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View Full Version : Whats the deal in USA with 1 litre soda pop, is USA on metric?


Dandmb50
08-20-2002, 09:23 PM
I live in Toronto, Canada and we use metric measurement. And I understood that the US opted out and continue to use the imperial measurements.

Then can someone tell me why I see soda pop/mouthwash being sold in litre bottles in the USA?

Is it a way for the manufacturers of these products to gough the public for more money by confusing them with the size by using something that they are not familar with? :confused:

syncrolecyne
08-20-2002, 09:28 PM
If so, we have had a 20 year warming up process. Soda has been sold by the liter for a long time.

For some reason companies have decided to see soda by the liter and milk by the quart or gallon. It probably lies with the industry standards and not with any overall government policy. I was in elementary school in the early 1980's and I remember being told that by the year 2000, the United States would be a metric oriented society. It hasn't happened yet.

Mr. Moto
08-20-2002, 09:32 PM
America is doing it just right. We use measurements that make sense for what we're measuring.

Gallons works really well for gasoline, and we know instinctively how far a mile is. We don't need to do math in our heads to figure it out.

Dieters understand fat grams. And conservative NRA members such as myself know how big a 9 mm bullet is.

It so happens that two liters is a convenient quantity of soda to buy, for larger sizes. For individual consumption, 12 and 16 oz. containers are common.

We use metric when it works, and have never had to have it crammed down our throats.

lawoot
08-20-2002, 09:49 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Moto
It so happens that two liters is a convenient quantity of soda to buy, for larger sizes. For individual consumption, 12 and 16 oz. containers are common.

I haven't seen a 16 oz. bottle in YEARS. The most common sizes where I live is 20 oz. and 1 liter

Achernar
08-20-2002, 09:52 PM
A lot of things are metric in the USA, the most common one in my experience being medicine. As for soda, I have seen Coke and/or Pepsi sold in all of the following sizes:

8 oz, 12 oz, 0.5 L, 20 oz, 24 oz, 1 L, 2 L, 3 L

I've never seen 16 oz, though, as far as I can remember.

Reeder
08-20-2002, 09:53 PM
Coke has come back out with 16.9 oz plastic bottles in twelve packs just recently.

Enola Straight
08-20-2002, 09:58 PM
We buy our gas in gallons and measure our engines' performance in horsepower.

If suddenly we began selling gasoline at 36 cents a liter and measured the power in Kilowatts, the average American would think somebody had found out a new way to cheat him.

Duckster
08-20-2002, 10:01 PM
Metric is alive and well in the USA if you look. Such as:

1) The hard liquor industry.
2) The pharmaceutical industry.
3) The auto industry.

The list goes on. With global businesses it's more cost-effective to go metric than not.

About the only part of America that really hasn't gone metric are average Americans.

:D

mazzer
08-20-2002, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Mr. Moto
America is doing it just right. We use measurements that make sense for what we're measuring.

Gallons works really well for gasoline, and we know instinctively how far a mile is. We don't need to do math in our heads to figure it out.
That's a ridiculous statement. It works well for you because you're used to it. If you'd been pumping liters all your life you would be just as comfortable with it.

When it comes to food products, Americans don't care that much about the unit of measurement, just about the relative size of the container. You could start selling milk in 3.79 L containers and no one would care as long as it was the same shape.

Achernar
08-20-2002, 10:06 PM
They do sell milk in 3.79 L containers. Do you mean 4 L containers?

mazzer
08-20-2002, 10:10 PM
Originally posted by Achernar
They do sell milk in 3.79 L containers. Do you mean 4 L containers?
No, I mean they could print 3.79 L on the label instead of 1 gallon, and no one would care.

Achernar
08-20-2002, 10:17 PM
Care, or notice? They do print 3.79 L on them. At least, they do on mine. It says:
1 gal
(3.79 L)

Alphagene
08-20-2002, 10:18 PM
Other metric units used commonly by us Yanks include hertz, calories, watts, volts, amps and ohms. The last three have no Imperial equivalents, AFAIK.

You'll also hear a lot of metric when dealing with biomedical stuff, like a 10cc injection of epinephrine. This is basically because the Imperial system is completely useless when it comes to describing the length, weight and volume of really tiny things. The diameter of a DNA double helix is .00000007 inches? Pfft. It's 2 nm.

I wouldn't necessarily say Americans are doing it the "right" way. I'm sure a kilometer is just as instinctive to a citizen of a metric country as a mile is to us.

