Kenyans drink a lot of Coca Cola. You can get Pepsi in the fancier stores if you really want it, but I don’t think many Kenyans have ever tried it, haha. I was never a really big soda drinker, but there’s something about having a cold Coke with Mama Oliech’s fried tilapia and ugali (a thick porridge made from maize)! What I didn’t realize until recently was that Kenyan Coke is much like Mexican Coke.
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)?