Food: Drink: Soda Pop
Random Soda   (+28)  [vote for, against]
Pick a button and see what you get!

I always thought this would be sort of a good idea...

Sometimes you are at a soda vending machine and are rather thirsty, but cannot decide as to which particular flavor of sugar water you want. With all of the stress in today's world (cell phones, fax machines, rainfall, etc.) do you need another one?

Enter the Random Soda button. Instead of displaying the label from a soda, the button is replaced with a giant ? mark. The supplier would fill this slot in the machine, with a randomized collection of soda products. This way, you would not know what you are getting, but you would be certain to get something from that machine. Later improvements would be a Diet ? button.

As Vance would say, this is possible under existing technology.
-- pnewp, Feb 05 2001

I'm for it. I think that everwhere there's a choice, there should be a 'Random' button. We could set aside a day dedicated to their use: Go to random locations, eat random things, talk to random people about random topics, drink random beers, begin random home renovations, do random calisthenics, sleep in a random position.
-- Monkfish, Feb 05 2001

I think it also might be good to have crushed or deformed cans exit from a push of the "R" button: just to keep the tension high.
-- Vance, Feb 06 2001

You could have a game of "soft drink roulette" - each person takes it in turn to press the random button on a different drinks machine, and the first person to end up with Ginger Beer is the loser. *Even if they do like Ginger Beer*.
-- mark_t, Feb 06 2001

To thins point, I've always considered the appeal of a resturant which would bring you a random meal. Since I like eating most things, I'd be happy with just about anything served and the fun suspense of the meal is an added value.
-- RobGraham, Feb 06 2001

RobGraham: In some _very_ good restaurants in Paris (and elsewhere, but especially in Paris), there is no menu to select from. You sit down and the waiter announces the courses you will receive. Each course is selected for you by the chef, who knows better than you the best combination of dishes given the day's best available ingredients and his/her strengths and mood.
-- beauxeault, Feb 07 2001

a friend of mine whose father owned a vending machine business stole his keys one night (they're fairly universal). we went around our school and completely mixed around a few machine's selections. the resulting perplexed faces the next day were hilarious.
-- monkeyking47, Feb 08 2001

But would it be truly random? If every machine was, by law, required to have a proportion of the random slots dedicated to other company's products then it might get a bit more interesting.
-- DrBob, Feb 09 2001

I tend to just push several buttons on the machine at once. It radomizes the selection for me, and I'm usually happy with whatever came out, because I only pushed the buttons I didn't dislike.
-- badoingdoing, Feb 10 2001

Baked: the grocery store near my place has a soda machine (stocked with the store's generic brand of sodas) that has a mystery button. Getting a good one is a nice surprise, like getting your favorite color from the gumball machine.
-- kitsune, Apr 23 2001

RC Cola was the giveaway there
-- thumbwax, Apr 24 2001

This sparked an idea... how about a soda brand called 'Random Soda' and you wouldnt know what flavour it was until you popped the tab and drank it. The packaging would be flavour neutral. (No giveaway flying limes or cherries)
-- tikifish, Jul 03 2001

In Jr. High one of the pop machines was really fucked up, in that if someone bought a certain drink (I don't remember which one, maybe it was lemonade) the machine would glow red and speak russian, then start dropping out (random) pop cans until it was empty. Actually, the glowing red and speaking russian is bullshit, but it really did spit out pop cans. Happy times, man.
-- AfroAssault, Sep 05 2001

But what if you get a Moxie? (retch)
-- snarfyguy, Sep 05 2001

[for tikifish and snarfyguy]: Somebody Probably Would Dept.: ... take all that surplus "New Coke" from the 1980s cola wars, hide it in cans labeled "?" (some red, some blue, some yellow, as Bantam used to do with paperback covers for the same book), and distribute it to the randomized soda machines -- and when that runs out, start getting rid of the Failed Experimental Flavors (Bubble Gum Champagne, anyone?) in the same way ... somebody gets a surplus Jolt Cola at random, talks real fast, falls right over...
-- whatsbruin, Sep 06 2001

'New Coke' is still available in some areas as 'Coke II'.
-- StarChaser, Sep 08 2001

Well, it's all fun and games until someone gets stuck with the tonic water (insert pucker sound here)...
-- Cedar Park, Jan 02 2003

