Zombies and C-Stores, Together Forever
It started with daylight savings time. We love it, of course: more sun, more outdoor activities, more retail potential for our industry. Little wonder that the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) proved instrumental in getting laws passed to extend daylight savings time, first in 1987 and again in 1995 (as documented on the wonderful NACS historical website, www.nacs50.com).
The downside is that the first few mornings after the switch to daylight savings time make you feel like a zombie. At least, we thought we felt that way until it struck us: what does “feeling like a zombie” actually mean? So we did a little digging and our research took us in a totally unexpected direction: we found C-stores and zombies are more closely linked than we ever could have imagined!!
The first step in seeing how requires going Old School. Back in the day, zombies were part of a cultural legend that originated in West Africa, then later migrated to Haiti. A zombie was a person, alive or not, controlled by someone wielding powerful magic. This kind of creature takes center stage in Dennis Etchison’s often-anthologized, award-winning tale, “The Late Shift”, which tells the story of an exploited work force of zombies dropped off from a van every night to work at convenience and other stores. Our reaction: it made us appreciate the professionals that do, in reality, populate our stores.
Then along came George Romero in 1968 with “The Night of the Living Dead” which introduced a whole new concept of zombie: mindless, marauding berserkers that do a lot of disruptive stuff. The C-store is a part of that mythos, too, because it turns out it’s a pretty decent place to barricade yourself against harm should a zombie apocalypse take place. If you don’t believe us, the convenience store has its very own entry in no less a source than than Zombiepedia.
Frankly, this whole zombie thing is quite ingrained in our industry’s culture. For example, two Maverik convenience stores, in conjunction with their local Kiwanis Club, fundraised for maternal/neonatal tetanus prevention with a Zombie Run that takes place around Halloween. And Mac’s convenience stores, a Canadian C-store chain owned by the same corporation that owns Circle K stores here in the States, held a Zombie High back-to-school promotional event last year.
And then there’s always Grumpa’s Zombie Flavoring, available at convenience stores everywhere.
In the end, even though we didn’t suspect it at first, we believe it makes sense for two powerhouse cultural icons to be together, kind of like Brad and Angelina.
Yep, C-stores and zombies. Together, forever. Which begs the question: can the Z-store be far behind?