soda jerk(redirected from a soda jerk)
dated An attendant at a drug store who would prepare and serve flavored carbonated beverages ("sodas"). The "jerk" part of the phrase is a pun on "clerk," and the jerking motion of the soda fountain spigots while pouring. Popular in the lead up to the 1940s–'50s, when drugstores sold food and drinks from behind a counter. Back when I was your age, I had to work as a soda jerk every day of the week in order to afford my first car. The retro-themed café even had a section meant to resemble an old-timey drugstore, complete with a soda jerk and soda fountain!
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Drug store counterman. Those of us old enough to remember when pharmacies sold nothing but medicine and medications, magazines and comic books, candy, and soda fountain treats, a man behind the zinc-and-marble counter made and dispensed sodas, frappes, milkshakes, malteds, and other ice cream–based concoctions, as well as banana splits, Cokes, lime rickeys, and dozens of other refreshments. He was the soda jerk, the name coming from the fountain dispensers with handles that he jerked down to pour seltzer and other soft drinks. For some unclear reason, women weren't soda jerks.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price