Just as long as Celery soda is somehow involved, I'm all for this. But Moxie? That's just wrong.
-- notme, Jan 03 2003

As for random in the can, I think Coke did this in the middle 90's with its OK cola. I think it was made with whatever surplus they had lying around. Month to month much less can to can it never tasted the same. Well there was one consistancy, I think Orange soda wasn't a big seller 'cause it always tasted like it had some of that.
-- sartep, Apr 24 2003

This topic is heading for Borgesian (Jorge Luis Borges) proportions. Allright. Let here born the soda lotto. Random cans, ramdom flavors, random doses of random drugs... On random days, people who gets a orange soda will have the right to ask the people who had a grape soda to buy them another soda... And will be summoned by the people who get the lime one. Some cans with poison will be mixed in some machines. Everybody is obliged to withdrown a soda on some days. The people who neglect this orders, will be punished by the people who got certain flavor on -say- wensday. There will be also cans filled with diamonds, or the one can of power, which will rule all cans, except the humblest... mmm Relationships can be drawn by the machines: Like... People whith some flavor -if asked- should be obliged to have sex with the dominating soda, and in the same time, they will have the right to whitdraw another can. If that can is certain color, they will have the right to doh, fehrr git it
-- noyola, Apr 24 2003

Soda never realy tastes like "orange" or "grape" anyway. So in a way it's already a random selection of flavors, it's just that we've gotten used to the way a "grape" flavored soda tastes rather than soda that tastes like grape. I propose adding real flovors to the drinks. Why do we need to combine hundreds of chemicals to simulate the flavor of grapes? We also need some more originality in the soft drink arena. Beer brewers do it. They (the good breweries) have seasonal and limited batches. It's something new to look forward to. That's why I don't drink soda anymore, I already know what it's going to taste like.

The shnoz berries taste like shnoz berries!
-- demtangs, Apr 25 2003

so funny how AfroAssault can make you laugh nearly two years on.
-- po, Apr 25 2003

Baked. There is a swimming pool near where I live which has a vending machine in the entrance place. It has all the normal buttons; coke, 7up etc. and one that says 'SURPRISE'. I saw them loading it up once, they filled 'surprise' with coke, 7up, fanta, diet coke. That's all I saw, because then they started giving me funny looks as I had been watching them load a vending machine for about a minute.
-- modular, Jun 23 2003

But what happens if that ? button had a certain soda that you disliked, and you wanted every other soda except that one, how would you solve that problem? Thats a dollar to waste.
-- phaders, Nov 02 2003

Just don't try the surprise or ? button. Push all the flavor buttons you want, at the same time then.
-- friendless-person, Dec 04 2003

I like it, but I dread the inevitable scandal when it's revealed the selection isn't random at all, but weighted by the amount of money the vending machine dsitributors receive from the soda companies.

"Cola payola," if you will.
-- DrAstroZoom, Dec 04 2003

My uncle does this in his vending business. There are several machines on his route that have more slots for soda than the requesting company wants. We mark one button " ? " and fill it up with the remainder of what soda is acceptable for the location.
-- Letsbuildafort, Dec 04 2003

At a dot-com I used to work at, we had the key to our Coke machine, so we would randomly insert cans of beer into the inventory as a surprise gift. This lasted only until the fuddy-duddy VP of Engineering found out about it and hit the ceiling. (WTAGIPBAN)
-- krelnik, Dec 04 2003

I'm for this idea all the way.

A very clever "?" label makes vending machines somewhat fun again.

And it's also good to have a "Diet ?" label for those who want diet soda but still want to be surprised.

I wonder why people never thought of this.... 7 years ago?
-- gamerguy, Dec 04 2003

I millionth the baked notion: the pop machine at my junior high had a "?" button on it.
-- meow, Dec 04 2003

[Monkfish] YES! random day!
-- mapgrrl, Jan 10 2004

When I order Pizza, I ask for the attendants favorite, that way I usually get a pizza that tastes good, whilst still being a little random.

Also this is good for getting pizzas for which there is a surcharge at the usual rate, ie. no surcharge...

it would be funny if a random machine was just filled woth one variety... you could keep pressing for (not litteraly) ever and never get that sweet lemonade
-- Exoteric, Feb 21 2004

random, halfbakery