The florescent overhead lights glare as you stagger through the glass doors at three in the morning with an unlit cigarette in your mouth and eyes glaring red from the 48th consecutive sleepless hour. There’s an exam tomorrow and it’s time to buckle down and crack the textbook. The counter drones glance blankly at your tires face and return to discussing who is getting custody of their grandchildren’s pet poodle.
You are here on a mission to get everything you need to make it though the night and the 9am midterm – caffeine, nicotine, and Visine. You walk down the aisle for the eye drops past the day-old rotating hot dogs and newsstands with Playboy and Pregnancy sitting side by side. There they are right under an altar of condoms, headache pills and “anti-nausea” medication. Sitting conveniently nearby is a tower of cold “energy drinks” – “extreme” cans containing cocktails of caffeine, taurine, guarana, ginseng, and carnitine. You grab a couple, determined to exceed the “500mg a day” warning. A breakfast of frozen Hungry Man dinner or a sketchily wrapped sandwich are just around the corner.
The 7-11 is here to provide 24/7 convenience: supplying us with all of life’s necessities. Behind the innocent and friendly corporate exterior lies a a franchised den of sin catering to almost every vice you could care for. Captain Black, Hungry Man, and Trojan are waiting for you, along with 1.8L “Double Big Gulp” cups when a single heart attack just isn’t good enough. The real temptress however is the Free Chili and Cheese machine, dispensing gobs of yellow goop, or perhaps the smaller cheese dip jars in which “cheddar cheese” comes after garlic powder and hydrogenated vegetable oil in the ingredients.
Pornography, cigarettes, grease, gambling, drugs, and lubricants; these are the items that we really can’t wait until 8 in the morning to purchase. The convenience store’s existence is based around our vices, and not surprisingly so. Our busy lifestyles demand our comfort addictions as an esapce into momentary ecstasy and it is these that we truly cannot live without. Apples are not relegated to the very top shelves in favour of sunflower seeds with 9g of fat per 34g…in a 227g bag.
It’s not the convenience store’s fault – it’s simply following the laws of supply and demand.