a little relieved and figured, what do I know? After she shook the jug and poured the juice into the cups, she set them on the counter. I have learned after a few visits to Blenders that they do not in fact put lids on the cups for you. I suppose it probably has something to do with recycling and the environment, but it mostly seems that they think that it simply isn’t their job. I was a little suspicious of the “fresh orange juice” in a jug, so I tasted the juice before putting my own lid on. It was sour.
My boyfriend tasted his – it was sour too. Then we told the girl the juice was sour.
“Oh, well maybe it’s just that jug,” she said.
“What do you mean by ‘that jug’?” I asked.
“Oh,” she replied. “We have other jugs, too. You see, oranges, they’re out of season. So, the company sends us the juice like this.”
Oh, now I see. And when my boyfriend asked about the piles of oranges on the counter tops she replied, “Those are fake.”
That’s when I asked for my money back. It was like going to an Italian restaurant that specifically states on the menu “homemade marinara” and after questioning the waiter as to why the sauce tastes a little funny, he responds, “Oh, well that’s because tomatoes are out of season right now, so, we’re using Prego.”
I don’t like to pay $3.50 for store bought juice in a cup; I can buy two gallons for that price. The thing that gets me though, is that she said “they’re out of season.” Well, then why can I buy them at the grocery store year round and why can Jamba Juice squeeze them every Thursday morning right in front of my eyes? How can Blenders call it “fresh” if their orange juice gets shipped to them?
From now on, I think I’ll stick with Jamba Juice.
Nicole Koczanowicz is a junior English major.