By this morning, John Hayden's small Arlington kitchen will be pretty much unnavigable because of the stacks of Coca-Cola cans and bottles he's picked up on "Coke raids" of supermarkets and drug stores the past few days.

Shortly before he and his girlfriend, Bonita Billman, went out on another raid last night, the 23-year-old paralegal at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington said he'd been able to pick up only 13 six-packs of The Real Thing with the cash he had on him during his stops.

Hayden's searches are becoming frantic because, as Coca-Cola officials said yesterday, he most likely won't be able to buy the soft drink he grew up with next week. By then, all local store shelves are expected to have been restocked with the new Coca-Cola the company unveiled to mixed reactions last week.

"I can't believe they believe the new Coke is better," said Hayden, a two-liters-a-day man. "Yes, we're hoarding the old Coke , for sure . . . . I think the new Coke is flat and has a Pepsi after-taste."

Donald Ulrich, president of the Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which includes the Washington area in its 8 million-home franchise territory, said yesterday that Hayden is in the minority.

"There's probably a minimal amount of those incidents going on," Ulrich said of the hoarding. He said that, of the 50,000 outlets covered in his territory, the firm is getting reports of hoarding from only one out of every 500 or 600 outlets.

Spokesmen for both Giant Food and Safeway supermarkets here said yesterday that they are unaware of any consumer run on the "old" Coke. This assessment was echoed by several individual store managers.

Ulrich, whose office is in Silver Spring, and a company spokesman in Atlanta, Coca-Cola's corporate headquarters, said consumer tests have shown the new Coke is preferred, 61 percent to 39 percent.

But the figures don't appease the Haydens of the world, who are outraged that Coca-Cola tinkered with the formula that made Coke an international success, with 1.4 billion gallons of the soft drink's syrup alone sold in 1984. (The firm won't divulge other figures.)

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Billman, who has joined Hayden in calling Coke's consumer reaction line (800-GET-COKE) to complain about the new drink. CAPTION: Picture/one: John Hayden, who dislikes the new taste of his once-favorite soft drink, has been making "Coke raids" to built a board. The Real Thing Grows Ever Scarcer Old Coke Fans Never Say Die, They Just Hoard Away By Nancy Scannell Washington Post Staff Writer

By this morning, John Hayden's small Arlington kitchen will be pretty much unnavigable because of the stacks of Coca-Cola cans and bottles he's picked up on "Coke raids" of supermarkets and drug stores the past few days.

Shortly before he and his girlfriend, Bonita Billman, went out on another raid last night, the 23-year-old paralegal at the Williams & Connolly law firm in Washington said he'd been able to pick up only 13 six-packs of The Real Thing with the cash he had on him during his stops.

Hayden's searches are becoming frantic because, as Coca-Cola officials said yesterday, he most likely won't be able to buy the soft drink he grew up with next week. By then, all local store shelves are expected to have been restocked with the new Coca-Cola the company unveiled to mixed reactions last week.

"I can't believe they believe the new Coke is better," said Hayden, a two-liters-a-day man. "Yes, we're hoarding the old Coke , for sure . . . . I think the new Coke is flat and has a Pepsi after-taste."

Donald Ulrich, president of the Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Co., which includes the Washington area in its 8 million-home franchise territory, said yesterday that Hayden is in the minority.

"There's probably a minimal amount of those incidents going on," Ulrich said of the hoarding. He said that, of the 50,000 outlets covered in his territory, the firm is getting reports of hoarding from only one out of every 500 or 600 outlets.

Spokesmen for both Giant Food and Safeway supermarkets here said yesterday that they are unaware of any consumer run on the "old" Coke. This assessment was echoed by several individual store managers.

Ulrich, whose office is in Silver Spring, and a company spokesman in Atlanta, Coca-Cola's corporate headquarters, said consumer tests have shown the new Coke is preferred, 61 percent to 39 percent.

But the figures don't appease the Haydens of the world, who are outraged that Coca-Cola tinkered with the formula that made Coke an international success, with 1.4 billion gallons of the soft drink's syrup alone sold in 1984. (The firm won't divulge other figures.)

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it," said Billman, who has joined Hayden in calling Coke's consumer reaction line (800-GET-COKE) to complain about the new drink.Picture, John Hayden, who dislikes the new taste of his once-favorite soft drink, has been making "Coke raids" to built a board. Fred Sweets -- The Washington Post