You’re going to think I’m crazy. I can handle that. Because first I’m going to tell you about how the meaning of the term “convenience store” became associated in my mind—as an impressionable boy—
with pure gluttony. Pure hedonism. Pure, well, sugar.
Next, I’m going to tell you why—and how—more
than half a century later, in a touchscreen age, it’s
been proven that hedonism still wins out.
Finally, I’m going to explain to you how and why
American culture is evolving towards “healthier”
hedonism—and why c-store owners need to be
clued-in to this.
Stick with me.
First, let’s step back to the distant days of my youth.
At the tender age of 10, I attended an overnight camp
outside of Cleveland, Ohio. This was the summer that
the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in Canton, Ohio,
and we persuaded the camp director to send several
VW vans filled with campers to visit the football shrine.
The drive was long, boring and thirst-producing. After
enough begging, the pimple-faced counselor driving our
van pulled into a convenience store lot and said the four
magic words: “Get what you want.”
After two weeks of subsisting on camp food, those
words were like the commutation of a jail sentence.
We went nuts. To be honest, other than a can of Orange
Crush and huge bag of candy corn (which I suspect
was left over from the previous Halloween), I can’t
recall everything I bought that day. But I assure you, its
first or second ingredient was sugar. After two weeks
of sugar depravity, we made up for it in one stop.
Each summer that followed, we begged to go back
to the Football Hall of Fame. It wasn’t about football.
It was about the hedonistic c-store stop on the way.
BY BRUCE HOROVITZ
TRENDS AND INSIGHTS