That being said, I don't believe forcing the system on Americans will win it any fans. The fact that it is an inherently superior (IMHO) and more intuitive system combined with the necessity of using it just so we can interact with the rest of the world for commercial purposes will whittle away the last vesitiges of the Imperial system.

mazzer
08-20-2002, 10:21 PM
Originally posted by Achernar
Care, or notice? They do print 3.79 L on them. At least, they do on mine. It says:
1 gal
(3.79 L)
Touché.

elmwood
08-20-2002, 11:58 PM
The majority of products found in an store in the United States are marked in dual units ... English and metric.

Items made by very small local companies are usually labeled in English units only.

Wine and hard liquor is labeled in metric only. Most over-the-counter medicine is metric only, too.

Just eyeballing the shelves, about 10% of all items are marketed in "metric friendly" sizes, an example being two liter pop bottles. The "2 LITER" marking is dominant, with the odd English measurement downplayed. About 50% of health and beauty items use good, round metric measurements. The plastic bottle of Pantene shampoo by the tub is labeled "400 mL (13.5 fl oz)". The box containing a bar of Basis soap is labeled "5.3 oz 150 g."

In my laundry room, the Downy is labeled "1.8 L (60 fl oz)." The liquid Tide detergent, though, demonstrated excessive precision -- "300 fl oz 8.87 L" something that I think is scaring a lot of folks here away from embracing metric units. There's a belief that if the US goes completely metric, the stores will be stocked with oddball sized products for eternity -- 454 gram packets of spaghetti and 355 milliter bottles of beer. Product packaging changes every few years for marketing purposes; so it's no burden to alter packaging to avoid awkward sizes.

I think that sometime around 2010, the US will be more-or-less metric. Americans feel comfortable with metric units for volume, distance, and to some extent mass. Temperature ... I think Americans will remain more comfortable with English units; if it's 80 in Miami and 40 in Buffalo, the temperature difference is more apparent than if it's 26 in Miami and 5 in Buffalo.

Construction and real estate will remain English for a long time ... probably the rest of the century, given standardized building materials, previous land surveys and the English-based section-township-range system used in legal property descriptions. (When I was living in New Mexico, I frequently used surveys, some quite recent, with areas measured in cordels. caballerias and sitios, and distances measured in varas. Whether they were Southern New Mexico varas, Territorial varas, Pueblo varas, Texas varas, Arizona varas, California varas, Mexican varas or Castillian varas was anyone's guess.)

Just like Brits measure their weight in stone, Americans will still state their weight using pounds.

t-keela
08-21-2002, 01:27 AM
I think, mind you now, this is just a thought! Because the US imports and exports so much it is just practiacl to have both standard and metric units on merchandise. The times I've been out of the US, I've noticed quite a bit of merchandise on the shelves that are of US origin and are in the same packaging as here.
There are a lot of countries that ship to the US and they seem to be doing the same. It is getting quite common to include more than one language as well.

I remember 30 years ago in school, the country panicking about our changing to the metric system. People were screaming, freaking out about it. So, it just got pushed aside and a gradual change took place. It's not complete yet but look around. Practically everything today is measured in metric also, if not exclusively.

Like Duckster was saying, when's the last time you bought a quart of booze? coke, or many other items?

and BTW Coke bottles are made in the US or at least some of them are, I used to work there.

Mr2001
08-21-2002, 03:50 AM
Illicit drugs are giving younger generations a whole new incentive to know exactly how many grams are in an ounce.

smiling bandit
08-21-2002, 07:57 AM
And I understood that the US opted out and continue to use the imperial measurements.

More like we use whatever happens to be handy.

I think that sometime around 2010, the US will be more-or-less metric.

I've heard that before. Usually referring to a much earlier date. :)

Americans feel comfortable with metric units for volume, distance, and to some extent mass.

Volume? Like I ever use it.

Distance? BS (DEATH TO THE KILOMETER!!!!!!!!! THE MOST EVIL INVENTION SINCE THE GAS CHAMBER!!!!!)

Mass? Who cares about mass?

RealityChuck
08-21-2002, 08:40 AM
The main reason why soft drink manufacturers use liters and 2-liters is that it's cheaper. I don't recall the difference, but when they switched from 64-oz to 2 liters, they discovered the cost of manufacturing was such that they didn't have to charge extra for the extra ounces.

I think metric is the way to go, with one major exception: temperature. The Centigrade scale (not Celsius, since he got it backwards) is inferior to Fahrenheit because (purely by chance), Fahrenheit's scale is perfect for the main reason people want to know the temperature: the weather. 0-100 Fahrenheit is a pretty neat match to the normal extremes in temperature and gives you a great basis for comparison.

