I recently had a déjà vu moment with my soda of choice.

This past spring when the coronavirus turned my world upside down, I told my friends that John and I would be fine as long as I had my Pepsi Zero Sugar. Part tongue-in-cheek, part serious, it’s now getting real.

It started several weeks ago when I couldn’t find half-racks of Pepsi Zero at Safeway. In retrospect, I wish I had bought the 6-pack bottles. A couple of days later, I placed a Walmart pickup order and did just that — I should have bought more.

I sent a message to my bestie, Carol Greene, telling her I was in the middle of a crisis. While she laughed, she’s well aware of my need for Pepsi. She suggested I look on Amazon (been there, done that and not willing to mortgage the house to buy and have it shipped).

Several years ago, I went through a similar panic, which I wrote about in a January 2016 column. At the time I was drinking Pepsi Next, which was taken off the market. As I mentioned then, I didn’t want to go back to the added calories of regular Pepsi and I didn’t care for the aftertaste of Diet Pepsi — that’s when I discovered Pepsi in the black can. In addition to no sugar or calories, it has twice the caffeine ... perfection!

After again finding an empty space on the shelf where my beloved black can should have been, I asked customer service at Safeway when the Pepsi distributor would be restocking the shelves. She said he had been there earlier that day and proceeded to tell me that there was an aluminum can shortage due to the pandemic. It was her understanding that Pepsi was going to concentrate on producing its primary products, which didn’t include Pepsi Zero.

As my supply dwindled, I understood the desperation that leads addicts to places they wouldn’t normally go. I donned a hazmat suit to enter Walmart in search of the elusive black can. I also went to Rite-Aid and Bi-Mart, as well as a handful of convenience stores. I finally returned to Safeway, only to find 6-packs of 7.5 ounce cans.

Who, pray tell, only drinks that small of an amount? It doesn’t even feel right in my hand. I bought them all. Before judging me, there were only five — during normal times, it would be nothing for me to buy eight or 12 half-racks when they’re on sale.

I told my husband I was likely just putting off the inevitable. It seems that eventually, I’d have to leave the dark side of the black can and make the switch to the silver Diet Pepsi can.

And then, Sunday afternoon my bestie called. Carol found four 6-packs of Pepsi Zero and did I want her to buy them. The answer was a resounding “Yes!” She told me they were on sale but I didn’t really care — even full price, it would be much cheaper than what I found on Amazon.

Carol later messaged me saying she was afraid I was in my little pool and wouldn’t answer the phone and she wouldn’t know what to do. I told her, “For future reference, always buy the 6-packs and half-racks.”

I’m OK ... for now. But if you see Pepsi in the black can, don’t hesitate to buy it and drop it off at my house — help a desperate addict in need.


Tammy Malgesini, the former Hermiston Herald community editor, enjoys spending time with her husband and two German shepherds, as well as entertaining herself with random musings.

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