Conspiracy State University
“One Sunday morning, I had a taste for lemon-lime soda,” Cleveland State University student Carlo Puskas told The Theorist, “I went down to the Euclid Commons vending machine, where there is usually Mountain Dew Ice, but all of the sudden it was replaced with Mountain Dew Zero.”
This came as a shock to Puskas and many others. A newcomer to the lemon-lime game, having only debuted in 2018, Mountain Dew Ice was far from a perfect substitute for any of the staple three lemon-lime beverages, but its removal still left lemon-lime lovers wondering what to do.
This shocking discovery sparked an investigation of 21 vending machines across campus, revealing there were only two machines still containing lemon-lime soda, one of which was sold out. Furthermore, an advertisement at the Viking Marketplace features a bottle of Sierra Mist front and center, promoting a deal at five different dining locations. However, not a single one had the endangered soda.
It is clear that there is something suspicious afoot at Cleveland State, and my investigative team and I have made the difficult decision to leave the location of the lone vending machine, the last bastion of lemon-lime, a closely guarded secret. Everyday, we live in fear that the university will finish what they started: the destruction of generations of lemon-lime tradition.
The promotion of Mountain Dew Ice was my first theory to explain the lack of Sierra Mist, both being PepsiCo properties. However, Sierra Mist did not make a return. Rather, its place in the vending machines went to Mountain Dew Zero. In one vending machine, the label for Mountain Dew Ice is still barely visible, with “Mountain Dew Zero” written over it in pen. This chilling fact, discovered by concerned student Jake Wrege, shows the abruptness with which the last of our lemon-lime options was ousted from its rightful place.
I toiled for hours, trying to come up with a possible motive. Why would anyone want to deprive us of this soda staple? I knew I had to follow the money. I turned to advertising dollars, where I found that the very same day the disappearance of Mountain Dew Ice was discovered, PepsiCo poured over $5.6 million into advertising Mountain Dew Zero.
Super Bowl Sunday marked the beginning of a lemon-lime-less period on campus, with an indefinite end. Mountain Dew Ice was just a fad, and even worse, Sierra Mist was just an afterthought to PepsiCo.
Many secrets of Big Soda and Harlan Sands’ relationship remain a mystery, but I recommend anyone feeling angry about this injustice head over to Chili’s, the savior of CSU Dining, to enjoy Sierra Mist both in bottles and in the fountain. A special shout-out to Chili’s, your unintentional efforts to keep lemon-lime alive on campus have not gone unnoticed.