The time I spent $21 on milk

I read on Buzzfeed back in October about a brand of chocolate milk in New Zealand that people were waiting hours in line for at the supermarket. Demand was so high that certain stores had to hire security guards and limit bottles per customer. A black market was created to sell the milk to those who weren’t lucky enough to get their paws on one in store. The world’s currency will one day be in chocolate milk!

Obviously when I traveled to NZ, I had to try it. The chocolate milk is made by Lewis Road Creamy (LRC) and a 750 ml bottle goes for a cool $7 NZ. Seeing as it was 5 months after the craze started, I didn’t think I’d have trouble finding it. Boy was I wrong. 

First of all I was looking in the wrong supermarkets. In Auckland I started going into every supermarket or convenience store I passed to no avail. I realized LRC only supplies it to certain stores: New World, Countdown and Pak N Save. But only certain ones at that. I had to stalk their stockists page to find out exactly which of these stores of these specific brands carried it. 

But then I went on the wrong day. Or actually the right one, but just a couple hours too late. I found out from an employee at one of the New World’s that they receive their shipments exactly 2 times per week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. The day in question was a Friday but I arrived after the last bottle had been snatched. Damn. 

When we started our road trip, I paused my search knowing I wouldn’t find a bottle til the next shipment day. We were arriving in Wellington on a Thursday and staying til Saturday meaning I had all day Friday to try and intercept a shipment. Not that I planned on spending the entire day looking for it…maybe. 

There was a New World around the corner from our hostel and as we were walking towards the CBD (central business district) on Thursday, I decided to pop in to double check if they planned on getting a shipment in the following day. 

But as I speed walked my way back to the dairy section, my scanning eyes finally found the bottle I was looking for. Could it be true?? I was so surprised because it was THURSDAY, in between the days my sources told me I could find the milk. They must have gotten in an early shipment. Meredith was curious to try it now just as much as I was since I hadn’t shut up about it for about a week at this point. We each bought a bottle and I practically downed the entire thing right there. 

I’m elated, Mere was thinking ‘wtf?’

The saga was over. I had finally found what I was looking for. But wait – tragedy struck as I discovered the milk was only sold on the North Island. Wellington was our last stop on the North Island and I HAD to get my hands on at least one more bottle because it was my last chance to try it. Luckily it was Friday, shipment day! I went to two New World’s that morning, told to come back later. 

We were climbing up to Mount Victoria that morning and I was nervous I would be too late for the shipment. The guy at the second supermarket told me not to worry and just to look for him when we came back. What seemed like AGES later (I really wanted this milk!!) we finally made our way back to the New World after our walk. I ran back to the dairy section only to see the small 350 ml bottle. Well, it was better than nothing. 

Until I heard those magic words, “Hello ladies.” It was my friend from before, expecting us. He went to the back the retrieve the shipment and came back with a trolley full of the chocolate gold. He had clearly waited for us to come back to put out the bottles. What a legend! He opened a box and handed me two bottles, no questions asked. I was so happy I wanted to hug him. Over chocolate milk. Meredith refrained this time. 

I paid my $14 for the two and then did chug one on the spot, I couldn’t help it. 

So, you ask, was it that good? It was pretty darn good, no one can dispute that. Was it worth the hype and the effort to get it? Yes because I’m glad I tried it. Will I be buying stock on the black market? No. Would I have waited hours in line at the market when it first came out? Yes. 

Eight days, countless supermarkets, three 750 ml bottles, two bored friends… That is how I came to spend $21 on milk in New Zealand. 

You’re looking at the newest Lewis Road Creamery model


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