It’s a new day at Brigham Young University, the Mormon college in Utah: a ban on caffeinated soft drinks has been lifted. That means it’s the end of an era for a black market selling soda providing sweet, sweet bursts of energy.
“I’ve heard people talk about hiding mini-fridges on campus and doing an on-demand delivery service – get a can of soda delivered to you anywhere on campus any time,” R. Alex Anderson, a 24-year-old master’s student said via Twitter direct messaging.
Anderson and other underground market customers shared their reactions to Thursday’s news on social media, some disclosed bittersweet memories while others pointed out that the ban’s end is not that big of a deal for students who took advantage of the connects.
I’m a BYU Student. Gotta say, while the peeps I’ve talked to are thrilled, there is an underground caffeine trade already.
— R. Alex Anderson 🚀 (@ralex1993) September 21, 2017
This is a big deal for a campus that has banned caffeine in its drinks since the mid 1950s. The university announced that soft drinks with caffeine would once again be offered at dining halls and soda machines.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has clarified over the years that caffeine is not prohibited for Mormons, but hot beverages like coffee and tea aren’t allowed. But the school has maintained its caffeine-free soda offering for decades — until now, after officials claim demand for the drinks have gone up. Students will no longer have to sneak in a jolt of energy.
While caffeinated sodas will be flowing at dining halls, there still might be a market for “rogue hot chocolate.” And for other caffeinated sodas that aren’t part of the Coca-Cola brand. Yep, there’s a corporate catch: the university has a contract with Coca-Cola.
Anderson said he heard that a student who had kept caffeinated soda in a student lounge fridge and charged 50 cents a pop via Venmo plans to continue his operation through graduation, but this time stocking drinks outside the Coke family that the university won’t sell.
“There is a sign on the fridge that says ‘Want a soda? Send *this person* $0.50 on Venmo and take your pick’ with a QR code to his Venmo profile,” Anderson said.
When a door closes on bootleggers, a window opens.