The 10-foot-tall motorized cart known as the Shopper Chopper – which debuted years ago on the Solanco Fair Parade as a promotion for Musser’s Markets – appeared in a video by Mr. Beast this month.
Your reaction to this news will likely depend largely on your age.
“Honestly, I was at my stepdad’s last night and he said something about Mr. Beast and I had no idea who he was talking about,” says Brent Musser, who built the cart with the dad. of his wife, Calvin Van Sant.
But Musser’s 10 and 12 year olds?
“They knew right away,” Musser says.
Mr. Beast is Jimmy Donaldson’s YouTube character – a sort of godfather in a landscape of twenty-something gamers who have amassed personal fortunes by posting YouTube videos of themselves playing things like Minecraft and challenging with friends.
Donaldson, who now has an estimated net worth of $30 million, started posting videos at age 13 and went viral in 2017 with a video of him spending 44 hours counting to 100,000. Over 21 million people watched this. Donaldson has since gained a reputation for giving a lot of money, especially to the Arbor Day Foundation. Its main channel has 94 million subscribers. He has secondary channels including one with around 17.4 million subscribers where he and his friends react to videos other people have uploaded. This is where the Shopper Chopper comes in.
“It’s an Oreo that’s 100 times bigger than normal and this rubber ducky is the size of a skyscraper,” Donaldson says in the intro to a 10-minute video. “We’re going to react to normal things made much bigger.”
He and longtime friend and fellow commentator Chris Tyson make it to the cart at around 5:40, after a huge Dorito, a giant flashlight, a gigantic burger, colossal chicken nuggets (or “nuggies”) like the crowd of YouTube gamers I want to call them), a huge violin and, of course, a huge toilet.
Some of the comments on the latter go exactly as one would expect in this type of venue. But things also take a philosophical turn.
“Bro, honestly, maybe the world would be better off without YouTube,” Donaldson says as a man in the video they’re watching falls in a brown liquid into the giant bowl.
When the Shopper Chopper gets his turn before Mr. Beast, Van Sant drives. He now lives in New Providence but built the cart with Musser over a two-year period in the garage behind Van Sant’s former home in Kirkwood.
The Shopper Chopper appeared on “Good Morning America” in a segment for celebrity chef Guy Fieri and an episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage”. Closer to home, he appears in places like Shady Maple, where he was available for selfies for a few weeks earlier this year.
The clip on Mr. Beast features Van Sant cruising the streets of Chicago. He says the footage was shot by another internet personality known as Wizard of Odd. The wizard had been reaching out for months, and the Shopper Chopper had a reservation for a parade in Illinois.
“Same kind of thing. He’s a content creator and he needed something to profile,” says Van Sant. “So we fixed it. He’s from Chicago. I said, ‘I’m going to be near Chicago. So why not come and we’ll spend the day shooting a video. ”
A YouTube channel called iWonder has had success with these images which are still circulating online, he says.
“But he certainly doesn’t have the audience that Mr. Beast has,” he adds.
Van Sant usually has no idea when he’s going to appear on TikTok or Instagram.
“They are not my clients. It’s great that I’m getting attention,” he says. “But that’s not my business model…just getting clicks. »
The cart has been used in promotions for companies like BJ’s Wholesale. And although Musser’s Markets is no longer there – having been bought by Giant – the men aren’t ruling out a return to the Solanco Fair parade. They say the cart could make a good promotion for another company connected to the Musser family, Southern End Outdoors.
“Our business (for Shopper Chopper) dried up during COVID,” says Van Sant. “We attract attention. We attract a crowd. And that was the opposite of what you wanted during COVID.
A promotion for ABC came at just the right time. The Shopper Chopper made stops at stores in eight cities as part of the “Super Market Sweep” promotion with Leslie Jones.
“It was great because it was a huge project in the middle of COVID that maintained cash flow,” he says.
Another engagement was to a discount grocery chain in Canada that has a bright yellow and black color scheme. Musser and Van Sant agreed to paint the cart with temporary yellow paint and handed it over to this chain for about five weeks. Van Sant says he won’t do it again.
“Brent or I usually go with the cart wherever it goes. We keep it. We take care of it. We know how to get it in and out of the trailer,” he says. “An incredible amount of stuff broke just because they didn’t know better how to drive this vehicle across Canada.”
Mr. Beast’s video didn’t quite get it about the cart. For example, Donaldson says the Shopper Chopper holds a Guinness World Record.
It’s not, says Van Sant. He approached Guinness once.
“But the only thing they would do is if you were the fastest grocery cart,” he says. “And someone has already gone 60 miles an hour with a standard cart.”
He has no interest in trying to top that.
“Fun fact, Jimmy,” Tyson tells his friend Donaldson in the video. “It happened at the state fair when I was 12 and I got to ride there.”
It’s another failure. It was a different cart, says Van Sant. There are other big caddies, including one that does the NASCAR circuit, Musser says.
“Our claim to fame is that we’re the only one street legal,” Musser says.
But for Tyson, it seemed a distinction without difference.
“I swear I think it’s the same guy because you know someone who does that, it becomes his whole personality,” Tyson says.
“Existence,” says Donaldson.
“Exactly. He walks around everywhere,” Tyson adds.
“All I have to say is, if your big basket makes you happy, great,” Tyson says. “Live this life, brother.”