The Chinese 7-11 Store

When I saw the familiar orange and green stripes on either side of the famous numbers I felt so happy. I’d only been in China for  few weeks and was feeling pretty homesick so it was great to see something I knew so well.

I bounded across the busy road, which isn’t easy to do in China as cars seem to be built without brakes and pedestrians are invisible to drivers, but luckily I made it safely and took a deep breath preparing myself for a taste of home before opening the door and then……

….silently berating myself for being so stupid.

I’d honestly thought that a plethora of British goods awaited me inside and I was looking forward to buying the stuff I used to buy back home. But I couldn’t, simply because, of course, I was in China and in this 7-11 everything was definitely Chinese. Natch.

Beauty Products in a Chinese 7-11 Store

I guess they wouldn’t get much custom if they only stocked Western goods!  I also guess that when Chinese people encounter a 7-11 in the US or England, they’re probably momentarily fooled just as I was.

Is 7-11 a global franchise with products unique to each market or has the name just transferred across oceans? If so, who was first to use it, the east or the west? I honestly don’t know, but location notwithstanding 7-11’s  all fulfill the same purpose, which is to provide cheap goods at reasonable quality, conveniently offered at a time and place to suit the customer.

Consequently in your Chinese 7-11 you’ll be able to pick up confectionary, toiletries, fast food and a variety of shrink wrapped meat along with pot noodle, ice cream, hot and cold tea and coffee, fruit drinks, milk, condoms and frozen and refrigerated food. They have lunch counters and in some cases tables, while the staff greet you with a loud ‘welcome to come back again’ both on your way in and on your way out, without fail, even though most people don’t acknowledge this. (I do because I’m too polite – apparently)

Now, my only worry is that when I return to England I’ll initially be surprised and disappointed to not find any of these goodies in my local 7-11 store!



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