Can I Get You a Soda … er … Pop … er … ?!?!

Can I Get You a Soda ... er ... Pop ... er ... ?!?!

Being from suburban Boston, I was surprised when I went to school in upstate NY and befriended some kids from outside of Pittsburgh PA and found that not everyone wanted a ‘soda’ … some wanted a ‘pop’. Later on, when traveling to the deep south for my first job I was asked if I wanted a ‘coke’ (or sweet tea, of course), to which I asked if they had Diet Coke. I was told they had all sorts of coke, including Pepsi, Orange, Root Beer … you get the picture. Fact is, where you are from will determine what generic name you give to soft drinks … and conversely hearing someone refer to soft drinks can indicate where they are from.

A site called ‘Pop vs Soda’ is trying to generate a nationwide chart that maps out our term of choice based on where we grew up. Here are the basics of how they are collecting information:

The primary source of data for this study will be submissions from readers of this web page. Obviously, this may not be a completely random sampling, but since the primary objective of the study is to map the regional distribution and not the population distribution per response, this sample should suffice. Also, since a large percentage of internet users are college students who may use dialects not local to their current place of residence, this survey asks for the respondent’s “home town” and the beverage-term used by most of the population there. This data will be imperfect at best, but should be the most accurate possible without actually going into the field, and certainly the most comprehensive study of the field to date.

They have a nice interactive version of the map above and you can click state by state to see how your particular county answered the poll. For me, I grew up in Norfolk County in Massachusetts, which was almost monolithically a soda region. Now I live in New York in Chemung County and work in Steuben County … and each of those were pretty evenly split, with a slight leaning towards pop.

Head on over to to contribute your information! And while you’re at it, have a soda for me!

Source: via Twitter

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

5 Comments on "Can I Get You a Soda … er … Pop … er … ?!?!"

  1. To a Yankee visiting the south, it can be a little confusing to say, “Coke, please,” and be asked, “What kind?” and have the “kinds” range from Pepsi to root beer to sprite.

  2. This is awesome. It's all "Coke" in the south. RT @GearDiarySite: Can I Get You a Soda … er … Pop … er … ?!?!

  3. It’s always intriguing to see how people from outside the South categorize us.

    I’ve lived in a rural section of North Carolina for 44 years where I’ve ordered Cokes thousands of times, plus I’ve traveled over a number of other states in the South. I have yet to have a waitress think I might possibly want a Sprite or a root beer when ordering a Coke.

    How does this explain the results of the survey? Well, we don’t call it “pop” and we don’t call it “soda” and “coke” and “other” are the only other options offered in the survey. Because it’s suggested and most Southerners can’t think of any other generic term, they pick “coke.” That’s my theory, anyway.

    We (or I, at least) actually tend to be specific when ordering. I don’t think we have a generic term, at least not currently.

    Restaurants typically serve Coke products or Pepsi products, but not both. If I order a Coke or a Diet Coke in a restaurant that only offers Pepsi, the next line is not “what kind?,” it’s “is Pepsi OK?” Some customers will be offended if they’re served a Pepsi when they ordered Coke and vice versa.

    There actually was a uniquely Southern catchall term for carbonated beverages a number of years ago. Carbonated beverages were called “sody dopes” or simply “dopes.” That term is inspired by one of the original nineteenth century Coca-Cola’s ingredients, cocaine, but it was common to call anything with carbonation a “dope” 20-30 years ago. The term “dope wagon” was used to describe the trucks that delivered drinks of all sorts.

  4. Funny true story…

    In the early 1980s, my mother attended a class at the local community college. Two of her classmates included an older man who had previously suffered five heart attacks and a stroke and a “Yankee” woman (which in the South means anyone from “up North”). The stroke had caused the man’s speech to become slurred. One night before class, he looked at the professor and drawled, “Did they install that dope machine yet?”

    My mother said the Yankee woman had a horrified look on her face.

  5. Can I Get You a Soda … er … Pop … er … ?!?!

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