Go alien
08-21-2002, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by smiling bandit



Mass? Who cares about mass?

Catholics and astronauts.:)

JRDelirious
08-21-2002, 09:15 AM
Originally posted by elmwood

something that I think is scaring a lot of folks here away from embracing metric units. There's a belief that if the US goes completely metric, the stores will be stocked with oddball sized products for eternity -- 454 gram packets of spaghetti and 355 milliter bottles of beer.

And posted speed limits of 88 kph. In reality there would eventually be 500-gram (half-kilo) boxes of spaghetti, and the speed limit would be an even 90kph. The beverages industry went about it quite dispassionately: they just exhausted their stock of halfgallons, quarts and fifths and started selling only 2L, 1L and 750ml. It helped that these were "close enough" to the old measures. OTOH as pointed out, you still have the 7, 8, 10, 12, 16(yes, they exist), 20 and 40 fl.oz. containers, probably because the consumer is uncomfortable with fractional measures other than a half or quarter.

I'm wondering if any number of people would resolve a lot of body-image problems if suddenly their weight becomes "65" :D

Keeve
08-21-2002, 09:18 AM
A question for the non-Americans out there:

How are your diskettes labelled?

3 inches, or 76.2 mm ???

Mr. Moto
08-21-2002, 09:24 AM
I don't think my statement is so ridiculous, chriszarate. What pressing need is there for Americans to stop buying gas by the gallon and measuring distances in miles? If it works here for most people, no problem.

Likewise, when I was living in Italy, I had no problem with kilometers and liters, because these units were plugged into the culture in a way they're not here.

My point is that units used should be convenient for what is being measured, and this includes convenience for cultural reasons.

Even metric countries, when their ships go to sea, revert to measuring distances in yards and nautical miles. Anyone who knows navigation knows that this system is inherently simpler than metric for this purpose.

Popup
08-21-2002, 09:45 AM
Originally posted by Keeve How are your diskettes labelled?
3 inches, or 76.2 mm ???

My disks are not 3". They're not even 3.5", they're 90 mm!
quoting from FLOPPY disk INFO (http://web.ukonline.co.uk/freshwater/floppy1.htm)The 3.5 inch disk is actually manufactured to metric specifications and might more accurately be called a 90mm diskette
but no... they're labeled 3.5" anyway...

Let me just point out that the introduction of the so-called metric system is nothing new. (interesting historic tidbit (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Gene_Nygaard/t_jeff.htm))

Keeve
08-21-2002, 11:21 AM
Thanks, Popup. "3 inch" didn't sound right, but I couldn't remember the right number.

Can I presume that in Europe, they're actually labelled as 90mm, to distinguish them from 133.35mm floppies? (or were those 135mm?)

Anyway, you have made my point even stronger. If we can live with 2-liter soda bottles, and the high-tech diskettes are actually 90mm in size, why the heck does the box measure the diskettes in inches :rolleyes::confused::rolleyes:

Kaf
08-21-2002, 12:46 PM
I seem to recall hearing that the main reason the liquor industry embraced the metric system was they realized they could swith from a fifth to a liter, a decrease of about 1/3 of the product, but then not drop their prices by 1/3.

A quick chance to find some extra margin, I guess.

The real question though, is why are American 2 liter bottles a different shape than European bottle. The American version is shorter and thicker around.

Seems like it would be easier for distribution to only have one size.

ElJeffe
08-21-2002, 02:36 PM
The real question though, is why are American 2 liter bottles a different shape than European bottle. The American version is shorter and thicker around.

Seems like it would be easier for distribution to only have one size.


Maybe short bottles market-tested better here, and tall bottles tested better in Europe? Or maybe it has to do with refrigerator sizes. I know that if a 2-liter were any taller, it wouldn't fit in my fridge.

And as far as the US converting to mostly metric by 2010... sure. *snigger* I laugh every time I open my kiddie educational books from the late 70's and read about how the US will be completely metric by 1985. :D Prediction: If the US ever does switch to metric, it'll be far, far in the future. While this annoys the engineer in me (english units are - let's face it - cumbersome and annoying when you need to convert), the stubborn American in me is glad. ;)

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
08-21-2002, 02:47 PM
I think metric measures are becoming increasingly common in contexts where the translation is relatively painless. The liter soda bottles are a good example of that. Translating one linear type of unit from one to another is easy enough, but I think a lot of Americans are resistant to the idea of having to think of two-or-three-dimensional measures. We're just so used to square feet,
and cubic feet or gallons. Where it really becomes a problem is when you have to think of one unit per another. Translating "miles per gallon" to "kilometers per liter" is going to be difficult. Not arithmetic wise, but just in getting the intuitive feel of it. Of course we could do it if we'd only try, but it seems that most of us in this country are extremely resistant to change of any type. Unfortunately, in my opinion.

