Friday, September 07, 2007

At last count, 3,299 Diet Coke Reward Points were hanging out in my account. While most of this number can be held almost directly responsible for the damage to my own internal systems, a number of people have been regularly emailing me codes in an attempt to keep my kidneys working.
My dad sends codes and has ever since he found out about this project. They come in emails marked as sent via a BlackBerry handheld device, which suggests they were emailed while away from the computer doing something awesome or at least that the urgency merits navigating the tiny thumb-cramping keyboards on those things. I really appreciate it either way.
Also, my friend Ted sends codes -- though he says the true credit for them goes to his daughter for reminding him to save them.
This is especially neat when one considers that I've been getting codes from them for months and she just recently asked (through Ted) what the end goal was supposed to be.
I replied that the end goal was a Nintendo Wii but that it would run just about 7,000 points.
However, I was inspired by the question to visit the Coke Rewards site to take a look for myself just to remind myself why I'm drinking enough Diet Coke that I sweat aspartame and caramel color, why I only sleep 28 hours a week, and why (I hesitate to admit) I have to go #1 more often than a whole group of third grade girls on a bus tour of the Catskills. I rarely go to the official site since they switched to a bloated flash-based interface. I can enter codes through a desktop widget thingy and just do that most of the time.
Hey, now that you've read all that, would anyone care to guess what Nintendo-branded game system is no longer offered in exchange for Coke Reward Points?
I was a little relieved, to be honest. I could cash out early. End the damage to my liver. Drink mountain spring water and enter into a purification diet of tofu and activated carbon.
But guess what else? They seem sold out of everything in my point range that is the least bit interesting.
They still offer Nintendo stuff, though. This isn't like when the partnership with Sony fell through and all references to them on the website were forever destroyed. They just switched to offering games for one's existing Wii which, in my case, is an imaginary one which fails to play any games at all.
The whole Coke Rewards Conspiracy is weakened by the serving of two masters -- The drive to sell increasing volumes of Coca-Cola and the need to push the products of the sponsor partners, in this case offering rewards which can be used only by people who drop the cash on a new gaming system. Actually, there is a third master -- Nal-Ahnana, Abyssal Dark Queen of Kidney Stones, though her ambitions are not so clearly spelled out on the official website.
Am I quitting? I just twisted the cap off a delicious and vitamin and mineral enhanced Diet Coke Plus (37% of my Vitamin B6 for the day is hidden in there somewhere) so probably not.
But I'm afraid to admit the project has no driving purpose at this point.
I may wait until they re-invent the program again next year and hope for better stuff. I may have built up enough points by then to pick up a red and white striped hybrid SUV (with extra drink holders for even more Diet Coke) or perhaps some kind of super-weapon to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies or anyone who drinks Pepsi or, worse, drinks Coke and discards the codes.
So the current plan is this: I will continue to drink Diet Coke and collect the points. I will hoard them into an ever-increasing heap. I will bide my time and wait for the Coke Rewards people to make a move and then . . . I will cash in my rewards for something entirely unrelated to a T-Shirt featuring the Grand Theft Auto guy from the parody commercial they showed during the Superbowl.
I will purchase no Coke-branded desk lamp or bumper sticker pack to advertise their delicious fizzy and refreshing product line.
I will buy no key chain or wall cover or ring tone.
There will, one day, be something cool. And I will be ready.

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