The Intractable Problem
When I have a meal in a restaurant, I will usually order a diet cola, because I don't care which kind they have, but mostly because there's nothing I can do about it since most places only have one kind of diet pop (or "soda" if you hail from the south), and that's cola.
Invariably I get either the question, "Is diet Pepsi OK?" or "Is diet Coke OK?" depending on what they have.
And they only have one because the two big soft drink companies force anyone who signs up with them to not sign up with the other guys. I'm sure they think this is clever, and it does have the result that if you have no choice, you will choose them.
The point of my saying "diet cola" is to head off that particular additional inquiry, because if I said instead, "I'd like a diet Pepsi" half the time I'll get the response "We only have diet Coke, it that OK?"
I realize I will have this problem for the rest of my life, small though it is. Because a couple times I've even said, "I'll have a diet Coke or diet Pepsi, whichever you have" and still get "Is diet Coke OK?" Crikey.
In the name of full disclosure, I must say that I did once encounter the reason all seasoned waiters and waitresses ask this redundant (to me) question: My mother. Once we were ordering, and she ordered a Coke. The waitress said they only had Pepsi and (say it with me) was that OK? My mom wrinkled up her nose as though the waitress had suggested floating a turd in her refreshment, as a garnish say, and said, "No thanks. I'll just have tea," quite put out. It was a moment of epiphany for me, and when the waitress left, I pounced on my mom, "YOU'RE the one who has caused the endless recitation of redundant questions! YOU!"
At which point my mother played the "I brought you into this world so shut the hell up" card.
But still, I'd love to discover the correct, precise phrasing that would indicate the intention of my order, so we don't always have to do the "which corporate giant are you the slave of" dance.
Anyone got a suggestion?