It’s a Slurpee-bration!


My latest from the Walnut Creek Patch…originally published July 11, 2011

Every year on July 11th, 7-Eleven, that bastion of convenience food and teenage revelry, invites all of its customers to celebrate with a “Slurpee-bration.” Last year, more than 3 million Slurpees were given out and, by the end of today, participating stores are hoping to top that with 5 million free Slurpees while supplies last. 7-Eleven is no newbie to the Slurpee-bration – it’s been serving up free frozen beverages on this date since 2002 and July continues to be the biggest month of the year for Slurpee sales. Slurpee-bration was in full swing at the 7-Eleven on Broadway in Walnut Creek this morning, despite the drizzly weather. According to store owner, Bill Bindal, people began arriving around midnight to partake in the free treats. “We’re 84 years young this year,” said Bindal. “It’s a very exciting day for us.” But no double dipping, according to his store manager, who wished to remain anonymous. “I remember faces,” she said. Down on North Civic, the mood was equally jubilant, although manager Derrick Clark’s take on double dipping isn’t quite as vigilant. “I just let people enjoy the day,” he said, remembering years ago when the Slurpee-bration included free food, entertainment and even a “Slurpee-gal” bedecked in, you guessed it, a Slurpee costume. “It’s more toned down now,” said Clark, “but we’re keeping it fun this morning by offering free coffee to anyone who rolls a seven or an eleven on the dice at the counter.” Not to be outdone by a roll of the dice, 7-Eleven franchise owner, Sandy Singh, was offering 12 ounce Slurpees instead of the traditional 7.11 ouncers at her store. Her display table was piled high with free brownies and chocolate chip cookies – a popular addition for the more than 15 teenagers who stormed the store for a pre-lunch slurp. One such teen stood outside on her cell phone calling friends to remind them of the give-away. “You should totally get down here,” she said. “The Slurpees are bigger at this one.” Comparison slurping seemed to be the name of the game today, as quite a few of the cars in the parking lot bore the evidence of earlier free samples. Empty Slurpee cups and straws filled the cup holders of four out of the seven cars in the lot. Since its inception in 1927, 7-Eleven (so named for its original store hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) has grown from the world’s first true convenience store (selling eggs, milk and bread in a Dallas suburb) to a social phenomenon with more than 41,500 stores worldwide. And while 7-Eleven certainly brings more to the table than just frozen concoctions (rotating hot dog, anyone? microwaveable chimichanga, sir?) for me, 7-Eleven is forever linked with late-night Slurpee runs in high school after spending hours literally cutting and pasting my high school newspaper’s news page together. Under the glow of the lightboard, the smell of photo chemicals seeping from next door’s darkroom, I and my fellow editors, slurped our way through issue after issue to the tunes of Thompson Twins and, occasionally, David Bowie. We slurped them on top of cars in the parking lot, in the backseats of a neighborhood mom’s station wagon. We slurped while we walked to the neighborhood pool, our clammy hands wrapped around the perspiring cups and our feet burning on the asphalt. And then, in college, we slurped again, this time during an all-nighter, cramming our brains full of information we’d just allow to leak out after the exam was finished. Slurpees, with flavors like Berry Blaster, Summertime Lime and even Alienade (in honor of the upcoming movie, Cowboys & Aliens) is as nostalgic as it is popular. For those Slurpee aficionados, here are a few fun facts from the official Slurpee web site (www.slurpee.com) to wow your friends with at your next party. First, for those of you keeping track of Slurpee consumption, half of all Slurpee drinks are bought between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. And every year, the number of Slurpees sold could fill up 12 Olympic sized swimming pools. And you know that horrific brain freeze you get after the first couple of slurps? There’s a name for that. Sphenopapatine Ganglioneuralgia. Area 7-Elevens will be serving up these free samples until late night tonight. As one gentleman put it upon exiting the 7-Eleven on Broadway, “ain’t nuthin’ like free.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “It’s a Slurpee-bration!

  1. Love it! A great account of Americana! I have quite honestly never had a slurpee in my life (or watched Oprah) and must do both before I die…

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