If you're drunk, within reach of a laptop, and with just enough ocular-motor control to decipher the WiFi code, you're in trouble. Getting pissed and being on the internet is essentially giving yourself access to everyone in the world and all the things that can be bought with money. Those misguided emails to Cute John in Admin and the gimp suit delivered to your flatmate's office (because, banter?) can probably be traced back to half bottle of Chardonnay and a nearby keyboard. Don't drink and Google Chrome, kids.
That is unless, like 27-year-old Daniel Sobey-Harker from London, you're the type of drunk whose booze-addled mind is prone to spontaneous acts of mad generosity. In which case, carry right on for the collective amusement of the online news cycle!
On Tuesday night, feeling a little tipsy after a work shindig, generous Daniel had an urge to buy pizza for someone in the US. To source a recipient for his gratis pie, the marketing officer turned to that smorgasboard of pizza-obsessed internet strangers: Reddit.
Posting on the site's Random Acts of Pizza board, Daniel asked, "Can someone help me (UK) buy a pizza for someone in the US? I'll reward whoever can get me a method that works."
The post received a number of responses (guys living in their parents' respective basements really like free pizza, who knew?) but the problem came when he attempted to pay for the pizza. Turns out the Papa John's online ordering system isn't really geared up for transatlantic pizza delivery, so Daniel turned to Bitcoin. He purchased two of the digital coins, not realising that they would cost him £350 ($550).
As any drunken guy with a thread of hangry Redditors and Bitcoins burning a hole in his virtual pocket would, Daniel stayed up until 4 AM, spending the digital currency on pizza for 30 strangers.
While most of us would want to forget the whole escapade in the cold light of day with a pile of cheese toasties, Daniel repeated the stunt last night, using the remainder of his Bitcoin stash to give away yet more pizza. I called him to ask find out why the fuck.
MUNCHIES: Hi Daniel, so how did you end up buying pizzas for total strangers? Daniel Sobey-Harker: It started out as a flippant comment to one guy. I'm working for a new social platform, Campus Society, and this guy in the States had been helping us out and I said, you know, "I'll buy you a pizza sometime." Turns out that was a fucking nightmare just because we're in the UK and he's in the US.
Right, but how did that spiral into buying $550 worth of pizzas? Turns out buying food products in the US from the UK is a nightmare cos none of the usual online payment systems work if you have an overseas address. I went onto Reddit to ask for advice and some guy suggested Bitcoins. It's been awhile since I bought Bitcoins, but I thought I'd give it a go. I'd been at a work social and was, um … merry.
How merry were you, Daniel? Roughly nine beers, two Kopparbergs, and half a bottle of gin worth of merriness. So about a six-and-a-half out of ten merry, I'd say. Basically not an ideal state for buying Bitcoins. Or being on Reddit. I bought two Bitcoins just to see if it was working. They used to be worth like 10p each. That came to about $550.
You couldn't get the cash back? Converting Bitcoins back to pounds is a real hassle.
OK, so why did you decide to blow it all on pizza for strangers? I thought fuck it, that money's gone now. What else am I going to spend it on? In the clear light of day, I probably could have spent them a bit more productively. But people were commenting with these really heartfelt stories. There were people who'd been dumped, lost their jobs, drug addicts saying they'd blown all their cash but would kill for something to eat. I felt for them.
Did you get any weird requests? Let's see. Around 25 offers of sexual favours in exchange for pizza, including one couple who said I could watch them have sex on Skype in exchange for pizza. I didn't take them up on it. Three people asked if I'd swap pizza for weed, 15 unsolicited dick pics, and eight death threats. As in, explicitly saying they would find where I live and kill me. So, yeah.
It sounds like things got a bit out of hand. It was when people started pouring out their lives in private messages that I started to see how big it had got. I realised I couldn't back out on my promise.
Is that why you decided to do it for a second time last night? There were some Bitcoins left over anyway and while I might have made some promises while drunk, if I don't follow through on them I'm going to look like an absolute pillock.
How did round two go? It was kind of insane. The thread got really popular really fast, I guess because people had heard about the first one. Two hours in, I had over 450 comments. By the end, there were thousands. I managed to spend all the Bitcoins. It was a lot of pizza. Let it be said I'm a man of my word.
Would you do it again? Are you just that nice? Oh, nobody is that nice. Well I'm not, anyway. But it was fun.
I'm sure. Thanks for talking with me, Daniel.