I can’t believe that this is happening again.
It is becoming more and more clear, that I must have a target painted on my chest that says, “hey Coca-Cola, feel free to fire at will.”.
Alas, unfortunately, what I speak of is not the first betrayal of my trust in tasty beverages. Coke has forsaken me in the past, and now, they have come back to re-open the wound. Although, it appears that this time, they seek to leave a permanent aching scar. This begs me again to ask, why, Coke, why do you do this to me?
To begin, we should probably reminisce for a moment, to gain a little perspective into the past betrayal I have fallen victim to. Back in November of 2005, I read that Diet Coke Vanilla, the tastiest tasty beverage in the world, was being phased out, to be replaced (as if) by Diet Black Cherry Vanilla. I was so devastated and hurt, that I wrote Coke a letter. My cries went unheard, and my pleas went unanswered. When Coke continued twisting the knife in my gut, I finally conceded defeat, and gave in to their demands; I bid farewell to my faithful friend, Diet Vanilla Coke. Fortunately, the wound healed, as Diet Black Cherry Vanilla proved to be an adequate, although definitely subordinate, replacement. Diet Black Cherry Vanilla was like a bandage on my wound (a second love, if you will), and over the years, it has truly healed, and I finally felt whole again.
I honestly thought, that I was on a plateau again. I could smell the flowers, breathe the air in peace, and enjoy tasty beverages again. I was me again. My faith in Coca-Cola was restored, and it showed me, that they had never truly left me, even though they had to hurt me in the process of showing me. But, I never expected, that again, we would be heading down this dark road. I never thought that Coca-Cola would stoop that low again, especially after I have proven time and again, that yes, I am loyal. Yes. I will stay. Yes. I do love you, Coke.
But I sit here, with a tear in my eye, to tell you, that a dark day has come once again. Three little words that should have meant excitement and the potential return of an old friend have left bitter feelings of betrayal once again: Vanilla Coke Zero. At first, I thought this was a new dawn for my old friend. A new, fresh start, in a place where I could proclaim my love openly and freely again, without fear of retribution. I hoped that I could once again frolic with my long lost tasty pal, Diet Vanilla Coke, but this time, it would have a new name, and a new look; but underneath have the same heart and soul that I had fallen in love with so long ago.
When I first saw the case of Vanilla Coke Zero, I gasped. It was like seeing an old friend after years of being apart. I couldn’t speak. I just stood there, welling up with excitement; this was going to be a good day. I could feel it. It wasn’t even on sale, but that didn’t stop me. I bought a case, put it in my car, and knew I was bringing an old friend home again. When I got there, I unloaded the car, and brought my friend inside, and made it comfortable amongst the other refrigerated items. The anticipation was very high, but I knew it was going to be worth it.
Several hours later, I was finally ready to be reacquainted with my old friend, and anxiously, I reached for a can. This was the time, I thought to myself. This is it. My hand was shaking as I popped the top, and in an instant, a sweet nectar was flowing from the can.
But what I felt wasn’t relief. It wasn’t a sense of togetherness, and reunion. It was a taste I had tasted before; the bitterness of betrayal. Only, this time, there was no light at the end of the tunnel. This “replacement” was no formidable, nor acceptable, equivalent to my new friend, Diet Black Cherry Vanilla. This new stranger was no friend at all. It was all a lie.
I asked myself, where was the vanilla flavor, the flavor that had gotten me through many nights of studying in grad school? Where was the sweet deliciousness that had quenched my thirst on many a hot Atlanta summer’s eve? Where was my desire that I had been longing for all these years? And perhaps most of all, I wondered, why would Coca-Cola give me false hope that they were bringing back a first love, when it was all a lie, and to make it worse, this new “beverage” will take away the new love too? I feel so alone.
The answers I seek are tragically simple. My love is lost. Forgotten. Tossed aside, and buried. Coca-cola has truly shit on our friendship. They have shown me that loyalty does not equal trust. Loyalty will be rewarded with second-rate less-than-tasty beverages that will phase out even your new friends, the friends that helped you recover after last time. Loyalty means nothing. And that truly hurts.
I can only hope, even though it is a small amount of hope, that Coca-Cola is still working towards perfecting this recipe, and that future shipments will contain more deliciously tasty vanilla flavor; because even through the cynical callous that has become my tastebuds, I can tell that there is at least a hint of it there. They want it to be there; even the name suggests that this is so. I, of course, want it to be there too. I can only hope, that it will be in the future.
Coca-Cola, listen to me, I beg you. Please. Please do not disappoint me, after this, your second betrayal. Please, send forth an adequate replacement for my new friend, who tried its best to replace my one true love. Please, for the sake of my tasty beverage enjoyment, think of us, those that provide you with the loyalty and brand recognition you desire, and give us what we need; a tasty, calorie free, truely vanilla coke. I pray my cries will be heard. But alas, at this moment, I am bewildered, lost, and afraid. I can only hope that the future will hold good things, but only time will tell. Only you have the power to truly fix this situation, and I will just have to wait and see if you will.
Yes, only time will tell.