Nametag
08-21-2002, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by Kaf
I seem to recall hearing that the main reason the liquor industry embraced the metric system was they realized they could swith from a fifth to a liter, a decrease of about 1/3 of the product, but then not drop their prices by 1/3.

Huh? The metric replacement for the old fifth is 750 ml; the fifth is 25.6 ounces; 750 mL is 25.36 ounces (Omigod, we lost a teaspoon! Aaaggh!).

The equivalent of a quart, the liter, is LARGER than either a fifth OR a quart.

So there!

Kaf
08-21-2002, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by Nametag
The equivalent of a quart, the liter, is LARGER than either a fifth OR a quart.

So there!

Oops! A goof already. Don't post and work at the same time, or you too will mix up your ratios. :smack:

That will teach me to listen to what people say.

Perhaps, when increasing the size from a fifth to 1 liter, they took advantage to increase the profit margin disproportionately?

Boobka
08-21-2002, 04:40 PM
I guess someone has to say it

"The metric system is the tool of the devil!!! My car gets 30 rods to a hogshead and that's the way I likes it"

hhehe

I have been told by my engineering brother that most of the oil industry uses Imperial mesurments (PSI etc vs SI measurments)
and this isn't exclusive to the US

Achernar
08-21-2002, 05:47 PM
I want to see some country adopt cgs:

Speed Limit: 3×103 cm/s

Try our new Diet Soda, with less than 2×1011 ergs per serving!

raoulortega
08-21-2002, 07:40 PM
"The metric system is an abstraction whose beauty lies in its indifference to the way human beings actually live their lives or feel comfortable measuring things."

I've always found it amusing that the same people who criticize Americans for being mono-lingual turn around to criticize us for using multiple incompatible measurement systems. I'd think converting between inches and centimeters would be a lot easier (and more precise) than translating between French and English.

mnemosyne
08-21-2002, 09:19 PM
The difference between 80F and 40F is more obvious than the difference between 26C and 5C?!?!?! I grew up with the metric system, and centigrade temperature makes a hell of a lot more sense, to me. I like the linearality of it - if something is 50C, then it's half way to boiling from freezing, and 25 is a comforatble room temperature (actually, I like 22 more, but whatever) and 5 quite cold - need at least a sweater and probably a jacket.......

212 for boiling and -32 for freezing? Doesn't make all that much sense to me.

My point is that you are all sitting there saying its more intuitive, or "easier for Americans" , but thats only because its the only system you know.

As for other things....I drive km/hour and I know my weight in pounds, so there are probably benefits to both systems.

amarone
08-21-2002, 09:38 PM
The US version of www.weather.com allows you to choose whether temperatures are displayed in "English" or "metric" units. As England now uses Celsius, does this mean you get Celsius no matter which option you choose?

Actually, it is strange that they use the term "English" as the units of temperature are not defined by the language used, but by the country. I wonder why they didn't put "American".

Sunspace
08-21-2002, 10:22 PM
Nametag said:
Huh? The metric replacement for the old fifth is 750 ml; the fifth is 25.6 ounces; 750 mL is 25.36 ounces (Omigod, we lost a teaspoon! Aaaggh!).

The equivalent of a quart, the liter, is LARGER than either a fifth OR a quart.

I think the proper name for the system of units used in the US is, yes, the US Customary System of Measure. It is not the same as the Imperial system of measurement that was used in Canada, the UK, etc.

For instance, the US gallon is 3.85 litres and the Imperial gallon is 4.5 litres. So 1 litre is larger than a US quart but smaller than a Canadian or English quart. I think one of the smaller units is the same in both systems (the fluid ounce?).

I didn't realise till a couple of years ago that a "fluid ounce" is a measure of volume. Most of the things that the average person would see measured in fluid ounces on a daily basis are water-based (food, etc), so their densities would be roughly the same; treating the fluid ounce as a unit of mass for rough back-of-the-hand comparisons worked.

neutron star
08-22-2002, 05:49 AM
The difference between 80F and 40F is more obvious than the difference between 26C and 5C?!?!?!

I think the point RealityChuck was trying to make was that the units of measurement in our scale of temperature are smaller, thus more precise, and also more in tune with day-to-day life.

