Soda Hack

Last week I stumbled upon what I am calling a “soda hack.” In order to arrive at the gym we exercise at, we take a long Spokane side street called Montgomery. On this street is a subtle Coca-Cola bottling center.

The Swire Coca-Cola, USA Bottling Center in Spokane is on Montgomery.

I go to the gym early in the morning when it is still dark out. I have always noticed the Coca-Cola building but never thought much of it. One thing that subconsciously caught my eye was that a few Coke vending machines were in the front of the parking lot. I never thought it was that weird because it was a Coca-Cola bottling facility but I did wonder if people actually ever used them.

I pass these four Coke vending machines every day but it is usually dark out and I don’t give them much attention.

When we returned from Walla Walla last Wednesday, I worked out that evening. After I finished at the gym, I talked to Sidney as I was backing out. She asked if I would pick up some soda for her. I intended to visit the grocery store near our house and accommodate my wife’s request. But as I started to drive down the side street I thought What the heck? Let’s save some time and use the loose change in this car. I pulled into the Coca-Cola bottling center’s parking lot, pulled up to the machines, and got out of my car.

A closer look at the unassuming vending machines at the Swire Coca-Cola bottling center in Spokane.

I went to the first machine on the left and I was blown away to see that 12 oz cans were only $.25 each! We are talking a quarter! I had a $1.75 in my pocket and was hoping that I would have enough to purchase TWO sodas; it turns out I had enough to purchase SEVEN sodas. Since I was buying the soft drinks for Sid I was primarily pressing the Coke Zero button but I couldn’t pass up taking my chance on the mystery flavor option…the first time I have ever seen that on a soda machine.

A partial look at the lineup of sodas on the far left machine. Notice the $.25 price if you were doubting me and notice how a mystery Fanta flavor is offered along with another mystery flavor option.

My question about whether people actually use these machines was answered when I was making my selections because there was a gentleman also purchasing sodas. I expressed to him my glee at the soda bargain. Turns out he is a regular customer.

“I come here every night,” the guy said. “My friend used to work here so I found out about it.”

The truck entrance to the Swire Coca-Cola, USA bottling center in Spokane.

He then pointed something out to me. The nice guy drew my attention to the two machines on the right. Those machines dispensed 20 oz bottles for $.50! Talk about another outrageous deal.

One of the mystery flavor gambles resulted in me getting a Pibb Xtra, a soda I actually really happen to like.

My enthusiasm was through the roof when I walked through the door with an armful of sodas and a really cool story to tell. Sorry not sorry for my nerdiness. It is just I had not paid a quarter for a vending machine soda since the late 1990s when I could go to Albertsons and purchase their generic flavors. A cold soda in a can just hits different and we now have a semi-secret place to quench that thirst. Don’t Blink.

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