Gas Station Owl

The other day our grandson, who’s five, and has latched onto Batman like no other, gave us some insight into what he finds appealing.

“I like things that are cute and awesome,” he said.

“But Grandson,” we offered, “Batman may be awesome, but he certainly isn’t cute. He dresses up like a bat to scare criminals, not to get pet by them!”

Grandson wasn’t having it. “Bats are cute.” he insisted. “They’re like chipmunks with wings.”

Well, to understand the five-year old, you must become the five-year old, right? So instead of engaging in an argument we were probably destined to lose, or freaking him out with tales of bloodsucking vampire bats, we decided to think it over instead. Batman notwithstanding, was it possible for something to be cute and awesome?

We thought about it for a few seconds and decided the owl might qualify, especially certain types like the barn owl and the Mexican spotted owl. They have a look anyone could love, unless of course you’re a rodent that’s seeing one bear down on you, talons extended.

This balance of physical appeal and power—and the fact that they are considered to be the wisest of animals—might be why the owl often is used as a symbol by C-stores and gas stations. The fact that owls are nocturnal creatures make them an apt fit, too, given that so many C-stores are open all hours.

logo_couche-tardIf you want a good example of the marriage between the owl and our industry, look no further than the parent company of SSCS’s corporate partner Circle K, Couche-Tard (French for “Night Owl”), whose mascot can be seen elsewhere on this page.

A leading Australian C-store chain, Nite-Owl, is known for its wide-eyed mascot contrasted against its bright yellow color scheme, which serves as a beacon in the night. And don’t forget Mason Bros. Red Owl, “where convenience is king.”

Did you know that 7-Eleven aired the first television advertising by any convenience store? The animated commercial featuring a singing owl ran in 1949.

In a related (kind of) story, a family of owls made their presence known during a ceremony at the last Whiting Brothers gas station still in operation on Route 66. Guess they understand gas stations and owls are made for each other.

And speaking of gas stations, I’m sure you’re all aware of the practice of gas station owners putting fake owls on their roofs to scare away pigeons. Sometimes it doesn’t work though. Guess the owls are too cute.

Yep, I guess there’s no denying the close relationship between our industry and owls (and we haven’t even brought up White Owl cigars, a C-store staple). I’m not sure that I’m quite sold on the fact that owls are the definitive combination of cute and awesome. Let’s just say they’re cute and owlsome and leave it at that. We might even get Grandson to agree with that one.