Lileks @ Lunch Logo


Lileks @ Lunch

James Lileks writes about everything - except sports and gardening

Jack-Booted Pepsi Salesmen

Saddest soda maker in the world gets a reason to live:

“I remember, I asked one guy to make Bubble Up and he said, ‘Why do you want it? Nobody’s gonna buy it.’ I just told him ‘If I don’t have it on my shelf, you’re right, nobody is ever going to buy it.’” It sold well and continues to sell at Galco’s.

What's the context? This. A guy has a small grocery store in LA that sells boutique sodas. Artisanal pop. Old brands, forgotten brands. If you peer at the picture you can make out some brands you might miss, like Nesbitt. There used to be hundreds of brands in the US, as local bottlers came up with variations on the old favorites. (So many Seven-Up knock-offs. Or all things to copy, they had to give us another Lemon-Lime.) (Like Bubble-up, to be honest.) Antique stores still have some old bottles, and I've collected a few over the years. No idea what "Dream" tasted like.

I bring this up to show how the world looks when you see things though a particular lens. Here's how Digg described the story:

"How One Soda Shop Owner Took On Big Cola When Pepsi tried to stiff-arm this shop owner into buying it's overpriced sugar water, he decided to stock his shelves with something out of the ordinary."

New York Times story:

A turning point came when a Pepsi retailer visited the store. The salesman waltzed in promising the best price on a pallet of Pepsi, but Nese would only make $30 from the hundreds of sodas and he’d have to charge customers more than they’d pay at a chain store. When he said he wasn’t interested, the salesman just laughed and insisted that customers would demand Pepsi. It seemed like the beginning of the end, and Nese was devastated. “Then, suddenly, I realized I oughta thank Pepsi Cola for reminding me that I own my shelf space, they don’t,” he says. “So I went out looking and found 25 little brands of soda by independent bottlers.”

Some scary strong-arming there. Take that, Big Cola!

Here's another lost brand. 

Bonus: 25 discontinued drinks that should come back.

Yours Truly, Sarah Pilin

Apple Music is due for improvement:

Apple Inc. is planning sweeping changes to its year-old music streaming service after the first iteration of the product was met with tepid reviews and several executives brought in to revive the company's music strategy departed. Apple is altering the user interface of Apple Music to make it more intuitive to use, according to people familiar with the product who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service, the people said.

Good, because it's horrible. Key quote: “When it comes to software, Apple performs with less elegance than it does when it comes to hardware,” said Colin Gillis, a New York-based BGC Partners analyst.

Then there's the little problem of deleting all your music.

“The software is functioning as intended,” said Amber. “Wait,” I asked, “so it’s supposed to delete my personal files from my internal hard drive without asking my permission?” “Yes,” she replied.

The minute I learned Apple scanned your iTunes library then provided versions from its own scanners for online streaming, I thought: nope. Here's the thing:

If Apple Music saw a file it didn’t recognize—which came up often, since I’m a freelance composer and have many music files that I created myself—it would then download it to Apple’s database, delete it from my hard drive, and serve it back to me when I wanted to listen.

It's that last part I don't understand. I mean, I do, but why? Why take it off my computer? I know we're moving into a wonderful world where it doesn't matter where your data is, only how quickly you can access it, but for some of us belt / suspenders types reliance on the Cloud, on letting someone else handle it for you, is a lousy idea.

In related lousy ideas, this was my favorite phishing attempting this week . . .

Do the needful! Anyway, that was my favorite, until this one. 

They're not even trying anymore.