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SAN JOSE, Calif -- On Monday, after fielding a newspaper reporter's inquiry, 7-Eleven recommended franchisees remove cans of the new Cocaine energy drink from shelves in their stores.
"'We don't want you to carry this'" clerk Baljinder Hundal at a 7-Eleven franchise in San Jose said a 7-Eleven representative told him as they pulled the cans and two signs -- one on the window next to the front door of the store, the Mercury News reported.
And the sales were going so well, clerks said. Stocked at the behest of a distributor last Wednesday, the store already had sold one carton of 24 cans and had opened the second, clerk Johnny Zhang said to Mercury News.
The drink attracted mostly young customers, especially girls, he said, and the store is two blocks from a local high school.
A $2.19 can of Cocaine, produced by Las Vegas-registered Redux Beverages, claims to have 18 grams of sugar and 350 percent more caffeine than Red Bull, which has 80 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of coffee may have from 115 to 175 milligrams of caffeine, the report stated.
Controversy has followed Redux since it introduced the drink last month in New York and Los Angeles.
San Jose parents who heard about the drink were not amused. "Most were just as livid as I was,'' said Campbell resident Steve Bevan, who called Southland Corp., 7-Eleven's parent company, to complain. He said he was told that the company could not control what franchises sell.
But Southland spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said the company has sent out the word recommending franchisees not carry the drink.
"They just didn't think that the product's name was appropriate for the image we're trying to portray,'' she said.
And what might that be? Well, for one, she said, "our image is legal," according to the report.
She pointed out that in the last decade, after the introduction of non-alcoholic beer, 7-Eleven would not sell the product even though it contained no alcohol, to minors. "We didn't want to be in a position to encourage anyone to drink if they were not of age," she said. "It would not be in the best interest of the franchisee if the neighborhood is upset."