43 Comments

  1. This was part of a stand-up comic’s routine from years back, as I recall

    Waitress: “What would you like to drink?”
    Customer: “Coke please.”
    Waitress: “Is Pepsi OK?”
    Customer: “Is Monopoly Money OK?”

  2. I believe the cartoonist is too young to know about Coca-Cola suing Howard Johnson for serving customers HoJo Cola when the ask for Coke. Coke being a registered trademark. That lawsuit is why restaurants today have to inform the customers when they are served a cola other than Coke.

  3. I’m not sure it’s a slam on Pepsi (although it could be), but just a joke that since he accepts substitutions, she should as well.

    I’m impressed that as soon as he finishes asking for a Coke, she’s already brought out a Pepsi to offer.

  4. I think winter wallaby has it. You ask for something specific and they blithely ask you if something else is okay instead with the absolute conviction that you are being unreasonable for actually wanting what you asked for.

    Except… there’s an effing menu right *there* and it presumably lists Pepsi and you can read it and see that it doesn’t list Coca-Cola. Now only an eyehole would order Trout Almondine without bothering to read the menu or after reading the menu and seeing it *isn’t* there, so what kind of person would order a Coke when it is specifically *not* on the menu and be offended when the waitress offers an alternative.

    And what do we *want* the waitress to do? “I’d like a coke, please”. “Sorry, we don’t have any coca-cola.” “oh…” (waitress is utterly mute) “Do you have anything like a coke?” “I dunno, we have orange juice and potato chips; those are both things you put in your mouth; is that close enough” “well, no, but do you have any soft drinks– hopefully a cola? A royal crown or a pepsi?” “Yeah, we have pepsi.” “Well, why didn’t you suggest a pepsi?” “You didn’t ask.”

    And you can always say “No, I’m sorry… I really wanted a Coke. Oh well”. Actually the sgnother *does* do that. She likes diet Coke but not any other cola. So…. when she orders she asks “Do you have Diet Coke, not Pepsi?” And if they don’t they usually say either “We have Diet Pepsi” or “Oh, we have regular coke” and she always “In that case, no thank, you I’ll have a root beer if you have it, or water if you don’t” And they say “Are you sure, we have diet Pepsi” and she says “I’m sure. Thank you for your concern though”. And things usually go …. well.

  5. Yeah, the analogy here (and in the joke mentioned by Catelli) really doesn’t work.If he’d offered her Euros or pounds or something, it still wouldn’t be funny, but it would at least make sense.

    @Kevin: Is that what was behind the very early SNL series of skits with John Belushi (No coke. Pepsi.)? Restaurants having to openly say what variety of cola they have makes sense as the foundation for a joke. They never really worked for me at all as a kid, but I wouldn’t have known about any new rule in that area.

  6. DemetriosX: “coke” is a generic in common usage in the South, but do most restaurants treat it as a generic? I would have assumed that they didn’t, for the reasons given in Kevin’s comment above.

  7. As I recall, Belushi’s “No Coke! Pepsi!” pre-dated waiters being instructed to advised the customer: the point of the sketch was that the diner only let you order Pepsi and cheeseburgers.

  8. Well, if “coke” means soft drink then it seems if you ask for a “coke” you’d specify which one. “I’d like an orange coke” or you’d answer “Would you like a coke” with “Yes, I’ll have a seven-up”. I imagine if a customer asked for “a coke” the waitress would assume a cola. Or maybe we’d have a wierd “I’d like a coke” “Sure, we have orange, seven-up, root beer, and coke; which one do you want?”.

    I would assume.

    I think the Belushi skit was just absurdism.

  9. @WW: I first learned of that odd little regionalism from Jeff Foxworthy. If I remember rightly, he wrapped that bit up imagining someone ordering a coke and, when the waitress asks what kind, replies “Orange”. Of course, in Foxworthy’s world, the only kind of cola would be RC.

  10. “I think the Belushi skit was just absurdism.”

    Just the opposite… it was based on a real place near the studio.

  11. All kinds of people order drinks without looking at the menu. Often, the server shows up and takes drink orders right away, then distributes menus. So it’s perfectly reasonable that one would not know what brand of soft drink is offered at a particular establishment. Apparently I’m not very discriminating when it comes to colas. I’m told there is a distinct difference between Coke and Pepsi, but I can’t really tell. So I drink whatever is available. Often that ends up being water, because I object to paying three dollars or more for a beverage that costs the restaurant maybe ten cents. And my doctor and dentist agree that water is better for me anyway, so this is one time that my essential cheapness (I prefer to think of myself as frugal 🙂 ) works out better for me healthwise.

  12. The SNL skit was based on a real place in Chicago called the Billy Goat Tavern. The real owner supposedly put a curse on the Cubs after he was kicked out of Wrigley Field for bringing a goat into the stadium. The Cubs finally “broke” the curse in 2016 by winning the World Series.

  13. I have an Alabaman SIL who refers to Coca-Cola as her ‘medicine’. Whatever that means, altho perhaps it refers back to when Coca-Cola actually had cocaine in it? She isn’t that old, tho, so it’s probably something she picked up in her area.

  14. There is a difference in taste between Pepsi and Coke, and I know some people who will only drink one or the other, especially the diet versions. Personally, if I’m drinking straight from the can, I prefer Pepsi, but from a fountain I usually prefer Coke. I can’t really explain why. (And I don’t care what they say, Coke from a Freestyle machine does _not_ taste the same as Coke from a soda fountain.)

