That may be uncomfortable at first glance, but give it a moment. Sure, a vertical bar will end up in a string at some point—regular expressions with alternation come to mind—but the exceptional cases are no longer blatant and nagging, and you could get through a beginning class without even mentioning them.
Glossing over this kind of thing is a huge mistake. To write decent code, a programmer has to keep many such edge cases in mind all the time. It’s a struggle to do so, and it’s a habit that needs to be formed as early as possible.