I Am Going to Change the World

I am disturbed by mindless conformity to long-held traditions.  And I am determined to change them.

I am starting with a drink now unanimously referred to as “Pepsi.”

In restaurants, bars, fast-food joints and grocery stores, I have taken to  using the product’s God-given, full name:  Pepsi Cola.

It is harder than it seems.

For example, try telling the person at the Taco Bell window that you would like two “Pepsi Colas.”  And don’t just say it.  Over-enunciate each syllable for emphasis, as though the person to whom you are speaking is deaf and you are facilitating their reading of your slow-moving lips.  And wait for the response.

“You mean Pepsi?” they will ask.

Then there is a  pause while they consider the possibilities:

1) The customer I am dealing with is developmentally disabled and I should not stare.

2) The customer is from an obscure Central Asian nation and I should not stare.

3) I am not getting enough money to deal with this shithead.

While the Taco Bell employee ponders this, I, too, ponder.

I ponder all the revolutionaries that have come before me:  Jefferson, Paine, Marx, Lenin, King, Gandhi.  And I know that at that moment I am in that line of great men.

“No, no.  Not Pepsi,” I reply, pausing briefly to smile.

“Pepsi Cola.”

57 thoughts on “I Am Going to Change the World

  1. **Stands up and begins to clap**

    Take a bow, Mr. Pastis, take a bow . . . you deserve it.

    And I though I was sticking it to these punks by demanding ‘no ice’ in all my soft-drink purchases. d:

  2. Watch out. I have no faith in the literacy of youth. They probably think you mean for them to use Pepsi to flavor your “cola”, like making a cherry coke. So…if they have some other cola or make a wild guess as to what it is (“duh…is “cola” some kinda root beer?”) the nitwits will probably mix it with Pepsi for you.

  3. I will purposely ask for Pepsi in a restaurant that doesn’t serve it (for it is infinitely better than Coke) in the hopes that they’ll switch (they won’t.. Coke subsidizes most of that..) but you sir, win, sir.

  4. “I have taken to using the product’s God-given, full name.”
    “I ponder all the revolutionaries that have come before me: Jefferson, Paine, Marx, Lenin, King, Gandhi.”

    Then don’t you mean: Jefferson Airplane, Roxy Paine, Groucho Marx, John Lenin, Larry King and Mahatma Gandhi?

  5. See now … if I had a customer ask for a “Pepsi Cola” that way, I don’t think it would faze me in the least. It wouldn’t even come close to being counted among the weirdest-customer moments of my career.

  6. The same thing happens to me if I go somewhere and I say I want a Coca-Cola, instead of saying Coke.

  7. This is very dry and intellectual. This sounds like something Scott Meyers would write, oddly enough.

  8. “I ponder all the revolutionaries that have come before me: Jefferson, Paine, Marx, Lenin, King, Gandhi. And I know that at that moment I am in that line of great men.”

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I can see you in front of them at the line at Taco Bell.

  9. I drove though a Taco Bell once and ordered a “Beef Burito Supreme” with no beans. “No meat?” she responded. “No Beans” I replied. “One Beef Burito Supreme with no meat” she responded.

    I injected some clarity: “Why would I order a Beef Burito with no meat?”


    “No meat!”

    “No Frijolis” I yelled. She then responded in a fluent Spanish that was of the asumption that I spoke Spanish and for whatever reason erroneously ordered in English as opposed to Spanish.

    I ended up with a Beef Burrito Suppreme with indeed no meat and plenty of beans!

  10. I don’t know if this quaint tradition continues but in the south when I was young, you would order “coke” in a restaurant, bar, fast food joint, etc. and then they would ask you what flavor. At this point, you would reply with coke, pepsi, root beer, diet coke, etc. I support your revolution and will immediately begin ordering Diet Coca Cola or Coca Cola Zero.

  11. I thought for sure that after they asked you for Pepsi, you would utter the famous line from John Belushi’s “SNL” Greek Hamburger Stand montage– “No Pepsi!! only Coke!” Then see the Taco Bell workers’ reactions 😛

  12. Yeah… they probably spit in your drink.
    (don’t mess with the people who serve you your food)

  13. It’s always called Coke here in the Southeast. And it’s super sweet. I personally call it “pop” as to avoid any confusion, but I still get questioned. “Is Coke okay?” Whatever.

  14. Want to really mess with their heads? Insist on a Co-ca Co-la. If they say “Is Pepsi okay?” reply, “Hell no! Co-ca Co-la!” If they bring you a Pepsi, do a spit take and cry “What is this crap?!?!?” It will actually delight the Pepsico employees. Trust me.

  15. I suspect, when dealing with you at least, the answer is most often ‘C’!

    If your desire is really just to confuse the Skippy or Skippette behind the counter, then it is usually sufficient to ask for a ‘pop’ in a part of the country where it is always called a ‘soda’, or a ‘soda’ where it is always called ‘pop’. Or either of those in the bass-ackwards parts of the country where it is all called a ‘coke’.

  16. You are a stubborn cuss, ain’t chya’?
    I would have veins popping out of my head if I took on
    the monumental aspirations that you do…..
    I wish you godspeed in your quest……..

  17. I am alarmed at and confused by all the new “Pepsi” products. Diet Pepsi, Pepsi One, Pepsi Zero, and now Pepsi “Throwback”, whose chief marketing point is that it’s made with (gasp!) REAL SUGAR. You know. Like in the olden days when that’s how soda was sweetened.

    I think pretty soon if you go somewhere and order a “Pepsi-Cola” they will not even be fazed; they’ll just rattle off the list and ask you “Which one?”

    Just order a Tab instead and watch their heads explode.

  18. Haha I as a grocery store cashier definetly know the thought 3) I am not getting enough money to deal with this shithead. haha

  19. Rofl. Wonderful. I should try this, although I rarely order pop when out.

    I was talking to one of my Texan friends recently and we started discussing the name of various drinks. She said that everyone in her area refers to ANY kind of pop/soda as Coke.

    It would go like this:

    “Hey, do you want a Coke?”
    “Sure, give me a root beer.”


    Yeah, I shall never understand the way people speak.

  20. “Pepsi, Pepsi, Chees-boiger!”? – The old SNL, John Belushi skit might seem to apply. Urp.

    Q. Stephan, are you a ‘Friends’ sort of guy, on Face Book? Just wondering.

    Sent a link to today’s column to Lou Carloza / Chicago Tribune – he just got canned on Monday (sigh).


    PS Great PBS’toons, man.

    FaceBook: Paul Mick (Jamison, PA)

  21. It doesn’t matter what you order at Taco Bell, they’ll likely get the order wrong, anyway.

    I’ve never ONCE gotten the order I placed at a Taco Bell. Never? Never. Ever.

    I wouldn’t even DREAM of asking for a Pepsi Cola, it might cause a collapse of the space time continuum.

  22. I seemed to thoroughly confuse a man working at KFC yesterday by wanting something WITHOUT fries.
    Perhaps it is a more shocking concept that I realised.

  23. Mr Pastis, you are the embodiment of “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.” Hamlet quote (Act II, Scene II).

  24. Well done! I shall join in this crusade!

    As a side note, option C is the general sentiment of NotAlwaysRight.com . I have wasted many hours reading through their entire archive, but some of the stories are hilarious and well worth it!

  25. I used to work with a lady who said Pepsi Cola. The way she said it rhymed with Pensacola. There was no “see” involved. I saw an ad during last night’s “30 Rock” for something called Pepsi Throwback. It’s basically Pepsi made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. I wholeheartedly support this development!

  26. Someone behind the counter will eventually say, “Hang on a minute” and go check with a co-worker as to what you REALLY want. Someday, you’ll get to talk to the 21 year old manager who will be totally confused as well.
    Then you will have completed your mission at one fast food restaurant. Millions and millions more to go until they put your picture up in all of one chain with the caption DO NOT SERVE TO THIS MAN!!

  27. This is the sort of behaviour we should applaud. In far too many places of work and entertainment, we allow these punks to determine the nomenclature of the items we hold most dearest.

    Vote with your hearts and minds, but most of all with your lips as you live your day-to-day lives.

    Proudly set forth and ask for Bavarian Motor-Works cars, Always-late-in-takeoff-always-late-in-arrival flights and Pastis-Before-Stefan comics!

    U T

  28. I once asked for a cheeseburger without the meat at Burger King, but despite my request, a piece of meat was stuffed in the bun and cheese as I recieved my order. I should have been furious, but the burger did look a little better than just a piece of cheese in a bun, so I ate it without any complaint.

  29. You may call it ‘Pepsi Cola’, but I believe it was the Great Burk Breathed that referred to it as ‘malted battery acid’.

  30. permision to clap sir, you are a good man sir. can i firebom the jhonsons sir?

  31. You are completely insane. I don’t know what planet you live on. Pepsi Cola? If you had any sense of shame or decency, you would order my soft drink of choice:

    Tab Cola.

  32. One of my friend, when in the drive-through lane, after giving her order, always carefully enunciates, “Oh, and I want that to GO, please.”

    I think I will start asking for “Dietetic Coca-Cola” from now on; and if told, “we don’t have Diet Coke, is a Diet Pepsi ok?” will reply, “In that case, please give me a Dietetic Pepsi-Cola, please.” (Remember, politeness does count in the long run; remember what happens to the rude in the world of Hannibal Lector.)

  33. I for one used to enjoy going to McDonalds and ordering a burger, no meat.
    Ah it was fun to watch their little eyebrows crease as they stared at the till. Then asked a co-worker “Is there a no meat button??” “How do we charge for no meat?!” Simple, Charge me for the freaking burger I order and tell the kid making it “Don’t put meat on that one” Aahh it normally took them 5 minutes to figure it out. I haven’t done that in years since I stopped going to McD’s.

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