sum 141 coffee coffee crap

Sum 141: Coffee, More Coffee, and Crap


After an extensive period of (google) research, we at FourTwoNine headquarters discovered that the average American spends $141 in a day. That’s a lot, right? Who are these people? 

We don’t know the answer to that, but we do know one thing: We had to know what there is out there in the world that a single man could buy for $141 in the course of a day. For our first installment of Sum 141, Joshua Albert is our man on the ground.


I don’t quite understand the concept of being able to spend $141 a day, but apparently that’s a thing.

For mediocre me, surviving on the abysmal income of an average writer and occasional restaurant worker, I find pleasure in the simple things

life has to offer: A free Dunkin Donuts coffee the day after an Eagles win; Discovering how delicious mixing canned chili and macaroni and cheese is, and finding a bargain $4 cashmere sweater conspicuously located in the t-shirt section of my local thrift store.

I live a minimalist life, I’m content with that. But not today, because on this Thursday, I’m living it the fuck up.

9:26 am, Franny Lou’s Porch, 16oz Ethiopian Drip Coffee.

$3.75 (including a $1 tip)

I start my $141 spending spree at Franny Lou’s Porch, a small little cafe in Kensington, Philadelphia. I don’t normally go there, but I stayed at my girlfriend’s last night and desperately needed coffee and found this particular cafe conveniently positioned on my walk home. It’s not a bad a cafe, per se,  just not my usual cup of tea. But to set the tone, it’s the kind of place with house made vegan sandwiches named the “anti-war” and the ”pro-redistribution,” they also serve hot tea in mason jars wrapped in koozies that are hand-made with yarn. I didn’t mind, but I could have done without the insufferable folk music before noon. The coffee was good and did what I needed it to do.

Usually, I spend $4 to $12 a day on coffee.

11:21 am, Quick Stop Mini Mart, Pall Mall Blue 100’s


Quick Stop Mini Mart is a treasure. It’s a place where you can get ice cream, eggs, toilet paper, razor blades, cheesesteaks, soda, roses, hard-boiled eggs, and everything else in between, any time of day, 365 days a year. It’s also affectionately known as Stab & Grab and is conveniently located one block away from my house. Regarding smoking: I know, I get it, I need to quit. But hey – it sure beats a plastic surgery, little boy or heroin addiction.

1:45 pm, Uniqlo, Blocktech Warm Lined Slim Fit Pants

$10, (Kind of)

Back in September — just a day prior to me getting fired from the kitchen job I loathed — I asked my fashion-forward girlfriend to visit Uniqlo and buy me some dress clothes for an interview I had scheduled the following day. I hate shopping and I trusted she would know what pants my butt would look best in and what shirts would hide my lack of interest in exercising. She purchased two pairs of pants, a matching button up shirt and a belt. She did well for the most part: I looked like a young, hip, dependable, and potentially good hire. However, one of the pairs of pants didn’t fit the way I needed. To be honest, they were too snug around my testicles and they made my thighs look chunky. I’m insecure sometimes.

I’ve put off returning the pants for a few months now, but today seemed like the day to do it. I knew I would be exchanging the Slim Fit, Flat Front, Khaki Colored Chinos for their on-sale price of $29.99, but I wasn’t sure what would be replacing them. I tried on a few shirts I’ve recently seen young, urban, professional men wearing around town, but I wasn’t sold. I looked like I was trying too hard. When I was starting to feel defeated, I noticed the Blocktech, Fleece Lined, Slim Fit pants that were on sale for $39.90. They only came in size S, M, L or XL. I approached a very friendly Uniqlo employee was standing by the pants display. I told her what size of pants I normally wear and asked her if a S or a M would be appropriate? The clever employee, whose name tag I didn’t bother to read, suggested I try on both. I did. I settled with the S. This is a wise investment considering winter is just peeking its dreary head around the corner.

Normally, being fulfilled with my current wardrobe, I would have just exchanged them for cash and bought a few pairs of Long Johns.

2:05 pm, Elixir Cafe,  

$3.25 (Including a $1 tip)

This is my second cup of coffee. Seeing a trend here? I was running errands around the city and wanted to stop, rest, check some emails and see how much more of a fuckstorm our election could have possibly devolved into since I last checked at 11am. No one has died. That’s good, I guess.

Other than the measly $10 to $15 I spend a day on food — unless I’m going out, which is rare these days — this is where my spending would normally cap out for a day. I still have $118.37 to go. I’m hungry and I have no idea how I’m going to spend this money.

2:47pm, Dolce Carni, Slice of Pepperoni Pizza, Peach Mangosteen Snapple,

$6 (including an $0.82 tip)

“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” the hit single by the Backstreet Boys in 1997, was playing in this Italian-American Pizzeria where I had a later-than-usual lunch. That song is terrible and brings back bad memories from middle school when I was called a faggot by the boys because the girls thought I looked like one of the Backstreet Boys. I was eager to try this peculiar flavor of Snapple and it was good. But when I finished there was some sort of gunk at the bottom the bottle that was mildly off-putting.

