The 'Xpandinator' is a free Slurpee contraption from 7-Eleven that gives you a significantly larger serving inside your cup. It is compatible with all Slurpee sizes and can be re-used indefinitely -- in other words, it's basically a free upgrade that lasts forever. On the downside, it has a bizarre top-heavy design that can lead to catastrophic Slurpee spills. Here's how it handled in practice.
7-Eleven is pitching the Xpandinator as the biggest thing to hit the Slurpee scene since Free Slurpee Day. Here's the overexcited press release:
Imagine a biting Alligator, riding an escalator, running from a terminator. Well, that’s XPANDINATOR. A brilliant addition to an already awesome contraption (Slurpee), crafted by a magic technician to give you increased Slurpee satisfaction! Like a dog collar for no dollar (free), this show stopper sits a-top-a your Slurpee, giving you that unpaid Slurpee upgrade for which you’ve always prayed.
...Why is 'Alligator' capitalised? But anyway.
As Australia's foremost/only Slurpee reporter, I felt it my duty to try this thing out in the flesh. This proved to be vastly more difficult than I'd anticipated. The below image is what greeted me at the first two outlets I entered:
Apparently, the lure of free Slurpee has galvanized the nation into a frenzy. Either that, or 7-Eleven's stackers couldn't be arsed restocking the Xpandinator stands. In any event, I was forced to embark on a winding road trip through Blaxland, Emu Plains and Penrith before I finally found a store with the elusive contraption in stock.
As you can see in the photos, it's basically a big plastic saucer that fits over the rim of your Slurpee cup. Rather sportingly, 7-Eleven has imposed no size restrictions on the Xpandinator -- it's compatible with even the smallest cup size, which is the version I went for, natch.
Dispensing the Slurpee into the cup is surprisingly challenging with the Xpandinator attached: if you're not aiming the stream directly at the cup's centre it tends to heap to one side and then slop all over the edge. In short, you need to pour this thing with more care than a pretentious Melbournian barista.
If you're over the age of 25, sipping from an Xpandinator probably isn't something you'd want to do in public. Slurpees are pretty juvenile to begin with, but this thing takes it to a whole new level. As a beverage for adults, it's completely ridiculous. If journalists were issued police-style badges, I totally would have flashed mine to save some embarrassment. ("I need this Xpandinator for a hard-hitting story! And these Krispy Kremes too.")
Another caveat to be aware of is the top-heavy design, which clearly isn't suitable for vehicular travel. Even a car cup holder is no guarantee against accidental spills -- you're basically driving around with a big saucer that's filled to the brim with liquid. (Pro tip: if you happen to spill some on the passenger seat, don't forget to tell your wife. I can confirm they don't like sitting in cold puddles of syrup.)
All in all, the Slurpee Xpandinator presents something of a Machiavellian proposition: on the one hand, it gives you an extra hit of Slurpee at no extra charge, which is unquestionably awesome. On the other hand, it's notoriously easy to spill and makes the drinker look like an idiot. After careful consideration, I've decided these are risks I'm willing to take.
Oh, and kids love it: