Different people have different hobbies, different obsessions, and peculiarities that may not be readily understandable by observers. I accept this. Star Trek fandom, for instance, makes absolutely no sense to me. But many people make a lifestyle out of it. So be it.
Recently I found myself looking around the interweb in an effort to find Apple Fanta for a friend who got addicted to it in Europe and now cannot locate it. If the interweb has taught me anything, it has taught me that just about everything is available for purchase and delivery to your front door.
In the process I uncovered one of the most incomprehensible subcultures I have yet come across: the rare soda community. Soda, a.k.a. pop. The soft drink. Yes, it appears that there is a seedy underbelly to American society that feeds the needs, cravings, and obsessions of people who are addicted to (or otherwise interested in) discontinued or rare soda.
It loses its value if removed from the original packaging
To wit: Soda Finder ™. Specifically, direct yourself to the "discontinued" page. I would not have previously thought that anyone would spend $300 for 12 bottles of Pepsi Blue, but I would have been in error. Just look at some of the beverages for sale and the prices they fetch. 12 cans of Mountain Dew Pitch Black II (distinct from Pitch Black I in that it adds a "sour grape bite") for $30 plus shipping? I'm sorry, but that's a level of committment I just can't comprehend.
The eeriest part is how closely this mimics any other seedy subculture – porn or anime, for example (look at the above photo and tell me you couldn't just as easily picture that guy holding an action figure). You have your casual dabblers who participate in the subculture only miminally (Playboy or Dragonball-Z in our analogies) and want to find a mass-produced but slightly obscure product like Caffeine Free Vanilla Coke. Then you take another step over the line and have people who have a very specific set of interests within the genre (Girl-on-girl porn or 1960s Japanimation) like sub-categories of Mountain Dew. You also have the import crowd (notice the section for "Canadian Imports" like 7-Up Cranberry Splash). I can only imagine there are soda conventions that would make the average Ren Faire or Comicon look like the Mr. Universe pagaent.
Lastly, in the seedy underbelly of a culture that is already a seedy underbelly, you have the people who take it into the great beyond: scat porn or hentai, for example, or in the case of our soda culture, Surge or Sprite Aruba Jam ReMix. They are the dirty, shameful people whom the rest of the genre's fans do not like to talk about.
Everyone knows they are there and everyone fears someday becoming one of them. It starts innocently enough as an effort to find some Diet Mountain Dew LiveWire. Then it consumes an ever-increasing amount of the person's life until one day they find themselves unemployed, unshaven, and sitting in front of the computer in their underwear scanning the internet for Barq's Diet Red Creme.
I will never look at the soda aisle in the same way again.