For example, when I turn on my stove to boil some water, I don't need to know that the temperature is 212 degrees. Hell, a lot of Americans don't even know the boiling point of water. Most everybody (I hope) knows the freezing point, though (and that's positive 32, not -32), especially those in the colder climates.

Turning my thermostat from 72 to 73 would produce a more subtle change than turning it from 23 to 24. I like that

Acsenray
08-22-2002, 07:33 AM
Of course we could do it if we'd only try, but it seems that most of us in this country are extremely resistant to change of any type.

No, we're resistant to being told we have to change something that seems perfectly fine to us by pointy-headed scientists and Eurocrats.

Derleth
08-22-2002, 09:16 AM
Name me one reason the US will change to metric that hasn't existed since the 1970s.

Trade? No, we seem to get on just fine with the rest of the world. When it suits our interests to use metric, we've used metric (scientific and biomedical), and when it doesn't, the rest of the world simply copes (automakers).

Global community? We have no differences with the rest of the world that a switch to metric could possibly fix, and the countries we're friendly with like us just fine complete with odd measurement systems.

Internal convenience? I think most Americans are aware of the metric system. Then they put gallons in their tanks, miles on their engines, and liters in their stomachs, in typical American split-brained fashion. Medical people already use the metric system extensively at work, then switch to Customary the minute they step outside the hospital or clinic. I think our mish-mash is convenient, whether you Europeans understand it or not.

Are there any I've missed?

Shalmanese
08-22-2002, 09:50 AM
Umm... you would have one more Mars Rover for one thing :)

RM Mentock
08-22-2002, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by Keeve
Anyway, you have made my point even stronger. If we can live with 2-liter soda bottles, and the high-tech diskettes are actually 90mm in size, why the heck does the box measure the diskettes in inches

Maybe the same reason that the entire fucking world still plays soccer with goal posts that measure 8 feet (2.44 meters) by 8 yards (7.32 meters)?

Oh yeah, JRDelirious, I'd bet dollars to donuts that the speed limit would end up being 100 km/hour. As Babe Ruth once said, now there's a nice round number...

clairobscur
08-22-2002, 11:37 AM
Originally posted by Keeve
Thanks, Popup. "3 inch" didn't sound right, but I couldn't remember the right number.

Can I presume that in Europe, they're actually labelled as 90mm, to distinguish them from 133.35mm floppies? (or were those 135mm?)



Here they're labelled in inches, called "pouces" (former french unit slightly longer than an inch)

Achernar
08-22-2002, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by neutron star
Turning my thermostat from 72 to 73 would produce a more subtle change than turning it from 23 to 24. I like that.I was about to say that that's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, but then I realized that I prefer centimeters over inches for the same reason. Perhaps if I were more termperature-sensitive, if I could tell the difference between a 94°F day and a 95°F day, I'd feel different. But, even though metric weather reports wouldn't bother with it, there's nothing saying that your thermostat couldn't have half-degree marks.

mnemosyne
08-22-2002, 06:20 PM
But very few things are so sensitive that the difference of a degree C would matter more than that of a degree F - certainly not your food in the kitchen, and I doubt you could tell the temperature. Besides, there are such things as half degrees C, and tenths, and hundredths, and thousandths.....they can be just as precisely measured, it you really need to know, which most people don't.

Sorry for the -32 thing - I was thinking about the -40F/-40C point, and must have still been in negative numbers while typing :) I DO know that its 32F :)

t-keela
08-25-2002, 03:10 AM
Hey it's real simple, Americans are just smarter than everybody else. We have no problem understanding this strange fucking system that the rest of the world looks at w/ confusion.

That's okay, y'all can't help it if you have to do everything the easy way! Most countries can claim a specific history and nationality. So, you don't have to deal w/ 100 diferent languages on the street. Here in Texas, English is not even the primary language in some parts.
We have a heritage to protect or make, I'm not quite sure which. When you live in a country that is comprised of every damned nationality in the world. Yet, somehow seems to be able to make it work. Screw whether you buy your tequila in liters or quarts.
Just as long as you can get what you're after w/out getting shot or blown up.

Besides, it's y'alls idea to use this metric crap anyway. I kinda like jackin w/ people about weights and measures.

BTW: How many pickled peppers are in a peck? :D PEACE

Squish
08-25-2002, 03:35 AM
I still stand in the liquor department trying to figure out which of those bottles is a fifth and which is a fourth. :(

When cooking, of course, 8 ounces is a cup, 16 ounces (or two cups) is a pint, 2 pints is a quart, and 4 quarts are a gallon. Smaller numbers than the metric system and lots easier to remember.