More 7-11 Ethics (What IS It With That Store?)


Once again (I think this makes three times) a visit to the local Alexandria 7-11 on Quaker Lane yielded a spontaneous ethics drama.

As I was about to get in line to buy a bag of Bugles and some vile tobacco products, two men began shouting at each other. A father with two young boys became upset that the other man was taking too long at the Slurpee machine, and when he protested that he was going as fast as he could, the father told him to “fuck off.”

“Hey, why do you think you can talk to me like that in public?” the man shot back. “You have kids…that’s a great way to raise them. Really? You really think that’s appropriate?”

“How I raise my kids is none of your business,” the vulgar dad replied.

“You have no class at all, buddy,” the second man said. “And now your kids will have no class too, and we all will have to live with them.”

I thought there was going to be a fist fight, but after some more back and forth, they went to their respective corners. I was behind the Slurpee neophyte, and I just had to salute him.

“Good for you,” I said. “That kind of public behavior has to be flagged and condemned whenever it happens, or we end up in a downward spiral of rudeness, and living in a nation of assholes.”

The man turned to me and thanked me. “I really appreciate that,” he said. “It means a lot to have some support.”

The duty to confront, and to enforce cultural norms of conduct. He got it. Everyone needs to, and now more than ever.

13 thoughts on “More 7-11 Ethics (What IS It With That Store?)

  1. Great decision Jack and a wise one too! Had you had tried to confront the jerk acting like a playground bully instead, you probably would have been told to gotten more of the foul language yourself. Shall we call this incident “deprived of Slurpee rage?”

    • “Road rage” came to my mind as well, Wayne. I always need to keep my cool around jerks on the highway. As a friend who’s a criminal defense lawyer says, “Don’t mess with those assholes. Most them are armed.” I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring ethics to a knife fight. Or a gun fight, for that matter.

  2. Here is a phrase that everyone should memorize and use in these situations whether you’re personally involved or not:

    “Hey, what’s with all this instant gratification stuff? Please be polite wait your turn.”

    I’ve used it so many times in local stores that some clerks in my area have learned to use it too.

      • Not you. Just because the customers are affluent does not confer automatic high class status. Some of the worst low class people I have ever encountered are very wealthy; and some of those showing the highest class never rubbed two nickels together.

        Indeed, unearned wealth seems to be a predictor for low class behavior, in the unethical and obnoxious attitude department. I live in a very affluent town, and some of the ‘economically well off’ are scum, as people.

          • I’m glad you asked… we divide convenience stores into three (really four) classes:

            Class 3, or ‘Metro’ class, (~1995-today) have at least 8 pumps (may have Semi Tractor Trailer suitable pumps), may have a truck pull through along the back for trucker fueling/sleeping/dining, are brightly lit day and night, open 24 hours in most cases, and usually has a well known chain fast food restaurant incorporated into the building, or a local greasy spoon in some early examples. These started along Interstate and high traffic state highways, but have expanded into smaller cities and some larger towns. Many of the early ones have showers and trucker related amenities and were designed to provide truckers an alternative rest stop to ‘expensive’ motels. However, newer ones (the majority) are strictly for the motorist, and sell everything from groceries to automotive supplies to toilet paper. These are clean, well lit, and emphasize friendly employees who will go out of their way to answer questions, give directions, and lend a helping hand. Multiple check out lines minimize wait times. They sell an experience as well as products. Displays will be bright and colorful, product selection is diverse and fresh, and sightings of well dressed good looking patrons are common. Tea may have flavored selections as well as the usual. Restrooms have multiple facilities, are clean, smell fresh and are well lit. There may be a ‘family rest room.’ These are the definition of High Class.

            Class 2, or ‘country’ class, (~1980-today) usually has four or more pumps, usually has a menu of questionable fast food (generic corn dogs, burritos of various stripes, donuts, etc…) and is open from 18 to 24 hours a day. Names usually are some weak attempt at a joke (‘Kum-n-Go,’ ‘Buy the Way,’ ‘Pump N Munch,’ or the never copyrighted ‘Qwik Stop.’) and there may be and Old Farts Club ™ hanging out at tables at any time of day. Ambitious ones share space with an off brand fast food establishment, like ‘Bush’s Chicken.’ They usually sell a nationally or regionally known brand of gasoline. Employees may or may not show an interest in helping a motorist, especially if they are from another state or easily identified ‘city folk.’ (Some historians believe this is where the phrase “You ain’t from around here” may have been coined.) There is a selection of snack food, drinks (including both types of Tea: Unsweetened and ‘Abomination’), an Icee machine (off brand of Slurpee), and ‘personal health and sexual aids’ (rack of condoms). Drugs may be sold there, both over the counter legal and illegal (usually in the restrooms.) Speaking of the restrooms, they are generally run down but semi clean (*your mileage may vary) and may have another selection of ‘personal health and sexual aids’ of suspicious age and quality in a wall dispenser. Patrons usually have all of their teeth, spit tobacco juice in personal spittoons (beer cans, soda bottles) and many smoke both in and outside the store. Common phrases are ‘How do you think the {insert local High School Football team name here} will do Friday night’ and ‘Gimmee $20 in “Classy Cash” scratch off tickets and a pack of Camels.’ Likely Not High Class, but there are exceptions.

            Class 1, or ‘podunk’ class, (~1920-today) might have two pumps, likely has a garage attached, and has a cold drink machine and (maybe) a rack of snack crackers usually manufactured in this century (those with ambition also sell chips and rent movies.) These may be the only establishment within miles, or may coexist with a drinking establishment and/or tiny community within the vicinity. They may or many not sell a nationally known brand of gasoline. They are open from when the chief mechanic gets there to whenever the beer runs out, at least four days a week (but not necessarily the same four.) Not much interaction with the casual motorist, unless they were towed in for repairs. Restrooms, when they exist, will resemble (and smell like) a cross between a 1930’s interrogation room and a sewer truck accident. Even ladies pee standing up in these establishments. Patrons may not have all their teeth, usually spit tobacco juice through the gaps on wherever direction they happen to be pointed, and may hang out all day (with or without beer in hand) as if they do not have jobs. Common phrases are ‘yep,’ ‘ewww-whee,’ and ‘hold my beer’ followed by ‘watch this.’ NOT High Class

            Class 4 is a more rare subset of ‘Metro’ class, epitomized by ‘Buc-ees’ in Texas (look them up.) There are from 20 to 100 pumps, a supermarket sized store, and specialty food and items dominate the floor space. Restrooms are massive, well maintained, and may contain examples of art for sale. These cater to tourists as well as truckers and local motorists, with some of the kitsch trinkets labeled with the store’s own logo, implying that they are a tourist stop all by themselves (clever marketing.) Located along major Interstates, this type of store is expanding across the nation. May not be High Class, but fun to visit.

              • You have to go with the smell and general cleanliness of the bathrooms, IMHO. Variety of products offered could impact the verdict. I have seen no-pump 7-11 stores that were definitely country class, despite their urban location. Others were the best of high class status stores.

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