Internet tales not always ‘the real thing’

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 30, 2002

So, which version have you heard?

Here’s the one that made its way to me:

A woman was waiting in line to check out at a grocery store. Theman in front of her, who was of Middle Eastern descent, was short$5 on paying for his purchase. He wasn’t budging on anything, sothe woman decided to pay the difference so she could get home.

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When she exited the store, the man was waiting for her outsideand was very thankful. She said, “It’s OK, never mind.”

He said, “OK, but don’t drink any Coke products after Sept.11.”

Or maybe you’ve heard this version:

A friend of a friend of a friend has a friend who has a friendwho is a waiter at a restaurant. This waiter had a customer ofMiddle Eastern descent. The customer kept asking the waiter for aquarter. When he finally gave him the quarter, the customer saidsomething along the lines of, “You want a tip?” To which the waitersaid, “Sure.” The customer then responded, “Don’t drink Coke afterSept. 11.”

This one is making the rounds, too:

A stock person, who just happened to be of (you guessed it)Middle Eastern descent, was putting some groceries in the trunk ofa car when he cautioned the owner not to buy Coca-Cola after Sept.11.

Among the stories’ similarities is this: they’re all bogus. Thisparticular story (or all three of them) is just one of those rumorsthat makes the rounds every now and then, generally fueled bye-mail.

There are several groups that keep watch on such things, andit’s easy to dispel some of the rumors. Do a search for “InternetHoaxes” or “Internet Rumors” and see what you find.

By the way, Coca-Cola is not the only soft drink that’s beentargeted. Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and 7-Up have all been named as havingremoved the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance printedon their cans. It’s not true.

You’ve probably received an e-mail like this one:

Hello everybody,

My name is Bill Gates. I have just written up an e-mail tracingprogram that traces everyone to whom this message is forwarded. Iam experimenting with this and I need your help. Forward this toeveryone you know and if it reaches 1000 people everyone on thelist will receive $1,000 at my expense. Enjoy. Your friend, BillGates.

Without a doubt, if anybody can afford to give away $1,000 tothousands of people, it would be Bill Gates, but he’s not.

Similar internet hoaxes have also made the rounds purporting tooffer money from Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Outback Steakhouse,Cracker Barrel, Old Navy and others.

The Coke rumor apparently has snowballed. Another southwestMississippi newspaper called us Thursday to verify the incident.They were told that this had actually happened in Brookhaven.

As the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks gets closer,there will probably be other rumors or far-fetched stories that popup. Just remember, only Coca-Cola can claim to be The RealThing.

Write to Nanette Laster at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS39602, or send e-mail to