Kenya, Rants

The Big, Bad Coca Cola Man

If you own a restaurant or store and you’re planning to sell cold drinks, Coca Cola will give you a free refrigerator. I guess it’s a good deal but there’s one condition: you can only stock Coca Cola products in the fridge. Sure, Coca Cola’s product line includes something for everyone (even water, Dasani!), but don’t even think about sticking a 7-up or a left-over hamburger in there, man! I’ve been paying attention for a few weeks now and I can’t remember seeing this rule violated. Certainly, the little store at our college has a small fridge and you’d never catch us stocking it with anything but Coca Cola products. The same goes for all the cafes I frequent in Tala.

I wonder what the consequence is if you get caught with an Alvaro (soda from East African Breweries), a Red Bull, or a 7-up in your Coca Cola fridge? Who knows, but it cracks me up to think about the plethora of laws broken every day all over Kenya. To name a few:

  • Urinating in public (possibly even on the “No Peeing” sign)
  • Littering! (usually next to the “Keep Kenya Clean” sign)
  • Smoking in public (yes, it’s illegal)
  • Carrying extra passengers in matatus (public transport vehicles)
  • Bribing police

It’s pretty comical, but is the Coca Cola man really that scary? Could an encounter with the big, bad Coca Cola man be worse than a fine for peeing on a wall? What about being sent to jail for stealing (or worse, mob justice)?

3 Comments to “The Big, Bad Coca Cola Man”

  1. Wow… good timing on the post about Coca Cola… we just discussed that in my International Nutrition class this week. There’s a really good article you should read.

    Coca-colonization of diets in the Yucatan (I’ll send it to you)

    Makes me think, if one day tourism stopped or slowed, would Mayans be able to go back to their traditional diets, or have they lost it forever?

    Americans are the most influential tourists that are causing this problem. The Maya are simply being used and when they are no longer needed they will have nothing, not even their own traditional values.

    They will be a non-functional, unstable society with not even their culture to hold onto for identity… reminds me of the Native American tribes.

  2. Elizabeth Kerr

    Hey- stumbled on your blog while in Tanzania. They’ve got the same policy over here and I witnessed the consequences of adding old chapati (non-Dasani) water and oranges to your Coca-cola fridge. The ‘man’ came to reclaim the coca cola fridge from the vendor at one of my favorite dukas. I am just interested to know what surveillance mechanism is in place.

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