There was a time in my life when I used to use the 7-11 regularly. It’s now a distant memory of days when I was so much less organised. Those days when I nearly always forgot to get something from the supermarket while it was open. Of course, now the supermarkets are all open until at least midnight, so it’s almost impossible to do. Which means the 7-11 hardly gets a look in.
But the 7-11 is a special place. No matter where you go, they all look the same. Better lit than a late-night tram, the pie and hot-dog dispensers in the corner, and huge rows of fridges down the back, resembling cryogenic freeze chambers in sci-fi films.
And somehow in less shelf-space than your average shoebox, they manage to fit all the essentials of modern life. Batteries, tampons, condoms, party hats, candles, pet food… and of course more varieties of junk food than you’d find in all the vending machines at Flinders Street Station.
And let’s not forget the Slurpee machines. It’s nice to know that some scientists, somewhere, taking time off from curing diseases and solving world hunger, managed to develop a machine for self-service icy cold flavoured-gunk drinks.
7-11 prices aren’t ideal of course. For a start there’s the "We’re always open" surcharge. Then there’s the "you know we’ll have it even if no-one else does" surcharge. Maybe they ought to give us a discount for having to step carefully over all the scruffy kids with bicycles who always seem to be hanging around outside.