7-11 is a chain of "convenience stores" that, in addition to odd-hours emergency supplies (it's midnight and we're out of toilet paper!), provides some key elements of the American liquid diet. I don't mean coffee, though theirs is quite good. No, I'm talking about mega-sized quantities of soda water --- the Big Gulp --- and ice slurry concoctions --- the Slurpee. (Doubtless both are trademarks, all rights reserved, etc. Fair Use, Mr. Copyright Cop!)

But 7-11 has an image, and it's not a pretty one. Upper-class folks, the ones who sip latte-mocha-ccino-vente drinks sold at insane markups, aren't often found standing in line with buyers of lottery tickets, phone cards, muscle-car magazines, or cheap cigarettes. And, though it hurts me to say this, the hoity-toity set prefer their non-English speakers behind the counter, not on the same side as they are.

So how can 7-11 broaden its appeal, widen its profit margins, and move up the food chain a step?

A modest proposal: rename the core product line. Made-up foreign-sounding labels sell well to the effete elite. Italian has been done, and will doubtless be passé soon if not already. Scandinavian tongues are reserved for premium ice creams.

Therefore, go Asian! "Big Gulp" rings lower-class; try Quaffsura or Sotasan instead, and then double the price per ounce. And lose the "Slurpee" monicker --- those syllables aren't making it onto any Social Register palates! --- and christen an identical product Hai Chi Tao Ming or Kamazendojo. Don't sell chewing-gum flavors, either; call the same tastes something exotic so that people will have to buy one to know what it is.

Meaning isn't important; it's the sound that counts, and the only sound that counts is that of crisp paper money sliding into the till ...

TopicHumor - TopicLanguage - 2003-06-12

Mark, I think it probably should end in a vowel, like software and auto products. Today Sony will start selling the "Qualia" a $3,200 camera. CEO Nobuyuki Idei said he found the word in a book by Kenchiro Mogi. "It comes for a scientific concept that refers to what happens in the brain to enable human feelings and perceptions" -- SteveCisler

(correlates: FasterForward, Comments on Kubota Logo Mystery, ObserveOrientDecideAct, ...)