16 May 2021 will go down in history as the day that Shosha stopped selling cream canisters. If you’ve been to Shosha recently, you might have noticed signs indicating that they would not be selling cream canisters from 16 May.
“It has come to our attention that some customers have used [the canisters] for recreational purposes,” said Nabhik Gupta, Operations Manager at Shosha. After realising this, Shosha “accept[ed] that the prudent course is to remove nitrous canisters from retail Shosha stores altogether”.
Despite this, Shosha reckoned many of their customers were legitimate. “There were (and are), local business operators in food and beverage/catering/entertainment within the vicinity of some of Shosha stores who have been purchasing canisters for their cream whipping machines due to convenience of location and price point,” Nabhik said.
A student said: “Yeah I’ve been using them for my cream whipping machine too.” Critic Te Arohi was shocked to find out in an Otago Daily Times article last week that students recreationally consume the nitrous oxide contained within cream canisters and call these canisters “nangs”. Like Shosha, we had no idea that such a thing was possible.
Because Shosha didn’t want to “antagonise/upset the food & beverage/ catering/ entertainment customers,” they decided to continue the sale of cream canisters for two weeks.
“Prominent signage (poster) addressing the dangers of recreational use of nitrous, confirming that there will be no sales of canisters for recreational use or suspected recreational use, will be displayed during these last two weeks,” Nabhik said. “I trust that this will be a suitable solution to meet MOH’s needs and that of the community.”
In June 2007, the Ministry of Health did undercover raids to investigate the sales of cream canisters in Canterbury. This led to Cosmic Corner (now Cosmic) being fined $2500 for selling them to undercover Ministry of Health officers. Selling cream canisters is illegal unless the purchaser has a legitimate purpose, like a whipped cream machine.