10.02.2010 § 0

JC. When most people think of 7-11 they usually have a stereotypical image of a dingy corner store, a grumpy clerk sitting behind the counter, stacks of Mountain Dew, Cheetos, Oreos, and other miscellaneous snacks filling all the shelves that aren't taken up by cigarettes, condoms, or alcohol. I bet most of you would be surprised if I told you that during this exchange I basically lived inside 7-11. Yes, like western 7-11 stores, the ones in Asia are also open 24 hours and 7 days a week. However, the shopping atmosphere is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The only thing I can tell you is that Asian 7-11s, and the whole convenience store culture, is completely and absolutely different than what we "westerners" perceive efficiency and convenience to be. The 7 will become an integral part of your life if you're an exchange student, visitor, or a future resident of Taiwan. For indeed, it literally has almost everything.

First of all right outside my dorm is the largest 7, as Taiwanese locals lovingly call it, that I have ever seen. It even has mascots! 7-11 has mascots you say? Yes, they are RIGHT HERE.
In addition to the plethora of wonderful things that 7 sells, Taiwanese 7-11s constantly have product promotions going on to reward your loyalty as a 7 customer. At the moment for every $60 NT you spend at 7 the cashier gives you a sticker, and the stickers act as a form of currency. If you accumulate 30 stickers you can trade them in for a physical prize, buy some select 7 products, or use them as coupons in larger stores and restaurants around the area (i.e. Coldstones, Starbucks, Dominoes, Afternoon Tea, etc.)

The interior of 7 is even more amazing. It is well lit, well stocked, and is very perceivably clean. Although 7 does sell junk food their stock selection is wide and diversified. Produce? Fruits? Oden? Riceballs? Tea? Ice cream? Breakfast and freshly baked bread? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

7 also stocks basic sundries, like toothpaste, clothing detergent, and a small selection of makeup and facial products. But did you know some of them also sell mattresses? Blankets? Pillows? SIM cards for your cell phone(s)? For the price that they offer the products are pretty decent.

7 also offers some basic business-y functions for busy individuals and poor students: you can print, copy and fax documents, all for less than $.10 US. Taking a turn for the domestic, most Taiwanese people and some exchange students, also can pay their water, electricity and phone bills at 7.

If you're an exchange student, 7 is one or the most important places for planning your adventures around the island. The little green kiosk that offers printing and music show & concert tickets, also sells High Speed Rail tickets. The HSR, is literally the fastest and most convenient way to get around the island. And as of two days ago, 7 got even more convenient. You can now purchase airplane tickets at your nearest and most accessible 7.



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