158. Walking in a Corporate Wonderland

Walking in a Corporate Wonderland: Big greedy corporations? Boooo. Guided tours of corporate headquarters, including big gift shops and lots of free samples? Yay! So it went on our day spent in downtown Atlanta, where we toured the World of Coca-Cola and CNN studios. At Coke HQ, they pump you so full of soda love that by the time you get to the World Tasting Room and are granted bottomless samples of sixty Coke products from around the world, only bad things can happen. Bloated and sticky with the secret formulas of weirdo African and Latin American pops, we ambled through the movies, memorabilia and propaganda of an American corporate juggernaut. Besides an afternoon of funny gas, here were the takeaways: The only thing that matters in the world is Coke, which may or may not somehow improve brain and nerve function.

Then came CNN, the prodigal goody-two-shoes of the Turner Broadcasting family. CNN offers a very worthwhile kind of zoo tour, allowing common people to view the network’s newsrooms in action through greasy, forehead-stained glass windows. Sadly, the glass windows overlooking the Headline News room are etched with the warning, “PLEASE DO NOT KNOCK ON THE GLASS.” People, did we learn nothing from the San Francisco Zoo maulings? Amy and I don’t drink a lot of Coke, but we do watch a lot of CNN, so this one was real feel good fun. Takeaways here: The only thing that matters in the world is CNN. Also, an English-speaking monkey could do the job of the on-air weather personalities.

Clearly there’s a lot more to Hotlanta than corporate HQs. Delta Airlines, Turner and Coke may dominate daily headlines, but there’s a wealth of “world famous” hot dog diners like The Varsity (inset) and innumerable markers of African American history and culture, like Martin Luther King Jr.’s final resting place. Bad traffic, sweet southern hospitality and big winter thunderstorms. We saw all these things too and here was the takeaway: The only place that matters is Atlanta. And I’m thirsty. Let’s watch some news.


  1. ETK says:

    Hi! I’m a friend of a friend, but wanted to say how sad I am that you two were in the ATL and I did NOT have a chance to stalk you in person. I’m so jealous of all that you have done – it’s my dream to do that one day.

    I’m gonna go watch some news now.

  2. Sloan says:

    Yes, this seems to happen a lot – maybe we should release our schedule ahead of time? If only we actually had a schedule. Next time…

  3. Greg Wesson says:

    Ah, The Varsity. They have really good chicken wings too.

    Speaking of big thunderstorms and news, I was once standing in another location of The Varsity up in Alpharetta when tornado warnings came on the TV. I returned to my hotel to find all the guests sitting in the hallway so they wouldn’t be killed by flying glass. Luckily we never got hit by a tornado.

  4. servo3000 says:

    If you get a chance, go by the new aquarium. You will be beaten over the head constantly with the Home Depot sponsorship, but it is worth enduring to see one of the best aquariums in the country.

  5. Sloan says:

    Isn’t that classic Atlanta (or America) though? Nature, brought to you by big box retail. Love it. And hate it.

  6. Rob says:

    FYI: English speaking monkeys work for Fox News, not CNN. That’s why you didn’t spot any. Also, they do O’Reilly’s fact checking, not the weather. That’s what they do when they’re not joining the rest of their 1,000 brethren at their 1,000 typewriters, that is. I can’t knock them for that. Their novel is probably coming along better than mine.

    Long time lurker, first time commenter. Love the site! You two are awesome.

  7. Dustin says:

    My Amy and I also visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta recently. In all the years I lived there I resisted the call. However, Amy was tired of not actually seeing anything in Atlanta when we visit my family for the holidays, so we did stop by last December. We did not do CNN, though I did tour it back in the early 90′s, but we did visit the Georgia Aquarium before the recent deaths of some of their biggest animals.

    You mentioned in passing one of my favorite parts of the tour. The old Cocal-Cola slogans calling the drink “the ideal brain tonic,” “delightful summer and winter beverage,” and pushing Coke’s merits “for headache and exhaustion.”