Quick, what’s seven times seven plus ten? If you can tell Ahem Alwan, a cashier at Lucky Candy bodega in the Bronx, you could get all the snacks your heart desires. For the past couple weeks, the 20-year-old has been quizzing customers on basic math equations. When a customer gets one right, they get five (well, more like ten) seconds to grab whatever they want in the deli.
Items grabbed in math-induced frenzies include: a rack of peanuts, cheese curls, bananas, a hookah, Alwan’s cat (which was denied), bluetooth headphones, and twenty-five feet of lotto tickets. Alwan’s been documenting the quiz-hysteria on TikTok and Instagram—I highly recommend shirking whatever responsibilities you have for a thorough scroll through his accounts. It looks like he’s only playing this game about once a day, ’cause, y’know, they have to actually sell stuff, too.
That said, the deli’s owner (and Alwan’s dad), Saleh Aobad, doesn’t seem to mind that his son’s giving half the store away in five-second spurts. “It’s impacting the business in a positive way, bringing awareness and attention to the store as well as spreading positivity throughout the community,” he told CNN. Indeed, Alwan says he just wants to help community members save a few bucks for necessities like rent and utilities. To that end, he’s set up a GoFundMe to raise money to, as he says it, keep putting smiles on more faces in the neighborhood.
When he’s not working at the deli, Alwan’s studying to be a pharmacist. This challenge is a sweet way of building good will in the community, but I have a feeling it won’t fly with prescription medications.