At this point in the day, it’s cold and rainy. I’ve been walking for blocks, which isn’t half-bad because I’ve been listening to Jay Z’s Dead Presidents II Pandora station. I’m torn between the various ways I could spend the remaining cash. $10 tarot card reading? A foot rub? I wish I could just save it, but I don’t think that’s part of the deal. I could just take a day trip to NYC? Instead, I walk around Reading Terminal Market pondering a dinner purchase, but I get hot and leave. I then go to the new Target that opened a few blocks away.

3:55pm, Target, Various Sundries

Total: $17.54

  • $2.50: Two 18.8 oz cans of Campbell’s New England Clam Chowder. New England Clam Chowder is fucking delicious and this will serve as lunch for the next two days. I have crackers and hot sauce at home. Quick, hearty and cheap. According to my wrinkled receipt I saved $2.48 off $4.98. What a steal!
  • $4.99: Archer Farms Potato Gnocchi. It’s allegedly imported from Italy. I doubt it. My roommate is Italian and I would have to ask his 100-percent-Italian mother first. It was sitting next to some pesto, which I also purchased. The two combined will make for a nice dinner.
  • $3.27: Classico Traditional Basil Pesto.Voi-fucking-la!
  • $2.29: Suave Kids Body Soap. The label says that it’s free and gentle, contains NO dyes. That’s fine. The bottle also says that it’s gentle on sensitive skin. I don’t think I have sensitive skin, but I feel like if it’s ideal for a baby’s skin, than baby soap is ideal for me. I don’t remember when or why I decided to start using body wash designed for children, but I highly recommend considering it.
  • $3.99: Threshold spatula. I had been meaning to pick one of these up. I always thinking “I need to get a spatula” when I make waffles on weekends.

4:21pm, Las Vegas Lounge, Old Overholt Rye On the Rocks.

$12 (Including Tip)

I had never been to Las Vegas Lounge and I’ve been mystified by its existence for years. It just doesn’t look like a welcoming, warm, enchanting place. But now I was hot and wet, my legs hurt and the pick-me-up and potential for an enlightening experience could be nice.

It wasn’t. First-off, and I’m not a complainer, but I thought the price was a little much. The bartender’s (adults), conversations about their halloween costumes was less than intriguing and there were only about four other customers, who all seemed they had been there for a while. I think an Incubus song was playing at one point.

I left. This was a waste of 12 good, hard-earned dollars.


4:58 pm, SEPTA Tokens (Pack of 3)


I needed to get back uptown and bought three. I was especially delighted that I had almost the exact change.

5:18 pm  STAPLES, Belkin iPhone 6 Case (Black)


I honestly just wanted to get out of the rain, that’s how I ended up inside a STAPLES.  When I got off of the subway it was just…there. I walked in not having a clue what I would purchase. I looked at notebooks, coffee makers (for some reason, the idea of making coffee at home has been been on my mind), ink pens, printers, bags of candy, office chairs, office chair mats (so cheap!), all before I finally decided on a new, black Belkin iPhone 6 case. The sneaky fella at the T-Mobile store who sold me my iPhone months ago conned me into getting some clear, rubber case that was just too thick and tacky. This will be a nice replacement.  

5:37 pm, Kitchen Kapers, Coffee Maker


It’s very well possible that this KUHON RIKON Single Cup Coffee and Tea Brewer from Switzerland could change the way I live my daily life. It just kinda shits out the coffee (or tea) in a pretty convenient’, not too messy, easy-to-use kinda way!

5:58 pm, Walgreens


I realized I would need coffee for my new, KUHON RIKON Single Cup Coffee and Tea Brewer from Switzerland, but I was tired and needed to get home. I didn’t have time to stop at some fancy cafe and buy their fancy coffee that I would be too shy to tell them I didn’t know how coarse I would need it ground. A pound of Starbucks’s finest Breakfast Blend would do just fine. So I bought that and some 100 percent Natural Sea Crunchy Seaweed Snacks with Wasabi Flavor that are also vegan, low in calories, lightly salted with sea salt, has no trans fat, gluten, MSG preservatives or cholesterol. This was an impulse purchase. I need to head home.

But first I need to pick up a bag of weed. I find a friend who had some weed to spare and make the transaction at my house. As is usual with buying drugs, there was nothing memorable about this drug buying experience. I buy one gram’s worth of high grade marijuana for $15. This was a good purchase and one that I would make on any given day.

Now home, fed, rested and caught up on the election (9:00 pm, GOP Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence, unlike his dog, narrowly survived death), I would add up the days reapings and realize that I still need to spend $8 .

God dammit.

9:25 pm, Stab & Grab, Sundries,

Total: $7.98

$1.99: A box of ten, lemon-scented, 30 gallon black trash bags.

$3.00: One black, 100 percent acrylic winter hat (Brand: Phila Winter Hat Style #001)

$1.50: One Bluntville, Pink Berry Blunt Wrapper

$1.49: One New York Inspired, Buffalo Style, .97oz Slim Jim


Maybe because I’ve never had mountains of it, I still have a weird relationship with money. My roommate thought the spatula was a tool solely to be used to spread icing on cakes, even after I told him it was a spatula. That’s on him. I’ll use the spatula for any of the multitude of things that it can be handy for.

The seaweed snack sucked-ass. It’s easily one of the worst things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

At 1:50 am, wrapped in a blanket, about to fall asleep, a loud chirp reminded me that I forgot to get batteries for my smoke detector that’s been beeping every six hours for the past few weeks.

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