Yes, it’s that time of year again.
Every year, at the height of summer, 7-Eleven gives away free Slurpees on its self-appointed birthday (July 11, of course). This year, the convenience store chain is celebrating the ripe old age of 87.
Normally, a sweet, icy treat in the middle of the hottest months of summer is a welcome offering. But this year, a bout of unseasonably brisk July weather could dampen the party somewhat.
But first, the more important facts: 7-Eleven will give away a free 12-ounce Slurpee in one of dozens of flavors to every customer that walks into one of its 50,000-plus locations today. Ever a stickler for theme, 7-Eleven will run the offer between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., or until it runs out of small-size cups. This year, the celebration continues with a week of free treats (including more Slurpees) for customers who download the 7-Eleven app.
For even more thematic continuity, the Slurpess used to be given away in 7.11-oz. cups, but that was switched to 12-oz. cups last year due to practical concerns. “Moms asked us for cups with lids,” which the specially made promotional cups did not have. Laura Gordon, 7-Eleven’s vice president of marketing, told USA Today last year. “That means less mess in the car.”
Free Slurpee Day isn’t just a move of pure goodwill for 7-Eleven. It’s also a highly effective way to get more people into stores and, oddly enough, sell a lot more Slurpees. Each location gives away 1,000 slurpees on average on July 11, according to the company. At the same time, actual sales of Slurpees surge, spiking 38 percent in 2010. Once at the store, patrons also spend more money other items, including snacks and gasoline.
The icy, slush drink is one of the cornerstones of the 7-Eleven brand; the original store in Dallas was attached to an icehouse, and the chain bought and licensed ICEE machine from its inventor early on.
The weather for 7-Eleven Day also looks to be fittingly summer-like, with clear skies and temperatures in the 80s and 90s across most of the US. But any “7-Eleven Day” sales boost 7-Eleven might be expecting in the days after faces an unexpected hurdle. A summer cold snap is expected to hit the middle of the country next week, with temperatures dropping into the 40s and high 30s in some areas. Some are calling it “Polar Vortex: the sequel,” and it could have people reaching for a hot chocolate rather than a Slurpee.
So get your fill of Slurpees this weekend, before things cool down. For more information, coupons, and a list of new Slurpee flavors (including a very summer-y lemonade) visit the 7-Eleven Slurpee page, here.