College-bound friends solve 'very rare' Sprite can mystery

Jeffrey D. Wagner

What began as an end-of-summer celebration among a group of college students turned into an investigation into a Sprite can with a metal object trapped inside before it was opened.

University of New Hampshire student Adam Gallant, a 2004 Apponequet Regional High School alumnus, invited some of his old high school buddies to his Howland Road home last week before they all headed back to school. But the young men’s evening took an unexpected turn when Gallant’s friend, Ben Clarke, noticed his 12-ounce Sprite can was making a mysterious clanking noise.

Clarke and his friends took the can outside, busted it open and discovered the strange metal object, less than two inches in length, with a white ball inside.

They then made several attempts to contact the company that night through its Web site, but due to a site error they could not make contact.

“The Web site wouldn’t take his comments,” said Assonet Bay Shores resident Michael McCue. “It was just a quirky thing we were laughing at.”

Both Clarke and Gallant said after research, they learned that the object is likely a device used to help pour the soda into the can.

Clarke described it as a pressure valve and believed that the white ball within the metal exterior helped indicate when the can had reached its liquid capacity.

“I was looking to see if I can find anything on it. I didn’t think it was something you can buy in any store,” Clarke said. “I don’t know how it got through their quality check, but it did.”

Clarke said he e-mailed the Coca-Cola Co., which produces the product. He made contact Thursday and was reassured that the matter would be investigated.

Both Clarke and Gallant said they do not plan to take any action against the company, but both said they would like either free soda or a refund on the one that was lost.

Gallant said he is not sure where the 12-pack of Sprite was purchased.

Both said that there was still soda inside the Sprite can but it was not filled to capacity.

Coca-Cola spokeswoman Harriet Tolve said the company has received Clarke’s complaint and is looking into the matter.

“Something like this is very, very rare,” she said. “We are trying to reach out to the consumer.”