David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Tue Apr 7 13:37:33 UTC 2009

From:    Charles Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>

> The most recent _Newsweek_ contains an article "Stealth Health for
> Kids"; quoting "behavioral economist" David Just of Cornell U:
> "Removing food choices is a good solution until they [school
> children] graduate or until they go to 7-Eleven on Saturdays" (p.
> 46).

> I was unfamiliar with "7-Eleven" being used generically and
> abstractly (without "the" or "a" or a pluralizing "-s") for
> 'convenience store'.  Is that usage common somewhere?  (The phrase
> "go to 7-Eleven" gets a couple of thousand Google hits.)

I suppose i *could* use 7-Eleven as a generic, though as others have
noted they're not quite as ubiquitous as they once were,[1,2] but the
absence of the article doesn't really indicate generic use to me--"I'm
going to 7-Eleven" seems as natural as, say, "I'm going to Sears" with a
specific store in mind.

[1] IIRC, there was a convenience store just off South Street in
Philadelphia when i was there (mid- to late-90s) that played off the
ubiquity of 7-Elevens--it was called either 6-Ten or 8-Twelve, i forget
which, and had a strikingly 7-Eleven-looking logo.

[2] On the former ubiquity of 7-Elevens, i still remember an episode of
the sitcom "Perfect Strangers" in which Balki was telling his cousin how
backward the island he came from was. Apparently there were lots of
sheep, but only one phone for the entire island, so Balki's cousin
(quick internet search: Larry) asked if they had any traces of
civilization. Balki's reply: "Well, we have a 7-Eleven." (I should be
ashamed not just that i ever watched that show, but especially that i
remember one of the lead character's names.)

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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