Big government, big corporations, corn syrup, and Galco’s Soda Pop Stop

July 16, 2011 – 10:48 am by John

This video seems to be popular with the kids around the internets this week. It's about Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Los Angeles, a small, independent soda pop store that seems to sell mostly drinks that I've never heard of, many of which I'm assuming are also made by small and independent businesses. The video's length surpasses my usual limit of tolerance for a Youtube video, but it's well worth the 13 minutes, especially if you are as opposed to big government and its collusion with big businesses as I am (and its proprietor is). But it's also fascinating because I never fathomed there were so many small, independent soda pop makers, that still used glass bottles, that still used cane sugar, and created so many different flavors of drinks. They're like microbreweries today, though I imagine not nearly as numerous. As a southerner, I've had about all of the phrase "soda pop" that I can stand for the next year or two (though it somehow seems more fitting to call them soda pop makers than soft drink makers...they have that old-timey, family-business feel), so here's the video:

Starting at about the 5:30 mark, the owner made some comments that motivated me to blag about it. Regarding high-fructose corn syrup vs. cane sugar:

Everything prepared in this country has corn syrup in it, and it's totally unnecessary. The largest single crop in the world is cane sugar. It's larger than corn and wheat put together. It takes three times less sugar to sweeten with than it does corn syrup. I mean, take a look around at the diabeetus. You'll never get an allergy from sugar. You're going to get an allergy because there's a spore in corn syrup that cannot be refined out, and people have allergies to corn products. So why would you use corn as a sweetener?

Once a year, Coca-Cola makes a kosher Coke, just before Passover. The kosher one will be cane sugar, it'll have a yellow cap, it'll have a U in the upper left-hand corner with a circle around it, and the label will still say "corn syrup"; it won't be changed. Try the two side by side and then tell me. The one with the cane sugar just goes "Pop!" and it explodes and the flavor just "Wham!", it's delicious. And the one with the corn syrup is like [blows raspberry with tongue].

Regarding big businesses vs. small businesses:

Big business loves big government. They just take the marketplace up, eliminate all the little guys, they run them out of business, and then they jack the prices up and control the market. But you look at the candy section, it's Nestle's [sic] Hershey's, and Mars, or you look at the soda pop market, it's Coke and Pepsi. My thought had always been that what I wanted to do was do business with other businesses my size. To help them become unique businesses. And that's exactly what's happening. And what's really interesting about it is that out of all the things that we sell wholesale, one business a mile away from the other...what they're selling is totally different. One restaurant we sell to, they love the floral sodas, and another place, they can't give them away, but they're doing the Red Ribbons. And I'm going, "Isn't this interesting, that everybody has found their own level and their own niche, and they've done it on their own." The important thing is to set yourself apart and provide your customers with something that nobody else has.

Regarding the California Refund Value (bottle recycling) law:

Who do you think passed the RV laws? ... It wasn't written for the consumer, and it certainly wasn't written to keep this country "green". It was written so Coke and Pepsi wouldn't have to wash a bottle, and they wouldn't have to make recyclable bottles [I think he means "reusable", as in refillable?], and they could transfer the cost to the consumer.

I called the recycling center when I got started, and I said, "Listen, I want to put a recycling center in [my store]. They [the customers] bring them back to me, and I'll give them the money, and I'll sell them some more sodas." "Oh, I'm sorry, you can't do that because you have a recycling center two blocks away." I said, "Yeah, they don't give the full price, and I want to give the full price to the customer to get them back to sell them some more!" And he says, "Well, if you did anything like that, you'd be in restraint of trade. And you could probably get sued by the state."

If we were really caring about the environment, we would have reuse, not recycling.

Wish I could go there. I don't even generally like soft drinks, but I'd love to try some of those unique flavors, and I'd love to give this man business.

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