Readers’ Forum: The vending machine tragedy

Some students are upset at the lack of Dr. Pepper in BYU’s vending machines. Dr. Pepper is found elsewhere on campus, but are a “rare and distant” occurrence. (KISW 99.9 “The Rock” via Facebook)

Picture this: It’s been a long day of classes. You begrudgingly start your trek across campus in the sweltering heat to go home. The sun is beating down and beads of sweat drip down your face as you turn the corner nearing your dorm. Lines are blurring, sound is going in and out and all you can think about is a cold can in your hand to cool you off. You frantically run to the vending machines just to find that the drink you were desperately craving is gone. Not just gone, but never was.

The vending machines in Helaman Halls and around campus do not stock Dr. Pepper. I have noticed the dramatic effect this has had on me and my friends, and if you haven’t, you will now. Dr. Pepper is many people’s favorite beverage and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be sold like all the other drinks. So, why does this matter? Many residents, like myself, grew up on Dr. Pepper and the taste of it reminds them of home. This is important for those who are far away from their hometowns and want a piece of their fondest childhood memories with them at BYU. Because of the high demand, I believe that there would be a significant rise in sales if Dr. Pepper was included in our soda machines. So not only would the residents of Helaman Halls have their soda, but the university would benefit from this addition as well. This win-win scenario is further justification of why Dr. Pepper would be a great and necessary addition to the mix. It is the sweet one after all. 

I do acknowledge that there is Dr. Pepper in the Wilkinson Student Center on Campus, and a few other stores. However, those stores are rare and distant. I see a need to have them in the halls, in the comfort of our own homes. The last thing I would like to do on a hot August day or a cold winter night is brave the weather for a can of soda. Accessibility in all things is vital, and drinks are no different. 

Some might say, “But we have Mr. Pibb and that is close enough.” Although some vending machines stock this beverage and it might be similar to Dr. Pepper, it is not a replacement. I would argue that I could make the same case for Fanta and Cactus cooler, or Lemon Vitamin Water and lemonade. Granted they are all similar, all these drinks are good to have in the vending machines, including Dr. Pepper. 

While it is true that Dr. Pepper is a Pepsi product and BYU has a contract with Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper is sold on campus. Therefore, there must be a way to make it more widely available at BYU. Dr. Pepper is no different than other drinks as far as content. The calories, sugar and carbonation are all similar to the other sodas. But the taste of the sweet one is lacking and the void must be filled. If there is Dr. Pepper in a few stores on campus, there should be no reason why we can’t have it in vending machines. 

My solution is to expand Brigham Young’s Pepsi contract, enabling Dr. Pepper to be stocked beyond the Wilkinson Student Center into the dorms and other vending machines in campus buildings. Nothing is better than a subtle caffeine kick-start to the day, a midday refresher or a fun Friday night cheers. I want to be a pepper, my roommate wants to be a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?

Shea Silvia

Spanish Fork, Utah

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