Coca-Cola won’t #shareacoke with Chuck Miller

True statement.  I have enjoyed Coca-Cola products for decades.  Right now Diet Coke is my drink of choice, but I used to love regular Coke, the “new and improved” Coke, and the various flavored Cokes – Cherry Coke, Diet Coke Lime, etc., etc.

And when Coca-Cola announced their “share a Coke” promotion, where millions of bottles of the sweet beverage had people’s names printed on them, I was kinda excited about the possibility of finding my name among all the bottles.

And last year, I looked for my name on a bottle of Coke.

And looked.

And looked.

Nothing.  I found my friends’ names, I found ex-girlfriends’ names, I found my ex-wives’ names.  And nothing.  Heck, my daughter’s name is listed in three different spelling variations (Cassandra, Cassie, Cass), even though her birth name is Cassaundra. Double heck, I can even find Kris, which means there’s a fourth variation of her name.

I even looked online at – no luck finding a Chuck.  There was a “Charles,” but come on… that’s not what I’m looking for.  I’ve blogged in the past about why I prefer “Chuck” to “Charles” or “Charlie,” and if Coca-Cola can put different variations and spelling iterations on different names, surely they can find a second to place a five-letter name on a freakin’ plastic bottle of soda.

Okay, maybe “Chuck” isn’t that common a name that Coca-Cola could spend a few seconds to print it on a bottle.

And then came 2015.  More names.  More variations.  More this and more that.

But no Chucks.  I could search through every single grocery store and mini-mart in the area, and the soda racks would be Chuck-free.

And then came the capper.

Yesterday.  Thirst is kicking in.  A few coins in the soda machine.  A nice cold Diet Coke will make me feel better –

and this bottle came out.

Her?  Of all the people in the world … Kristi Gustafson Barlette gets a Coca-Cola bottle?  The woman who, if I ever got hit by a truck, would only feel regret that she wasn’t behind the wheel with her Jimmy Choo flooring the accelerator?

Wow.  Just freakin’ wow.

I get it.  The #shareacoke hashtag.  Find your bottle with your name on it.  Share it with your special someone.

And yet nobody could ever #shareacoke with me… because there are no bottles branded “Chuck” out there.

So what are you saying, Coca-Cola?  Are you saying that everybody can be inclusive in your happy little promotion – except me?

And I’m speaking for all the Chucks out there – Chuck Mangione, Chuck Connors, former Albany Patroon Chuck Nevitt (the Human Victory Cigar), the Chuck E. that Rickie Lee Jones sang about – why do you exclude us?

It’s frustrating.  I look through bottle after bottle on the store shelves.  No Chucks.  And every time my search proves fruitless, I feel once again like the kid who was picked last for fifth grade kickball – and then told to sit on the sidelines because they had two nine-player teams and they didn’t want one squad having an extra player.

I get it, Coca-Cola.  I’d have better luck finding a “Share a Coke with Pepsi” bottle than I would of finding a bottle with my name on it.

What’s the big deal?  Are you guys upset that I actually used a photograph of one of your old 100-year-old ghost signs to win a photography award four years ago at the New York State Fair?

Coca-Cola Relieves Fatigue 5 cents - Schenectady, N.Y. - sprocket hole and layered film
Coca-Cola Relieves Fatigue, Sold Everywhere 5c. Holga 120N camera, Fuji 200 film (two rolls, one flipped in redscale). Photo by Chuck Miller.

What’s the deal?  Did this picture upset you so much that you chose to take it out on me five years later by excluding me from your #shareacoke promotion?


And I know that at the Share a Coke website, there is the option to “purchase” your name on an 8-ounce bottle of Coke for $5/bottle.  In other words, what you’re saying is, “We won’t have your name on a Coke bottle in stores, but if you send us about five times what a bottle is worth in the store, we’ll print you a mini-bottle with your name if it makes you happy.”  Another case of marginalization with monetization.

Yeah.  Your #shareacoke promotion just makes me feel – once again in my life – on the outside looking in.

Thanks, Coca-Cola, for joining the long list of people and family members and bullies and griefers and faceless, nameless businesses who make me feel lower than the bottom of a carpet pad.

Hey, maybe I should just get a medical degree and change my last name to Pepper, and then I could have my name on millions of bottles of soda?  Sure, that would work, right?

I guess that old commercial about having a Coke and a smile isn’t working for me right now.  The pause that refreshes.  Things go better with Coke.

Maybe for everybody else in the world.

Thanks, Coca-Cola, for reinforcing the ABC’s of my life.  When it comes to your product, ABC stands for “Share a Coke with Anybody But Chuck.”

Yeah, #shareacoke indeed.

PLEASE NOTE: The preceding blog post is written as satire, and should be taken in such manner.