Obsessed! These People Have Gone to Extremes for Their Favorite Brand
For most people a car, a smartphone or even a fast food dinner is just a means to an end, something purchased to make life a bit easier or more convenient.
Yet for some people, a company’s product isn’t just something they buy. It’s something they incorporate into their very existence — and sometimes they drag their kids into it, too. From iPhones to Big Macs, these men and women are obsessed with certain products and, at times, the companies who make there. Sometimes, it totally pays off.
Here are some of the most extreme brand loyalists you’ll ever hear of.
The Big Mac Eating Machine
With 563 calories, 33 grams of fat, 79 mg of cholesterol and 1,007 mg of sodium, McDonald’s Big Macs should be more of an occasional treat than a diet staple.
Unless you’re 65-year-old Donald Gorske, the all-American McDonald’s machine who has scarfed down several Big Macs a day since 1972. In 2018, Gorske cleared his 30,000th Big Mac to some media fanfare (he is a Guinness World Record holder, after all), while also telling WBAY-TV that his cholesterol and blood pressure are normal. Oh, and he also has about 6,000 pristine boxes of Big Mac containers, and has never peeled off those game piece stickers — presumably because the cardboard burger receptacles are just too beautiful.
He’s looking forward to celebrating his 40,000th Big Mac, a feat that would occur when Gorkse is 78 years old. Godspeed, patriot.
The Pizza Loyalty That Saved a Life
Despite the thousands and thousands of dollars some extreme brand loyalists will have spent, sometimes it all pays off. Take for instance Kirk Alexander, an Oregonian who ordered Domino’s Pizza almost every single day for over 10 years.
But then in 2016, his orders stopped flashing across the screen for several days. Worried, the local Domino’s sent out a delivery driver to check on Alexander, who was 48 at the time. When they arrived, the lights and TV were on but no one came to the door, so they called the police, who later found Alexander incapacitated and in need of immediate medical attention. Alexander was transported to the nearest hospital, where his life was saved. And it was all thanks to brand loyalty — and some very thoughtful employees.
The Over-the-Top WWE Guys
The sport of grown men and women oiling up and pretending to punch each other draws a surprising amount of rabid fans. Two of the most notorious are Brock Lesnar Guy and WWE Sign Guy, WWE fans who seem to be at every show, no matter where in the country, just to be seen in the crowd — and often at the most expensive seats in the house.
WWE Sign Guy has been attending 40 to 50 WWE shows every year since 1998 on his own dime. His shtick is that he always holds a creative sign and wears a red hat with a blue workman shirt, while Brock Lesnar Guy wears graphic tees and mimics Brock Lesnar’s entrance roar. Both individuals have basically become an extension of the WWE product, just without that sweet sponsorship money.
May the Force Be Everywhere
Few franchises have captured our collective hearts, imaginations and wallets as much as “Star Wars.” For one superfan, Keith Guppy of Sommerset in the U.K., “Star Wars” is a way of life. Guppy has been collecting “Star Wars” toys for over 35 years, and has a 400-plus square-foot room entirely devoted them. When he married, he enlisted a Stormtrooper and a Scout Trooper as a greeter.
But the Force Is Strongest Here
But Guppy has nothing on Steve Sansweet, owner of Rancho Obi-Wan in Petaluma, California, where the world’s largest collection of "Star Wars" memorabilia is on display. Sansweet not only has the most “Star Wars” items (about 400,000 of them), he’s also authored 17 “Star Wars”-related books and is a regular expert interview for all things “Star Wars.”
The collection might be impossible to price, but in 2017, 120 items worth over $200,000 — including a $40,000 prototype Boba Fett action figure — were stolen from the ranch.
The World’s Biggest Apple Store Fan
But Uricoli has nothing on the world’s biggest Apple store fan, who sadly passed away in 2015. When he was alive, Gary Allen travelled around the world to stand in line at Apple’s new storefront openings — attending over 140, according to the Washington Post — by the time he died at age 67. Apparently Allen liked the stores more than the products and created a now-offline blog which detailed Apple’s opening of storefronts around the globe.
A Kidney for an iPhone?
In 2011, a Chinese teen named Wang Shangkun went on the black market and sold one of his kidneys in order to buy an iPhone 4 and an iPad2. Things didn’t go well. The illegal surgery — which was facilitated by an organ harvester who contacted Shangkun online — has reportedly left him bedridden for life due to improper medical procedures. He only received 20,000 yuan for the kidney — roughly $3,000.
Or You Can Just Change Your Name
Of course, you don’t have to get that extreme to score one of Apple’s latest gadgets. Back during the iPhone 7’s debut, a Ukrainian electronics store offered to give away five of the phones for the first five people who would change their name to iPhone Seven. One man, a 20-year-old who used to go by Olexander Turin, took them up on the offer and became iPhone Sim (is seven in Ukrainian).
The name switch cost him a mere $2. Not a bad deal.
The Disney Princess-in-Debt
The land of Disney is magical, but if you get too obsessed, it’s also expensive. But for one U.K. woman in her early twenties, closets full of colorful stuffed animals and trips to the Magic Kingdom are a way of life. According to the Sun, Beth Louise Carr has spent nearly $29,000 — basically, the amount of her student loan — on trips to Disney resorts along with Disney clothes, pillows, stuffed animals and memorabilia.
“I add to my collection every year, buying up to three stuffed Disney toys at once and now it's huge, I think it would be worth thousands,” she told the Sun.
Dilly Dilly ‘Til You Die
A Louisiana man loved Budweiser so much, that his dying wish was to be buried in a Budweiser coffin. His sister, who owns a local funeral home in Maringouin, made his request come true.
ESPN (Only this One’s Not the Worldwide Leader in Sports)
Usually it’s the sports teams on ESPN that command a rabid fan base, but apparently the network itself has an extremely loyal fanbase. In 2004, a Texas newborn was named ESPN (spelled in all caps), but he wasn’t even the first. At the time, there were at least three other children bearing the network’s name.
And the trend has gained in popularity. In 2017, 12 girls and six boys were named Espn (pronounced “espen” and not spelled in all caps) in the United States.
This Tesla’s My Baby. No, Really.
Elon Musk and Tesla have a strong cult following, and there are a surprising number of people in the United States who are willing to have their progeny bear the mark of the famed self-driving car. According to a list compiled by Namberry, 130 girls and 11 boys were given the name Tesla in 2017.
Or maybe they were inspired by Nikola Tesla?
A Search for the Right Name
For most people, Google is just what you use to find your next favorite recipe, or the scores from last night’s game. For others, Google is a way of life — a way of life that should be reflected in your children. In one instance, a Swedish man who worked in search engine marketing became so enraptured with Google’s services that he christened his kid after the search engine giant. His full name is Oliver Christian Google Kai.
Hey Like, It’s Me, Facebook!
In 2011, an Israeli couple drew inspiration from Facebook and named their daughter Like, apparently because they liked the meaning of the word. And in 2011, an Egyptian couple named their daughter Facebook in gratitude for the site’s role during the Arab Spring. Then in 2014, a Mexican couple named their child Facebook — which prompted the Mexican government to put Facebook on its banned names list…right next to the name Circumcision.