    However, just because there is a menu does not mean that you should know which they serve. I have been to several places where it’s not listed on the menu, so you have to guess. And if you guess wrong, the server will ask if the other drink is ok.

  15. DanV

    True. My point is if you want a Coke and definitely not a Pepsi you should look at the menu. If you don’t you don’t have any right to claim the waitress is at fault for asking you if Pepsi is okay. And if Pepsi *isn’t* okay then…. just say so. It’s not the waitress’ fault for offering an alternative.

    “Just the opposite… it was based on a real place near the studio.”

    That doesn’t mean the skit isn’t absurdism.

  16. There’s definitely a difference, and there are some foods I prefer with one and some with the other (which is easily as valid as the red/white wine thing).

    In a restaurant, I’ll ask for “Coke or Pepsi,” just to make life easier. Which backfired last month when I was told “We don’t have Coke OR Pepsi.”

    Which I thought was odd, until I checked out the menu and saw they had “RC Cola.” You’d think the waitress would have mentioned that, but apparently you would be wrong.

  17. The whole trademark issue could really be a time bomb in places where everyone uses “coke” as a generic slang word for any and all soda pop.
    “You want a coke?”
    “Yeah.”
    “What kind?”
    “Dr. Pepper.”

  18. Well, according to this linked article, “coke’ is often used in parts of the US as a generic term for soda/pop.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_soft_drinks_in_the_United_States

    “…At many restaurants in the U.S., the products of only a single major beverage producer, such as The Coca-Cola Company or PepsiCo, are available. While most patrons requesting a “coke” may be truly indifferent as to which cola brand they receive, the careful server will confirm intent with a question like “Is Pepsi OK?”…”

  19. @ Grawlix – Check out the link to the map that User McUser hid in the middle of this thread (@13). I really wish we stll had numbered comments.

  20. A lot of Coke drinkers would consider Pepsi such a poor substitute as to be on the level of phony bills. (Some Pepsi drinkers would consider Coke such, as well, but the Coke drinkers are much more vocal about it, if not actually more widespread.)

  21. @Wendy: So they really do offer “chips” but no “fries.” But, startlingly, their soda pop offerings are listed only as “fountain drinks” and not spelled out as to variety thereof, which relates back to earlier comments here about how people should “read the menu” before assuming a given cafe offers Coke or Pepsi or both or neither. . .

    “Ah, I see you sell Fountain Drinks. I’d like a large glass from the Fountain of Youth, please.”

  22. You can usually see the fountain, which has the drinks’ logos (or occasionally a handwritten sign)…and frequently, nowadays are just given a cup and allowed to go at it, so fountain drinks would get past the issue.

  23. The Pop vs. Soda map has always been interesting. I have never heard a good reason why St.Louis became this soda “island” surrounded by other terms.

  24. There’s a local company, The Billy Goat Chip Co. that’s been in a trademark wrangle with the restaurant.

  25. Brian in STL: The same reason that we St. Louisins pronounce “Missouri” correctly. To distinguish ourselves from those uncultured hicks in rural Missouruh. 😉

  26. I really like the generic cola that was sold in places that didn’t carry Coke or Pepsi. It was called “HoJo Cola” or “Friendly Cola” or whatever the restaurant’s name was. I guess all those restaurants went over to Coke and Pepsi by now. I wonder where I can get the good stuff.

  27. I prefer Coke to Pepsi and Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi – but whatever they have, they have. Well, a smorgasbord restaurant in East Earl, PA (Lancaster area, East Earl is just east of Blue Ball) had for the longest time Coke and Pepsi. In their original restaurant one of the two buffet lines had a Coke machine and the other side had a Pepsi machine. Since one could stand in line for over an hour on a popular night, they built a new much larger (and fancier) restaurant. They still had 2, much larger lines, and Coke and Pepsi were on both lines, but the third beverage area only had Pepsi. Then about 2 years ago they got rid of the Coke machines.

  28. Pepsi used to (still does?) have a diet soda named Slice – it was the equivalent of Coke’s Sprite. Problem was that one could not order “Slice” without instead ordering Sprite, having the waitress say that they had “Slice” instead and saying okay. Why? “I would like a Slice.” “Slice of what?” Why name a product that one cannot order without ordering one’s competitor’s product and then the customer agrees to take your product instead.

  29. When I was in Dallas in the mid 1970s one did not say “Coke” or one would get stares from the waitperson,so I am surprised to hear (before now) that all soda in the south,including Texas, is called coke. The reason we were told not to order Coke was that Dallas was the home of Dr. Pepper.

    When in New Bern, NC we did not find a similar problem despite it being the home of Pepsi. (I am hoping that the Pepsi pharmacy (soda shop?) and the colonial era “Tryon Palace” (the then govenor’s home) were not destroyed by the flooding there. – Although I feel horrible about anything damaged or destroyed by same.)

  30. Slice is long gone. The current version from Pepsi (anyone remember Teem?) is Sierra Mist.

  31. @ Brian in StL – I really liked Teem, but I have not seen it since I was a kid.
    P.S. For those who didn’t get Olivier’s joke, the German word “Mist” means “dung”.

  32. But at least one can order a Sierra Mist without having to order a Coca cola product – Sprite, then have the waitperson say that they don’t have same, they have Slice and then you order that, which is what intended to order as they knew that was what the place had, but if one ordered a Slice, one would be asked Slice of what – Slice was obviously a bad choice of names as one could not order same without ordering the competing soda or a song and dance to get the server to understand.

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