Coca Cola Gives us More Choices

Marcuse argued that we are tricked into thinking that we have the good life because of all of the choices that we are given in society- but in reality, these choices make us less happy. When I was at Six Flags a few weeks ago, I saw this Coca Cola Machine advertising 106 different drink choices. As if anyone could actually drink all 106 different drinks! It is items in the culture industry, such as this Coca Cola machine that make us think we have the good life, because we can drink whatever we want, but really we are bogged down by so many choices. What ever happened to the days where Coke machines had only one flavor of soda: Coke?

Our beverage options at a theme park, however, are just one of the many arenas of choices that we face everyday. In fact, some would say that life is simply a series of choices. So what do we do about these choices? If we were to create a “perfect” society, would we only have one beverage available to everyone to drink? Or is it good that we have the ability to drink regular, diet, lime, cherry and caffeine free versions of the same drink?

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2 thoughts on “Coca Cola Gives us More Choices

  1. I think that this is a very good application of Marcuse, that more choices do not make us happier. This reminded me of the times when I go to a restaurant/food establishment, stand in line and take an excessively long time deciding on what to order because there are too many options. Even when I get to the front of the line, I often find myself without a definite choice. Then, I end up ordering the most interesting looking thing out of pressure from the other people behind me. In many cases, I think that I should have ordered something else.

  2. I saw this machine at a restaurant in Palo Alto over the summer and I remember getting really excited and pointing it out to my friend. However, once I started looking at the drink options, there were so many that I spent ages trying to decide what I wanted. And similarly to what peridotted said in his/her comment, after I finished getting my drink, I doubted my decision and wondered if I should have gotten something else. I agree that this is a great example of Goffman’s suggestion that the culture industry makes us think we have the “good life” by giving us options, when in reality, if I really had options then I would’ve had the option to not get anything from the machine. However, I fell into the trap and bought a drink from it.

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