Okay, they didn’t solve hunger or do anything to promote world peace, but Dr. Pepper did their part today by doing the right thing – no matter how small it is.

I have been playing “Twist a Pepper” for years – you know the bottle of DP with “Sorry Try Again” or “Free 20 oz Dr Pepper” written on the underside of the caps. Advertisements on the bottles claim a 1 in 6 chance of winning. This promotion has been delighting prune juice fans for years.

Lately however, something has changed about the promotion – namely that retailers refuse to accept the bottle caps. Yes, the last dozen times I have tried to turn one in at a convenience store, the clerk has said something along the lines of, “oh we don’t accept those anymore.” These are the same stores with their shelves loaded down with the Twist a Pepper bottles!

I called Dr. Pepper’s customer service today and they first tried to stonewall me. “I’m sorry, but that is a local promotion, we don’t handle those.”

After a few minutes the rep was able to find out that Coca-Cola was the local bottler for Dr. Pepper in this part of Central Texas. Seriously? Okay. She was unable to provide any contact information for the Coca-Cola bottler running the Twist A Pepper promotion, but then offered, “I would like to send you out two coupons for a free 20 oz Dr. Pepper and apologize for the inconvenience.”

I am not sure what I learned from this other than, even if you won something, it doesn’t mean you can collect. Or maybe it is that the Cola Wars are as made up as the drama on reality TV shows. Coke bottling Dr. Pepper? Perhaps it is just that despite marketing once again promising great things and not delivering, you really can get people to do the right thing – if you’re willing to gripe a bit.