Tears and Laughter: What’s with the names?

It all started back in Dixons Mills when my sitter Fannie – who I adored and still keep on a high pedestal – would give it to me every morning at 10:00 a.m. We would drink it while we were taking a break from her morning chores to watch The Price is Right.

And she would always say something like, “I don’t know if a child your age should have Co-Cola every day like this.”

She worried about it, but I have always liked to think it wouldn’t cause me too terribly much harm unless I started pairing it with a lot of home-fries and vodka and macaroni and cheese and fried chicken and biscuits with gravy.

I never would have made it through my senior year without the Coke machine outside of Coach Miller’s Civics class at Chilton County High School. If I could make it to that beacon of red light by 7:50 every morning with two quarters in my hand, I could make through the rest of the day.

And now, all these many years later, I’m up to about six a day.

I am a fan. I’m loyal and committed and have very little personality without it. I am going to continue to enjoy it with a smile. But, what is going on with all of these names on the bottles?

It’s not that I even mind the names, if somebody I know is on say the first four or five rows of bottles in the cooler.

I stopped for a Coke in the great city of Monroeville, and in the past this process took a matter of seconds. I don’t want to brag, but I could perform it flawlessly. I would identify that shapely bottle wearing my favorite red and white label, and then I could just swoop right in there and pick it up quick like a hawk.

But now it is more like I am choosing a book. And at the store I had stopped at in Monroeville, I could not find anybody I knew. I even apologized to the customer behind me for taking so long. I told her, “I just don’t know any of these people.” She seemed to understand, she said, “Me either.”

I noticed that above these bottles with names were smaller bottles with generic phrases. I immediately decided on one that said #1, because it was in front staring at me, and headed to the register. Then to my surprise the young guy at the counter kindly said with a slow drawl, “Oh… I can’t let you buy that.”

Well naturally I asked, “What? Am I not a #1?” He said, “No ma’am,” and he pointed back towards the cooler, “those bigger ones down there are 25 cents cheaper.”

So I had to go put #1 back in the rack and rummage through all that same group of folks I didn’t know the first time, mixed in with a couple of people I didn’t want to think about, or remember, or get mad at again while driving down the road with them sitting there riding along beside me.

I finally found myself though, way in the back, and, I saved a quarter.

You really can’t ask for better customer service than that.

I saved the label as a bookmark. It is currently holding my place – by name – in a Carl Hiaasen novel.

Amanda Walker is a columnist with The West Alabama Watchman, Al.com, The Thomasville Times, and The Wilcox Progressive Era. For more information, visit her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist.