Death By Brain-Freeze: The 7-Eleven ‘Slurpee Crawl’ Challenge

Today is Bottomless Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven. Armed with $3 and Google Maps, our intrepid sugar-fiend Chris Jager hits every 7-Eleven outlet in the local area. Bring on the brain-freeze!

I sometimes question whether being a Lifehacker journo is good for my health. Over the past year, I’ve been subjected to nearly every takeaway meal under the sun, Blair’s “Ultra Death” chili sauce with a Scoville rating of 1,100,000 heat units, all manner of caffeine-filled soft drinks and a pizza made out of human placenta. But completing the Sydney Slurpee Crawl has probably been the toughest food-related challenge I’ve embarked upon thus far.

For those who haven’t heard, 7-Eleven is handing out unlimited free Slurpee refills to anyone who purchases a Large Slurpee today (23 September). You receive a new sticker for each successive top-up, which adds a ‘badge of honor’ vibe to proceedings (i.e. — how many can you collect?)

My slightly sadistic boss suggested I push this deal to its limits for a Lifehacker article. Just how many free Slurpees can a human drink in under an hour? What kind of side effects can one expect? Can too many Slurpees actually kill you? Armed with a map print-off (handily supplied by Angus) and $3 in loose change, I set off to find out. The challenge — hit six separate 7-Eleven Stores and drink six different Slurpees in under half an hour…

Stop #1: 234 George Street (Cola Flavour)

My first stop was the 7-Eleven on 234 George Street, which turned out to be the most crowded store on my journey. When I entered, an employee was struggling manfully to fix the Slurpee dispenser as a gaggle of teens looked on. Presumably, demand was so high that the machine was struggling to keep up. (According to most employees I spoke to, Slurpee sales were around 50 to 60 percent higher than normal.)

“This is my third Slurpee today,” one girl admitted with a crazed, sugar-fueled gleam in her eye. (It was a facial expression I would soon be sharing.) Finally, the slurpee began flowing again. To kick off the Slurpee crawl, I opted for the staple Cola flavour. Having been walking for ten minutes in the warm spring air, the frosty concoction went down a treat. So far, so good!

Stop #2: 30 Carrington Street (Sour Apple Flavour)

I hit the next store seven minutes later. I’d barely finished my first drink and it was already time for another. The pleasant cashier lady informed me that I was the first person to request a free refill that day. This time I plumped for the limited-edition ‘Sour Apple’ flavour, which turned out to be a grievous error. As its name implies, this Slurpee adds a sour aftertaste to the sickly sweet flavour which nobody over the age of 11 would find remotely pleasant. It’s kind of like drinking syrup mixed with lemon juice.

I was only two drinks in and my stomach was already churning. It was at this point I got the first inkling that I was biting off more than I could er, slurp. Two stores down, four to go…

Stop #3: 64 Clarence Street (Kiwi Strawberry Flavour)

Still reeling from the previous acidic cocktail, I next chose the Kiwi Strawberry flavour which sounded milder. This was my first mistake. There’s a reason why these limited-edition flavours only stick around for a limited time — once you get over the novelty they invariably taste a bit crap. By this point I legitimately started feeling ill. But you don’t abort a Slurpee crawl halfway through. My manhood was on the line here.

Anxious to get it over with, I adopted the band-aid philosophy and slammed it down fast. This was my second mistake. Swallowing several mouthfuls in quick succession caused my throat to freeze up horribly: I spent several agonising minutes grimacing, grasping my neck and hacking up phlegm to swallow (the warmth eases the cold burn, see). On the plus side, it gave me an excuse to bin half the Slurpee without technically wussing out. Three more stores to go!

Stop #4: 333 George Street (Raspberry/Juicy Grape Flavour)

Next up was the 7-Eleven on 333 George Street. With the reckless abandon of a drug addict with nothing to lose, I decided to copy the guy in front of me and opted for a half-and-half mix of Raspberry and Grape. By now my taste buds were too frozen/marinated in syrup to decipher one flavour from the other: “horribly sweet” is the only description I can muster. How much more of this abuse could my stomach take?

Stop #5: 9 Barrack Street (Zilched Mango Flavour)

In a vain bid to curb my daily sugar intake, I went for the “Zilched Mango” flavour which contains only 1 percent sugar. Unfortunately, my run of bad luck hadn’t ended yet: for some reason, the drink came out completely unfrozen. I was feeling pretty fatalistic at this point, so I just shrugged and chugged it down. Stuff it. If fate was going to deal me a bum hand, so be it. In the end, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise; it went down a lot smoother than its frosty brethren and tasted like mango cordial. It was still far too sweet, mind. Thankfully, I could now see the light at the end of the tunnel…

Stop #6: 171 Clarence Street (Rainbow of Death Flavour)

When it comes to a successful pub crawl, you want your last drink of the night to be something suitably hardcore — another beer just doesn’t cut it. With this in mind, I decided to create a death’s cocktail of every available flavour — Cola, Mango, Raspberry and Juicy Grape. By some miracle, I managed to keep it all down. Truly I am the Slurpee ingester of champions. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to do some research on worker’s compensation.

Reckon you can beat our effort of six Slurpees in under half an hour? Send your photos through and we’ll update the article with the day’s biggest haul.

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