LEVELS OF COMMITTMENT

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.

fanta.jpg
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.

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9 Responses to “LEVELS OF COMMITTMENT”

  1. Ambrosini Says:

    I would like the point out that Surge has been re-released as the much whored out Vault.

  2. Valerie Says:

    Alright, I know Surge is bad… I hadn't thought about Surge in years. But the mention of it does make me think about hanging out in the Allen Hall common area freshman year, because it was new and in the vending machine and (oddly) rather popular. But I think it was popular in the "Jesus, this is fluorescent green and scarily sweet" sort of way, where people drank it because it was amusing, or dared each other to drink it. Not exactly the same, but kind of like how little kids used to get all worked up about Jolt soda. (Does Jolt still exist? Do little kids still get all worked up about it? Is Red Bull the new Jolt?) Anyway… Yeah, that's about all I had to say about Surge.

  3. Liz Says:

    I hope I don't have to resort to this to get the occasional liter of Faygo Red Pop.

  4. Kendra Says:

    So… at first I was really disturbed. Then, of course, true to form- I had to look for that elusive Tropical Punch Crush (a memory of childhood car trips) and Josta (enough Guarana to keep you awake for days). I am still appalled that someone though up an internet soda distribution business- though if someone can find me either of the aformentioned products, I wouldn't be upset.

  5. Ed Says:

    I lied about the setup. I was actually searching for Tahitian Treat. It's like Hawaiian Punch with 100 times the sugar. And the consistency of cough syrup.

  6. Ray Says:

    I think I can still get Tahitian Treat at my grocery store. If you want some I'll send you a 12 pack for 30 bucks, plus shipping.

  7. Ed Says:

    I was kidding. Tahitian Treat is widely available and tastes like peasant blood.

  8. steve Says:

    what.. you've never heard of the vintage washing-machine collectors?

    http://www.automaticwasher.org/

  9. Max Ballstein Says:

    You can't be 26782 serious?!?