July 4, 1982.
Where were you when the soda giant Coca-Cola launched its devil beverage simply titled, “Diet Coke?” In the twenty-six plus years since that day, the diet drink has taken over every other soda in sales with the exception of Pepsi and of course, Coca-Cola. Diet Coke has changed its formula a few times, switching the amount of saccharin and aspartame it uses it the early years. Now, if you purchase a can or a bottle, you’ll get a product sweetened with aspartame, go to a fountain and they add a touch of saccharin to extend the shelf life. Yes, that saccharin. The saccharin that gives mice cancer. I choose to refer to the ingredient as “crazy juice.” Why? I believe Diet Coke drinkers are a breed of their own to begin with. However, those who gather in a public place and suck down the fountain variety are unknowingly taken control of by the beverage.
Last week, at the restaurant I serve at there were twelve followers at one table. Twelve ladies and gentlemen white knuckling their clear cool glasses with the addictive soft drink. I brought pitcher after pitcher to re-pour for them their narcotic of choice. Ever noticed that if you are sitting with a group of soda drinkers at a restaurant, the Diet Coke drinkers down seventeen times as much soda as those who choose the sugary stuff? When the server brings forth a pitcher, they quickly suck down the remaining ounces. They do this not because they are thirsty or to wash down the enormous bite of burger they just gnawed. They do it because they wish to consume as much Diet Coke as possible for two bucks.
Luckily, we serve Coke products and not Pepsi. If the situation were reversed, I would have many customers choose water with a slice of lemon in lieu of the rival sugar-free soda. Since we are talking about lemons, there’s usually one or two at the table that needs a lemon or maybe a lime. Regular Coke drinkers don’t do this. Regular Coke drinkers do not demand extra ice, no ice, an extra straw or to have an IV inserted by their server so they don’t have to stop eating to take a sip.
Before Diet Coke, there was Tab. Also, diet-Pepsi and Diet Rite (the choice of geriatrics). Tab was the most popular of the lot, wearing a cute pink outfit. Diet coke quickly diminished the sales of all three and has expanded to include caffeine-free, Splenda sweetened, Coke Zero, and is now found flavored with lemon, lime, cherry, and vanilla.
You are wondering why I am so harsh on the beverage. I don’t like it, though I will drink it if I am at one’s home who only stocks that in their fridge. I just find it funny that it seems to be the beverage of soda junkies. Yes, there’s people out there who down a case a day of every soda that is made, but there are just more who do so with Diet Coke.
I will end with a silly story. Last summer in the height of the soda season, an employee where I worked accidentally hooked up regular Coke to the diet spout. For two days we had hundreds of glasses gulped by die hard Diet Coke fans, not one spoke up. It was only caught by the next person who changed the syrup. I wouldn’t do that on purpose ever, I do understand that people with diabetes should not be fooled. I think I am going to pen a letter to Coca-Cola requesting that Diet Coke be replaced with the retired OK Soda. Sure, they won’t listen, but maybe I’ll get another letter.
Um, I 100% prefer Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke. What kind of person does that make me?
I’m a Full-Bodied soda drinker for me. Regular all the way! And why does the Diet version get to keep the Lime? I loved regular Coke & Pepsi with lime! And Pepsi Vanilla is only in diet now too!
And you obligatory post to make you feel old: I wouldn’t be born for another 5 years after Diet Coke’s introduction.
I was only 414 days old when Diet Coke debuted. So, it wasn’t much of a big deal for me.
Dr. Pepper was my drink of choice when I was a hardened soda drinker, followed closely by a *can* of Coca-Cola with manually-added vanilla extract – none of that syrupy stuff for me. I have never liked Diet Coke, or any diet soda. It is too sweet, yet somehow bitter to me. Yuck.
Galileo- i am 21…not old 😉
megan- I am so thankful that you counted the days 🙂
i love straight up diet coke
Wait, wait, wait, kb…You’re 21, too?! Not to be rude, but I thought you were older.
Damn. Makes me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing in my life.
The counting the days thing reminds me of Jim Dale’s wonderful narration of Pushing Daisies.
“The Facts were these: After a mere 4 years, two months, twenty-three days, seven hours and seven minues after the introduction of Diet Coke unto the world, Galileo had opened the infant chapter of his new life.
Yeah, you can disregard those first two paragraphs. 3:30 am and I forgot that you turned 30.
After 35 years of drinking Coke, RC, Dr. Pepper, Mello Yello and (for the last two decades) Diet Coke in a religious fashion, I’m completely off soda. Coffee…that’s another story.
PS: I may be coming in for lunch on Thursday.
Ok ok ok…I’ll admit it: I’m a Diet Coker. When I go to a restaurant, I’ll ask if they serve Coke or Pepsi…and if they say “Pepsi”, then I’ll order an iced tea. And yes, I’m also a “refills” queen.
BUT, I feel like I can justify this because I don’t drink soda any other time…only when I’m at the movies (gigantic TANKARD please!) or out to eat. Otherwise, I’m a water girl.
So I guess that means, when I get cancer, it will only be a “little bit”. Right? 😉
Thanks for answering an age-old question in my mind–why I hate Diet Coke from a can but love it from a fountain–it is the saccharin (sp?). Now I can die in peace.
As for me though–I down about 3-4 Diet Dr. Pepper’s a day–that stuff oddly, I love out of the can, but hate out of the fountain.
More and more though I’m chosing Red Wine over all of it.–I think that is a different problem. 🙂
oh, i love diet dr. pepper! at least one a day at work…
diet coke in a can always tastes flat, salty and metallic to me. or something like that.
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