An inconvenience store truth

Ever think about how many times in the course of your life you’ve visited a convenience store? For most of you, it would be literally incalculable. You might as well count the stars in the sky.

One thing for sure, if you are a regular visitor to convenience stores, you have been to a 7-Eleven store. The history of the company goes back 90 years!

7-Eleven looms large in my consciousness because the location of the first-ever 7-Eleven store is just a few blocks from where I live in Dallas. 7-Eleven Inc. (f/k/a the Southland Corporation) is headquartered in the adjacent city of Irving.

Today 7-Eleven, Inc. has 56,600 stores around the world (roughly 8,500 in the USA) and 90% are franchises. The suits at HQ can’t control everything that happens in every store, but they can take steps to make sure that their franchised stores are granted to the best candidates and their brand is perceived in the best possible light.

Promoting good will among the public is an integral part of running a corporation. A time-tested form of promotion is a contest! And the 7-Eleven folks have come up with a doozy:

They’re giving away a franchise!

Understandably, the value of an individual franchise is subject to a variety of factors, but no matter the variables, the franchise fee isn’t chump change. For the winner of the 7-Eleven contest , the franchise fee (up to $190,000) will be waived – plus the corporation will make a donation to the winner’s favorite charity.

Sounds like a good deal, right? Well, if you want to enter the contest, 7-Eleven is taking applications online through April 7. After that, the top 25 qualified candidates will be required to create a video (2-minute max) on why they would make outstanding franchisees. The judges will then pick the best 7 contestants and post their videos online where worldwide web surfers can vote for their favorites.

But the top vote-getter doesn’t necessarily win the contest. Rather, the top three will then be interviewed by the panel of judges, who will determine the winner in July. Much like a Presidential election, the winner of the popular vote may not be the ultimate winner. Whoever wins out will be entitled to pick any available 7-Eleven franchise in the USA.

So if you’ve always suspected that having a 7-Eleven franchise contract was a license to print money, here’s your chance to find out. Sure, the competition will be stiff, but there’s always a last man standing.

Whoops! Silly me! I misspoke. You see, this contest is open to women only! I should have said “last woman standing.” Unless she lives in Hawaii, North Dakota, or South Dakota, where this sort of contest is taboo.

Come to think of it, isn’t a woman-only contest a violation of men’s civil rights? Wouldn’t a male franchise applicant have grounds for a lawsuit? Suppose it’s a man who says he identifies as a female? For a potential prize of $190,000, it might be worth taking a few hormone shots.

According to the contest web site (, they’re looking for “a fearless, determined woman.” Funny thing, but the words “fearless” and “determined” generally don’t come to mind when I ponder the management of a 7-Eleven store. But when you’re trying to attract women, ya gotta make ‘em feel special. Just ask any PUA. The contest slogan, by the way, is “Yes W.E. Will” (W.E. stands for Women Entrepreneurs).

In fact, the web site includes a one-minute video (“I Am Empowered”) with a rainbow coalition of egocentric women (“I am a leader,” “I am powerful,” I can do anything,” “I am creative,” etc.). The video ends with each woman proudly stating “I am a franchisee.” Wow! Girls, you are so special!

Well, unless you’ve been cryogenically frozen the last decade or so, you know that corporate virtue signaling vis-à-vis female empowerment has become a cliche of corporatespeak. Almost every company has assigned some corporate cuck to assert that it’s high time society tapped into all that dormant female talent. A petroleum geologist who’s just discovered the biggest oil field since Spindletop couldn’t be more upbeat.

The female-flatterer-in-chief at 7-Eleven is one Dorian Cunion, Director of Franchise Marketing and Recruitment for 7-Eleven. According to him, less than one third of the 7-Eleven franchises are owned by women. This is more or less in line with the overall rate of female ownership of franchised operations, but that’s not good enough for 7-Eleven. They’re shooting for 50%. Why? Well, stop me if you’ve heard this before…

You all know the answer. Anyone? Anyone? Trudeau? Anyone?

That’s right, Justin! Because it’s 2017!

Now, Justin, you’re too young to remember this, but in the early days of affirmative action, people were worried about it being tantamount to a quota system. The high sheriffs assured us that quotas were the farthest thing form their minds. But the new sheriffs in town are actively promoting quotas. Yet according to the social justice warriors, we still have “a long way to go.”

For what it’s worth, I think the proper percentage of female franchise owners should be however many women want to be franchise owners and are willing to jump through whatever hoops are required to achieve that status. So what does that mean? 25%? 30%? 33.33%? 35%? 40%? 45%? 50%? More than 50%?

Sorry I can’t give you a definite percentage. The correct answer is whatever it works out to be, anywhere from 0 to 100%.

At least Dorian Cunion doesn’t have to bear the burden of corporate social justice on his own. You see, 7-Eleven, Inc. has just created a new position: Manager of Diversity Recruiting. Now you might be scratching your head about that. Add up all the people you’ve ever seen working at 7-Eleven stores and the ethnic diversity you’ve encountered is a match for the United Nations.

If 7-Eleven feels it necessary to have a diversity officer, then no organization on the planet is immune. I think this new position will actually be a Manager of Female Recruiting, but you can’t come right out and call it that. Kissing women’s collective ass is commonplace these days, but when 7-Eleven does so, the word “Slurpee” comes to mind.

Most of the consumer surveys I’ve seen note that men are more likely to visit convenience stores than women. I think that’s because men go shopping with an objective in mind and they want to complete the mission as quickly as possible. For women, shopping is not a means to an end; it is an end in itself. And convenience stores don’t further that end.

Does 7-Eleven think that they’ll attract more female customers if they can trumpet the fact that half their franchises are owned by women? Frankly, I think handing out free tampons would work better, but I’m no marketing MBA.

Well, men, far be it from me to tell you where to buy your lottery tickets, tall boys, Ding Dongs, or Slim Jims, but you do have choices. A lot of the stuff you buy at convenience stores is also available at CVS or Walgreens or Rite-Aid. Usually, you can get in and out just as quickly.

If you insist on patronizing convenience stores, 7-Eleven is not your only option. There are other convenience store chains, national or regional, out there. In fact, there are plenty of independent convenience stores out there. “Buy Local” is all the rages these days, so why not shop at the mom and pop operations?

That’s one way to make sure pop stays in the picture.

Recommended Content

%d bloggers like this: