Little Lokos

Yesterday morning at around 8:45 I was on my way to work, sitting on the back of the 22 Fillmore, when I noticed a kid sitting across the back bench from me acting really weird. I looked over and sized him up to be about a high school freshman, maybe 13, African American, with a backpack next to him, and a bagged tall boy in his hand.

He was moaning loudly and it looked like his head was too heavy to keep above his body. He kept awkwardly shifting himself around, knocking into the walls of the bus. I leaned over to him.

“Hey man, are you okay?” He looked at me, not really able to get his eyes to focus on mine.

“Huh?” “Are you all right?” “Yeah, yeah.” He smiled with his eyes closed. “I’m cool.” I reached over to him “Well, you’re gonna spill your drink, let me get that for you.” “Nah, I got it.” And his head smacked against the bench seat. He quickly jerked himself back up. “Okay, I know you’ve got it, but I’m just saying, me, I wouldn’t mess with that stuff.” “I know . . . it’s just soda.” “Uh huh.” “I’m cool . . . thanks for your concern.” He tried to drink it but was having trouble getting it to meet with his mouth.


I didn’t want to be giving him a lecture or anything, but he was pretty out of it. “Okay, well lemme just get that from you.” “Oh! I think I have to get off here! I gotta get to school. Okay, hold on.” He took a huge gulp and handed it to me. I looked at the can, watermelon flavored 4 Loko. Caffeine, taurine, guarana and the alcohol of 3 beers. “Thanks, man.” He said and stood up to get off the bus, taking one step that took him right down to the floor. “I gotta get off!” He yelled as he crawled to the back door and down the steps. The bus drove away and I looked out the back window. He waved at me and then stumbled off.

I don’t think it takes a lot to prove that colorful, fruity sweet alcopops are marketed to kids. And I know that high school kids do stupid things. I did. But this made me pretty sad. Brown bagging it on the back of the bus early in the morning. He reminded me of a lot of guys I see on the bus every day. I don’t mean young urban professionals trying to look edgy in Luna Park. I mean old homeless people.

9 Responses to “Little Lokos”

  1. no loko says:

    My friend introduced me to 4 Loko last week, and those things are no joke! Three of us shared two of them, and it sneaks up on you, then hits you like a ton of bricks. I can’t even imagine a 13 year old drinking one. No wonder he was in such woozy shape! 4 Loko with caution, folks.

  2. bodah says:

    I guarantee you that 4loko will be banned within 6 months. GUARANTEE.

  3. Ilex says:

    This is not surprising to me for some sad reason. I have felt, even more recently, that 4Loko is slowly becoming the new Pabst. (especially in Oakland)
    I don’t think it will be banned, cause it’s been around awhile, and they just keep coming out with new flavors!

    p.s. hopefully that kid found his class alright

  4. kiya says:

    The fact that the company has a “chocolate milk” flavor is enough to think they’re directly trying to sell this stuff to kids.

  5. Rod says:

    they’ve been marketing candy-flavored beer to kids for a while now, i remember when I was in high school and they started advertising for Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice . . . remember Zima? surprisingly I see a lot of adults drinking 4loko . . . i’ll take a stiff Irish coffee over that chemical sludge any day.

  6. carlos. says:

    shoulda smoked a blunt instead

  7. Frank says:

    I’m 25 years old and I drink four loko on occasion. It sucks that thirteen year olds can get it, but I think there is a market amongst those of us 21+ who want to get loko, and I think it’s disingenuous for people to claim it is primarily marketed towards people under the drinking age.

    • Ariel Dovas says:

      Brightly colored can and drink, flavors like blue raspberry and fruit punch, masks the taste of alcohol, high sugar content, tasting like candy, fun name. You really think it’s disingenuous to claim that they market to youth? What else could make it attractive to youth? Did you notice the nipple in the banner I included above? Did you click through to the poll on the website for which new fruit flavor they should roll out?

      Just wondering.

      • Melissa Maudite says:

        Just to play devil’s advocate here, saying that advertising with bright colors and fruit flavors is only for children paints a pretty drab picture for those of us who are more mature, no? Something being “marketed to children” is such gray area.
        Consider the biggest demographic of alcohol companies, the newly 21/early-twenty-somethings who are binge drinking, still have one foot in the grave of childhood, and are susceptible to such flashy advertising. This is the target market, and clearly it works.
        Just because something is being marketed to a group with immature, undeveloped, taste, doesn’t mean it’s being marketed to children — in the literal sense, anyway. Psychologically, well that’s another story…