Monday, March 4, 2013

Caffeine Free: The Crazy Interval

As one of those people who drinks a can of Mountain Dew every day, I had to ask my doctor twice to repeat herself. And after that I whined for about the next ten minutes or so. “Really?” I asked. “No caffeine?” I then confessed my daily habit, and she said the words that sunk me the lowest: “There’s always caffeine free.”
An argument followed. I revealed my abhorrence for aspartame (which most people know as NutraSweet), and my subsequent inability to drink diet soda. A compromise was eventually reached in which I acknowledged that non-diet caffeine free soda does exist, while she relented, admitting that they might not sell it here.
The case is a lie.
I searched the soda aisle the next time I was at the store. Caffeine free sans aspartame options abound, but only if you want to drink strawberry or grape soda. (Bleh.) I like root beer and cream soda, but not every day. The only truly caffeine free option that you can get around here on a regular basis is Coke.
Then I went home, resolved to determine where Pepsi Co. allows their caffeine free Mountain Dew to be sold. The only mechanism for ascertaining this is to input your zip code into their store locator. My Nebraska zip code came up with a note that said, “We’re sorry, the store locator does not show any chain grocery stores or chain pharmacies that carry this product within a 50-mile radius of the zip code you entered.” I tried the Denver area zip code where my in-laws live. Same message.
“Not even in Denver?!” I thought. I took this as a challenge. did not want me to know where I could go to get what I wanted. So I fought back. I looked up the most highly populated areas in the United States and fed those zip codes into the beverage search. It turns out you can’t get caffeine free Mountain Dew within a 50 mile radius of New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, or San Jose. Not even the President of the United States can go to his local chain grocery store and pick up a twelve pack of caffeine free Mountain Dew. It’s not a question of the Secret Service making it secure for him first; they don’t sell it anywhere near Washington DC.
This led me to question whether my country is truly free. If we can’t buy caffeine free Mountain Dew, what can we do?!
This was probably taken covertly, in
Wisconsin, by a resident of Illinois.
People in Chicago are the only ones who have hope. If they’re up for a little smuggling, they can sneak over the border into Wisconsin and bring home as much caffeine free Mountain Dew as they want. They sell it at several different stores in Kenosha.
Wisconsin is a bit of a drive for me. I gave it up and decided that once a week or so is good enough for drinking a soda, and caffeine free Coke isn’t that bad. I don’t need all that sugar on a daily basis anyway.
Today I hopped on my internet and started looking up where I might be able to find caffeine free Dr. Pepper. I hoped they’d have a similar search function to Pepsi’s website, but since they farm out their bottling to various different bottlers depending on the area, they didn’t have a search function. The FAQ on their website suggested I email them to find out who my local bottler is (I’m pretty sure it’s 7UP in this part of the world), but didn’t have any way to find out where I could buy it.
Some of the time, if you don’t find what you’re looking for with an official website or wikipedia, you can find an answer to your question on a Yahoo! Answers page among the responses in a question someone else has asked. It’s not a practice I recommend on a regular basis, but it’s occasionally worth paying attention to if nothing else has turned up any pertinent information.
Three years ago a woman in Florida had cried out to her fellow internet users for help. She was in the same situation I am: her doctor said she couldn’t have caffeine. “I LOVE Dr. Pepper!” she pleaded, “PLEASE HELP!!”
There was only one answer. And it did not involve making a covert trip to a Piggly Wiggly in Wisconsin. “Just go to the place you normally buy your pop and ask the manager to order it. If he says he can’t... go to another store and ask again.”
I’m sure she had the same reaction I did: “...oh.”
What stage of grief is it that you go nuts like that? Denial? Anger? Bargaining? Maybe there should be a “Crazy” stage somewhere in there. Maybe that’s what the first three stages should be called: “The Crazy Interval.” I must be out of my crazy interval now, because even though I know that I could get caffeine free Mountain Dew if I wanted to, I know that I can do without it.
Looks like I’m caffeine free.

No comments:

Post a Comment