Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Up With That? Episode 3

In todays installment of "What Up With That", we fix our critical eye upon a piece of Americana so ubiquitous, that you probably have never given it a second look. Soda Pop as we know it has been around since the early 19th century, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing. The history of soft drinks is not central to this article. What I am more intrigued by are the two words stamped lengthwise on every can and bottle that rolls off a conveyor belt: NO REFILL.

I don't want to encourage historical speculation, but in my experience, if something is explicitly forbidden, it's probably because someone has done it and got away with it due to inadequate signage. STAY OFF THE GRASS translates to WALK AROUND YOU HOOLIGANS, NO LOITERING is a polite way of saying GET OUT OF HERE DRUNKY and HOW'S MY DRIVING? CALL 1-800-EAT-SHIT means, well, you get the idea. So by that measure, NO REFILL must close some gaping loophole in the purchase agreement between consumer and carbonated beverage industry. I can imagine the miles and miles of West Virginians banging their 2 liter bottles of Mountain Dew on the door of a bottling plant, demanding their God-given right to unlimited "sodee-water", or kids in a caffeinated frenzy at the soda fountain, clutching their bottomless Coke bottle until they puke their little brains out and stagger home. Sadly, those days are gone.

If America wants to get serious about conservation, they will demand that companies remove the NO REFILL branding from every bottle and give every town a beverage distribution center where their empties can be made new again. Everyone has a reusable water bottle, because access to clean water is an inalienable right. Most people have a travel coffee mug, because they want to save the world and ten cents. It's time that soda joined the fight and let people spend their hard earned money where it belongs; on scratch tickets and cigarettes.

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