Moms have had their share of parenting fails, mostly tied to holidays. What parent hasn’t looked under couch cushions for Tooth Fairy money or made a mess on behalf of an Elf on the Shelf? This year it’s time to file a complaint with the Childhood Mythical Character Department. Apparently, the Easter Bunny has co-created Peeps Pepsi without any thought to parent supply-chain issues by giving all the Peeps to Pepsi. There are usually sixteen different flavors and colors of Peeps, but now it looks like Easter 2020—with nary a Peep in sight.
Imagine if you will: going to Walmart on a last-ditch search for Peeps. That need for Easter basket candy eclipses the fear of being discovered in elastic-waist joggers and a stained ’80s Van Halen T-shirt by TikTok-wannabe photographers scouting for “The People of Walmart.” Your kid has whined for Peeps and you know they taste gross and have the texture of a kitchen sponge but you give in because it’s your kid. You desperately need a Peeps replacement, so you take the chance and sneak into your suburban superstore at midnight with your hoodie up. You’re instantly transported to the Walmart Wild West (queue the Clint Eastwood Muzak) with your tumbleweed hair tucked in a ponytail.
As you scour the aisles, an elderly man in Wranglers and a cowboy hat shuffles by, his cart overflowing with jumbo dog food bags and unpackaged ladies’ briefs. He winks at you from under his hat brim and tugs on a nonexistent gun belt. In frozen foods, a woman wearing nude pantyhose as pants with a coupon binder and a cart full of children knowingly smiles because she is there for the same reason: candy. You move past them like a Tesla that doesn’t stop for Walmart shoppers or strollers. This Walmart is your last great hope at the Not-Okay Mom Corral. In the spirit of Easter candy shopping, you hippity-hop to the Easter section, expecting a Peeps motherload, but all that is left is sad-looking plastic grass and a half-opened carton of pastel malt balls. You are desperate but not THAT desperate.
Suddenly, a flash of blue and yellow appears next to the errant ceiling balloons directly over the soda aisle. It’s a sign. You take a deep breath and follow the light. You need something to hide for your kids by 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, and you’d like to sleep a little, so you follow the Pepsi icon beacon to find: Peeps Pepsi. You drop a six-pack in your wonky-wheeled cart, intrigued by how it might taste.
The Pepsi and Peeps flavor mix sounds as confident as your high school boyfriend trying to get lucky in the back seat of his Peeps-yellow Corvette—super sweet, but not a good match. But hey, if Oreo can sell Swedish Fish-flavored cookies, who are you to judge? You’ve bought those too, in a late-night cookie pinch. As if marshmallows coated in neon-bright, granulated sugar isn’t already sweet enough, Pepsi and Peeps apparently thought giving your intestines a jolt of glucose AND caffeine would be fun.
Although the soda sounds disgusting, you’ve already entered the Walmart Zone, and can’t logically buy it without tasting it first—plus, there are no aproned “sample ladies” at midnight—not ones employed by Walmart, anyway. You scurry over to the women’s hygiene aisle (because no one makes eye contact there) to take a sip. You would never eat or drink food without paying for it, but Women’s Briefs Man is eating goldfish out of the package and Coupon Mom’s kids are coated in melted Hershey Bars, so it’s like you have permission. You crack open a Peeps Pepsi can and sniff it like a soda connoisseur examining a fine 1986 vintage, and not a marshmallow cola.
One whiff and you are ten again at the summer carnival, eating too much cotton candy before Tilt-A-Whirl spins. You hope Peeps Pepsi will be better—a caffeinated, sweet party in your mouth. Instead, it hits the taste buds like a ruptured marshmallow piñata.
The first sip goes down hard and sweet like Zima or Peach Schnapps behind the high school bleachers—only you aren’t behind the bleachers. You’re behind the Easter eightball. After a few more sips, you try to sort Pepsi from Peeps in your mouth, and can’t; it blurs into a sugar-induced coma that makes you want to stay up all night hiding Peeps Pepsi in your yard. With jittery hands, you hold up the can and read the ingredients to see whether you’ve ingested four thousand calories in front of the tampons.
You knew the sunny yellow and blue can would fill in for sunny yellow plastic eggs and maybe even yellow Peeps. But peering in the can, you’re disappointed the carbonated liquid is the same brown as regular Pepsi, rather than Peeps pink or yellow.
The soda tastes like Good Friday tears more than a happy Sunrise Easter service. Pepsi missed out on the sensory love for Peeps—of watching them explode in the microwave. That initial burst of marshmallow flavor is more like an explosion of ectoplasm from the ghosts of Easter past. As you continue slugging down this Frankensteinian combination, you find it tastes worse the longer you drink it. You decide the one good thing about a Pepsi and Peeps marriage—it’s a caffeine and sugar reward for tired Easter morning moms. So, you buy enough boxes of the soda abomination for Easter morning baskets and to keep in your SUV cup holder instead of yesterday’s coffee jazzed up with Peeps creamer.
If candy-flavored drinks are your jam, microwave a chocolate bunny and stir it into your Coke. Are you going to hell for shaking up a Peeps Pepsi for the kids to give to your mother-in-law, who insists on complaining at your Easter celebration? Was that Walmart cowboy-hatted man the Easter Bunny or Pepsi God, and did he stash all the Peeps under his Stetson, forcing you to buy Peeps Pepsi instead? Is there a Peeps Pepsi hangover? The world may never know. The world really may never know, because you won’t find Peeps-flavored Tootsie Pops either.