7-Eleven will celebrate it's 80th birthday on Wednesday, 7/11/07, by giving away 7.11 ounce slurpees. The world's largest convenience retail chain (32,400 stores) does not evoke strong feelings of passion. I'm confident we won't see people camping out for free slurpees. But there's something comforting, something nostalgic about this 24/7 purveyor of quick stuff. 7-Elevens certainly rate low on the ambience scale. In fact, they seem pretty much the same since I was loading up on Bazooka gum in the early 70s. The clerks are hit or miss, in terms of personality and ability to speak clear English. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that on any given day, at any given time, I can find an open 7-Eleven for a quick snack and thirst fix.
Some interesting facts: 7-Eleven was the first ... to open 24 hours a day, to sell fresh brewed coffee in to-go cups, to have a self-serve soda fountain, and to offer super-size drinks. I remember well hopping on my skateboard, paper route money in hand, zipping off to my local 7-Eleven to buy slurpees in collectible sports cups. I had tall stacks of emptied cups in my closet, which spoke volumes of the volume of sugary slush drink I consumed in my youth. And no doubt I'll pick up a free one Wendesday.