I’ve been a Slurpee aficionado for ages. Why, a quick scan through the monzy.com archives turns up no fewer than three slurpee-related updates (1, 2, 3). So you can imagine my excitement when I heard of 7-11’s new free Slurpee promotion. To commemorate its 75th year in business, 7-11 provided free Slurpees to all of its customers on one very special day, 7/11.
There’s nothing more alluring to the impoverished college student than the possibility of free food. This food foraging instinct dies hard — even though I’m making enough money this summer to afford to order pizza for myself, I can’t fight the impulse to run to the office kitchen when someone announces that some leftover sesame chicken is congealing on the counter.
Another aspect of my training as a college student is a desire to game the system. When KFC ran their free popcorn chicken promotion, we figured out a couple of tricks. First, when you’re going to the drive-through, they can’t see how many people are in your car, so if you tell them there are five people in there, you can get five free boxes of popcorn chicken. Next, if you go through the drive-through again, but have a different person drive and order, they probably won’t notice. And finally, once you’re exhausted your drive-through options, you can still go in and order more free popcorn chicken from the counter, since different people are working there.
All in all it’s been a great summer for Slurpee innovation. In the course of only a few months, we’ve seen a new round of Slurpee straw colors (more pleasantly subdued, in contrast to the traditional neon hues), the invention of the remarkable “Slurp & Gulp” (22-ounce Slurpee + 32-ounce beverage in one cup with separate straws for each), and the advent of the Vanilla Coke flavored Slurpee, perhaps the pinnacle of Slurpee achievement.
The new straw colors (right) are a welcome change
from the traditional colors (left).
The Slurp & Gulp, a
remarkable new innovation
in beverage technology.
The only thing better than a Slurpee is a free Slurpee, and the only thing better than a free Slurpee is many free Slurpees. The problem was that only one free Slurpee per customer was permitted. This would not do. I decided to take full advantage of the promotion by visiting as many 7-11 stores as possible. I recruited Jon (my roommate) and Quinn (my officemate) and we embarked on a quest for free Slurpees.
Planning is an important part of an adventure like this, so I began by plotting out all of the 7-11s in the Redmond/Bellevue/Kirkland area. Yahoo Maps has the convenient capability of showing you the locations of local businesses near a mapped location. It does this for only two businesses, however: 7-11 and State Farm. Nevertheless, this feature is indispensable if you find yourself in a situation where you need to locate a Slurpee and some life insurance on short notice. Recklessly ignoring the potential of stopping at State Farm for brain freeze insurance, I mapped out only the 7-11 locations, creating the following route plan:
Trip Activity Log:
|10:56 AM: And we’re off! Jon and I look excited in the front sear of our phat summer ride, a green Oldsmobile Alero. Note the snazzy monkey heads in lieu of fuzzy dice. With any luck the man won’t notice our long lunch break.|
|11:02 AM: 7-11 Number One
Flavor: Mountain Dew, one of my favorites. Might as well start with the good stuff.
|11:04 AM: Cheers! Jon and I partake in the ceremonial first free Slurpee.|
|11:21 AM: 7-11 Number Two
Flavor: Lemonade. Nice and tart. Thirst-quenching.
Mood: Confident. This is easy.
|11:48 AM: 7-11 Number Three
Flavor: Cherry. I usually mix this with Coke Slurpee. It’s awfully sweet all by itself.
Mood: Cautiously optimistic. Getting a bit full.
|12:12 PM: 7-11 Number Four
Flavor: Blue Raspberry. A common Slurpee flavor, but not a very good one, in my opinion.
Mood: Confidence flagging. Consumption rate is slowing down.
|12:32 PM: 7-11 Number Five
Flavor: Mountain Dew Blue Shock. Doesn’t taste any different from normal blue raspberry Slurpees. I am not impressed.
Mood: This time I didn’t finish before arriving at the next 7-11. Definitely slowing down. Also feeling jittery.
||12:56 PM: All the Slurpee drinking was tiring us out. We decided we needed a short break. At the risk of taking up valuable stomach space, we stopped for some food at Jack in the Box.|
|1:49 PM: 7-11 Number Six
Flavor: Banana. Horribly disgusting. I only selected it on a dare from Quinn. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Mood: Stomach churning. Sweaty. Strangely giddy.
|2:11 PM: 7-11 Number Seven
Flavor: Pepsi. Interesting… I didn’t know you could get both Pepsi and Coke Slurpees.
Mood: Reeling from banana. Very queasy. Ugh.
|2:30 PM: 7-11 Number Eight
Flavor: Sour Apple. Wow, that’s tangy.
Mood: Wondering what effects this is having on my body. Have to reassure myself that this is actually worth it.
|7-11 had special commemorative cups just for the occasion. We kept every single cup on the floor in the back of the car for a photo at the end.|
|2:49 PM: 7-11 Number Nine
Flavor: Pina Colada. I don’t think it’s all that bad, but Jon and Quinn seem to be choking on it.
Mood: Each sip is difficult. Good thing it’s a hot day. Almost done. We can do this.
|3:02 PM: 7-11 Number Ten
Flavor: Coca-Cola, my old standby.
Mood: Exultant. Like a marathoner on the home stretch.
|A bittersweet victory. The triumph of our success (left) was mingled with some pretty wicked indigestion (right).|