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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Power of Five (11)—Convenience Stores

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series "The Power of Five"
One year ago on Round and Square (2 July 2012)—Fieldnotes From History: Provincial Elections-i
Two years ago on Round and Square (2 July 2011)—Flowers Bloom: Prairie Enculturation
[a] Clever...RF
Below, I list the Five Convenience Stores.

These handy-dandy little operations can get you everything from a frozen pizza and ice cream to a little laundry detergent and the daily newspaper (they still come in paper, I hear). Would you like gas with that? Yup, many of them—but not all—provide both antacids and petrol for needy drivers. They sometimes have funny names, meant to denote quick service for busy people. Not all of these successfully advertise the product.

Several distract.

Among those funny names is one that made political news on the 2012 campaign trail. The Republican nominee spoke of a large chain retailing gas-chips-sodas-and-hoagies. It is clear that the alliteration (it rhymes with Dada) attracted him. So, too, did the hoagie computers. 
[b] Ubiquity RF

        Wawa Hoagie Computers 

Let me just add my voice to Governor Romney's. That hoagie-order-contraption is awesome. It thinks in the vernacular of "hoagie," and even seems to read my mind ("two kinds of cheese...well, certainly...which kinds?"). Like the governor, I was (figuratively) shaking with excitement after my first hoagie-computer order outside of Horsham, Pennsylvania last summer. 

How about other convenience store themes? Well, there is always the Simpsons, and its unfortunate—but strangely-not-completely-distasteful—rendering of convenience store life (it always makes me wince, though). What else do we associate with convenience stores? Well, how about robbery? You don't have much of a story line in Raising Arizona without the ol' rob-for-diapers trick.

Oh, and the cross-section of people who rob these places (as in Raising Arizona) are often not the sharpest knives in the drawer. More like plastic tableware. There is, to be sure,  serious and even tragic news in such locations (don't get me wrong: the combination of cash-on-hand and late hours can be highly problematic, and I don't make light of it). In addition to the terrifying stuff, though, some of the dumbest criminals in our midst attempt their stealthy moves in the preservative-filled aisles and tobacco-stained counters of American convenience stores. Some are armed; some get spanked (literally and figuratively).

So, next time you need cigarettes, chips, and beer, think about all of the drama that takes place in the convenience store world everyday. Thankfully, it's mostly bad coffee and stale chips (would you like gas with that?)... And computer-generated (sort of) hoagies. Mmmm. Wawa hoagies. Mmmm. Convenient.

Oh, and one more thing. We're not considering (at least for today) Japanese convenience stores. They are a completely different world—and an endlessly fascinating one—on their own. They get their own list of five—later. Can you say "tuna roll?" I thought so. ベーリー コンビニエント.
[d] Wo(e) is me RF

***  ***
So, of all the little stores from which we could choose, these are the five. Together, they represent are the totality

Remember, if you think that this is a "top-five" list, such as you read on Yahoo, you are very badly mistaken. No, these are totality.

Got that? It isn't "The Best of..." It is totality. These five are "convenience stores."

If that doesn't make sense...go back and read the introduction and the links!

The Five Convenience Stores (mostly United States)
(feel free to click the links) 
[e] "So...two cosmologists walk into a convenience store...RF
Casey's General Store
Circle K
ABC Stores

Honorable Mention**
Hussey's General Store
Gary Service Station
** The RSQ board will occasionally make use of the "honorable mention" opportunity to throw in a few more things to think about. The Honorable Mentions have a little bit of history and culture to consider. The RSQ Board has its reasons.

A brief (sort-of) explanation. 

O.k., we're talkin' (mostly) United States convenience-store-culture. So let's start with a chain with headquarters in Japan. Well, no matter. 7-Eleven as 46,000 locations. That is big convenience. Wawa has state-of-the-art hoagie computers that impressed both Mitt Romney and the RSQ Cosmology Board. Um, if we ate hoagies... Casey's General Stores dot all sorts of little rural locations in the Midwest (such as Grinnell, Iowa). Circle K circumscribes and penetrates the south. And, if you have ever been to the Hawaiian islands, you know exactly what I mean when I mention your ABCs. How many mainland convenience stores sell macadamia nut chocolates (and swimwear)? Case closed.

As for the honorable mentions, check 'em out. At least one of them sells guns, ammo, coffee, and beer.

'nuf said. The cosmologists have the last word.

[f] Milky gaze RF

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