While I lived as a kid in Colorado, most people referred to non-alcoholic bottled beverages as “coke.” On occasion I came into possession of a nickel and purchased one of these treats at the corner grocery story. Sometimes the bottle was labeled “Coca-Cola” but sometimes it was labeled “Pepsi-Cola,” “Root Beer,” “Dr. Pepper,” or “Nehi Orange.” Everyone understood that coke was the generic term for each of these drinks.
As a teenager, I moved to Indiana and learned that “pop” was the catchall term for carbonated beverages in that state. So I changed my way of speaking in order to fit in my new environment.
After many years in Indiana, I moved to Michigan. There, the term, “soda,” was used to reference those sweet drinks that by that time came in either bottles or cans.
While on recent trip to Indiana I noticed an advertisement in a store window that provided an example of how the PepsiCo ties the generic term, "pop," to their brand. Great advertising strategy!
Having lived and traveled in many different areas of our county, I now reach into my vocabulary bank and use the first term that comes to mind. Not to worry if the locals think I’m a tourist. I no longer have that burning desire to belong.