There are boxes upon boxes piled high on the coffee table of the small Gold Coast unit. A nang pyramid, of sorts. Jayson* picks one up off the top. Even on a bad night, he'll go through maybe 400 of these—dropping orders off to hotel rooms across Surfers Paradise. During the recent Gold Coast 600, it was more like 6,000 in one night. "Schoolies Week was massive for us," Jayson says, voice muffled by a scarf he's pulled up over his mouth to shield his identity. "We would’ve sold about 10,000 each week."
These are big numbers. As the Gold Coast's only 24-hour nang delivery service, Jayson is already fielding near-constant orders during the weekend. But he has bigger plans. For him, this is a business, and he wants to scale it. By mid-2018, the plan is to become a nang wholesaler, supplying franchisees in cities around Australia. He's already got a guy working for him in Sydney, next up is Perth.
The dream is a warehouse, stocked with hundreds of thousands of nangs—because when you start ordering in these kinds of numbers, the margins get very profitable. At the moment he's shelling out maybe 45–50 cents a nang. If he starts ordering $10,000 at a time, that'll drop to 25 cents. He could even get custom branding, but has these might be lower quality. An "oily nang," he calls them, which don't contain purely nitrous oxide.
"I wouldn't be Australia's first nang millionaire," Jayson says. "I know there's someone [selling] who is making $25,000 a month in Melbourne."
For the moment though, he's a one-man operation. He packs every order himself, jumps on his motorbike, and delivers door-to-door for any party on the Gold Coast in need of nangs. That's a lot of trips up and down Cavill Avenue. "I've got people messaging me for a pack of 10, and I'm like, 'It's not worth my time, mate,'" he says, smirking at his phone.
"The Gold Coast is pretty much a city that's been manufactured as a playground for adults... it's a party city," he says, packing another order. "[Me,] I'm pretty much straight edge at the moment." Jayson explains. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do drugs. And yet he spends his nights walking into party after party of holidaymakers who've come to the Gold Coast, for the most part, to get completely cooked.
You get the sense this part of the job isn't exactly fun for Jayson. He'd rather be trying to optimise how early his website comes up in a Google search, or haggling a better deal on a bulk nang order. But every empire has to start somewhere.
Given the situation though, Jayson's strict professionalism is almost funny. He's so careful with his language, prefacing any reference to doing nangs as someone "misusing the product." He refuses to sell to anyone under 18, and even makes customers sign a disclaimer that's printed on his website. "By signing this document I declare... I am only going to use the products I have received in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions as displayed on the box or packaging," it reads. "I do not intend on inhaling this product."
Like a flight attendant giving a safety briefing, he can give a seamless step-by-step demonstration about how to use a cracker to expel all of the nitrous oxide from a charger—to ensure it's able to be recycled. Although it's probably a pretty safe bet that nobody on the Gold Coast has ever used one of these small hand crackers for recycling purposes after they've made all the whipped cream they need.
But Jayson certainly isn't anti-drugs by any stretch of the imagination. "I used to do a lot of drugs," he says, citing studies that show MDMA and LSD may be helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. "I just felt I've got everything I can out of drugs." His frustration flares though when the Australian media's recent discovery of nangs is mentioned, including the "exposés" about the "nang epidemic" taking hold of Schoolies.
"Over 5,000 Australians die every year because of alcohol, which is a legal drug," Jayson says. "There’s only been one death in Australia related to the use of nitrous oxide, and that’s been because of the failure of a tool." Actually, it's been two—but one was a baby who was accidentally given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen at Sydney's Bankstown-Lidcombe hospital.
Jayson's phone pings again, and he looks down. It's another order. This time for a buck's party out on the fringes of Surfers Paradise. They want a lot of nangs, and whippers to discharge them. And for some reason the guy ordering them has mentioned in a note that there will be strippers at the party. The next moment, Jayson has his helmet on again and is back on his bike, tearing off to fill the order and get out there within his two-hour delivery guarantee. It's drop number three, and his night is only getting started.
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*Name was changed