Check out the pop cans in North Carolina!

January 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Posted in Hockey, Random | 19 Comments

Last month, I was captivated by a great post on the Fleer Sticker Project blog about oddball sports cards and sports-related items that could be found at the grocery store in the 1970s.  I was only alive for final few months of the 1970s, so I don’t remember the decade at all, but the post was so well-written that it was like taking a trip back in time to that great era.

One of the items mentioned in that post was RC Cola cans that featured images of baseball and football players.  This was fresh in my mind when I made a trip to my neighborhood Harris Teeter (a ubiquitous North Carolina grocery chain) earlier this week and picked up some 12-packs of pop that were on sale buy-one-get-one-free.  I picked up some Diet Pepsi for me and Diet Mountain Dew for my wife.

When I got home and loaded the cans into the refrigerator, I noticed something awesome.  The cans have pictures and facsimile signatures of Carolina Hurricanes hockey players!  You can see my favorite player, Eric Staal, on the Diet Pepsi can and Ray Whitney on the Diet Mountain Dew:


This was a wonderful and unexpected surprise after reading about the RC Cola cans on Fleer Sticker Project.  I assume that these cans are only available in the Triangle (Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill) area in North Carolina.  I’m curious if anyone else in other parts of the country has seen athletes pictured on cans of pop recently.  If you have, I encourage you to take a picture and post it on your blog!

Another question: who calls it pop and who calls it “soda”?  This was always a huge debate when I was in school at Penn State.  The kids from Western Pennsylvania, Western New York (where I’m from), and the Midwest rightfully called it pop, while the kids from Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the New York City area, and New England misguidedly called it “soda”.  My wife used to call it “soda”, but I’ve trained her to say pop instead.  There’s no way that I could’ve married someone who calls it “soda”!  She grew up in North Carolina, so I think that’s what most people here call it.  But there are so many transplants from other parts of the country around here that I know a lot of people here who call it pop too.  So what do you call the carbonated beverages in your part of the country, pop or “soda”?



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  1. AAAHHHHH It’s SODA!! SODA SODA SODA!!! Pop? WTF is Pop? When I read the title of your article I thought you were talking about cans with pop tops like the old Ballentine pulltab beer cans. It’s soda says the man from New Jersey.

    Back around 1993 I had a can of RC Cola that had a Yankee pennant around the top of the can. I don’t recall anything with players on it though.

    Do you remember when Pinnacle cards came in a can? I still have an opened Jeter and Pettitte can.

  2. Yep, I have a Devil Rays Pinnacle can from 1998!

  3. Soda, I believe is an eastern thing. I experienced the same thing in New York State. Western New York calls it “pop,” but I grew up in Binghamton, which is in central New York, and we called it “soda.” So there must be some sort of invisible line cutting through New York and Pennsylvania in which one side calls it pop and one side calls it soda. I believe if you go further west, out to Ohio, etc., they call it “pop.”

    Personally, I like “pop” better, even though I live in central New York now and call it “soda.” You really get weird, sometimes angry looks if you’re in, say Buffalo, and you call it “soda.”

  4. In Canada, its pretty much universally ‘pop’.

  5. The old soda vs pop was a favorite in college. Along with bubbler vs water fountain, sub vs hoagie vs hero and sprinkles vs jimmies. For the record, I’m a soda, fountain, sub, jimmies guy.

  6. Yeah, subs vs. hoagies was another big one at Penn State. I thought that the guys from Philly were just trying to be funny when I first heard the word “hoagies”.

    I’ve never heard of “bubbler” or “jimmies” before now though. Where are those words used?

  7. When I first moved to Southern New Jersey, I went to get ice cream. This was the conversation.

    Me: Let me get vanilla in a cup.
    Ice Cream lady: Do you want Jimmies?
    Me: What?
    ICL: Jimmies. Do you want Jimmies?
    Me: What?
    ICL: Ji-miiies.
    Me: What the hell are Jimmies?
    ICL: Those (she points to the sprinkles bin).
    Me: Oh. Yeah, I love sprinkles.

    I’m from New York, right outside of the city, only two hours from my current location.

  8. In Atlanta EVERYTHING is Coke. Sprite, Root Beer, Orange, Ginger Ale, Pepsi… it’s all Coke. I usually switch between Coke and soda to be honest depending on the situation. For example, I’ll pick up some Cokes from the store, but if someone’s visiting and all we have is Root Beer I’ll ask if they want a soda.

    There’s a web page somewhere with a map of the US marked by which regions say soda/pop/ Coke etc. I’ll have to look for it.

    Coke/Soda fountain sub sprinkles here.

  9. Found it!

  10. My 3 year hiatus in North Carolina has left my wife and I calling it “Soda”. When we said “pop” we got blank stares in Durham, so we made the transition. Now I am back in Minnesota and we still call it Soda and that has led to some problem, like when I ordered Soda from the bar at my brother-in-law’s wedding and the guy gave me “Club Soda”….whoops.

    We only go with Soda.

  11. Thanks for the kind words about my post on collecting at the grocery store. Its great to see that there there are still collecting opportunities related to drinking “soda”.

    I grew up in Maryland and we called it soda. I’m now in TN and everyone says Coke.

    Thanks again for mentioning my post, and I wanted to let you know I’ve added a link to your blog.

  12. You’re welcome, Fleer Fan – it was a great post. I added a link to you too, even though you are one of them (by that I mean “soda” people).

  13. I think most of the South calls it Coke. In DE, its either Coke or soda. Same thing in VA. I went to college in Elmira, NY and that’s right on the imaginary line, so there was quite a bit of argument over this topic. Nothing ever gets resolved.

  14. Ah… regional dialect. It’s led to some interesting convo’s at our house. I’m a Southern girl and Pete’s a Jersey boy so you can imagine. Some examples of words we have debated…

    buggy vs. cart
    sprinkles vs. jimmies
    pasta sauce vs. gravy
    bath vs. shower
    SUV vs. truck

    But for the record, growing up we called it “soda-pop” thanks to my dad. Yeah, we were too cool to just say one. But I tend to stick with soda these days though. :o)

  15. As an English guy from Quebec (yes there are a few), I call ’em soft drinks.

  16. I’m from NJ originally. I never heard anyone say pop until I came out to AZ. I also never referred to sprinkles as “Jimmies” either. It also disgusts me that I can’t get a pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich anywhere other than “Joizey.” 😦

  17. Pop, Pop, Pop. I from Chicago, and if you order soda here, you’re gonna get clear, carbonated water. I lived about 20 minutes from where Dave is for 10 yrs or so. I absolutely refused to use the word Soda, which led to many blank stares in restaurants, and numerous debates with my southern relatives. I didn’t care, it’s called POP!

    Pop, sub, shower, gravy, truck, sprinkles.

    I’ve NEVER heard of jimmies. A Jimmy is a Truck that used to be made by GMC.

    And what, by all that is holy, is a “pork roll”?

  18. In california I think it’s soda more than pop, but I think in restaraunts people will just order a “coke” and it’s pretty much understood. It’s not uncommon for the waitress to ask “Is Pepsi OK”? Nobody cares.
    I was driving from New Mexico to California last summer and at a fast food restaraunt I heard somebody ask for a pop. It was probably the first time in 20 years I’ve heard it refered to as that. It was VERY out of the ordinary for me.

  19. I use the word pop..I’m from Michigan, and I feel like I have to use the word pop. When my relatives first came from Georgia and heard me say pop..I got some pretty strange looks. Honestly, I think soda sounds weird. I like pop better. It’s shorter and just has an edge to it.

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