Drink up, New York. It’s 7-Eleven’s 85th birthday and people have poured into stores all around the city to show their appreciation (or to escape this summer’s perpetual heat wave).
Today, the chain cleverly holds true to its name as it offers free 7.11 oz Slurpees—its signature drink that celebrates its own 45th birthday this year as well—from the hours of 11 am to 7 pm at select locations. The store plans to give out 7 million cups of the sugary slush, according to its website.
As a guy in front of us lapsed into a coughing fit the moment he slurped his drink, his friend joked: “Must be a strong one, man.” All customers seemed in high spirits—who doesn’t love free stuff?
Amidst the high spirits, though, one can’t help but think of the Bloomberg soda ban proposal and its opponents that protested earlier this week in the ‘Million Big Gulp March’ at City Hall Park (the Big Gulp is another one of 7-Eleven’s signature drinks).
Although the march was named for the chain’s staple beverage, if passed, the Big Gulp would be exempt from the soda ban, considering that the proposal is only geared towards “restaurants, delis, movie theaters, street carts and concessions sold at New York City sports venues,” CBS reported in June. (7-eleven is considered a convenience store, and thus not included in the ban.)
Signs with the phrase “My body, my choice,” among many others, were present at the small march on Monday, symbolizing New Yorkers’ opposition to the imposition on their freedom of choice that the ban would employ.
Even though today’s free Slurpees are under 16 oz—the ban’s maximum size for sugary drinks—and are also advertised only as an offering of celebration, the distribution of free Slurpees may hold a slightly different connotation this year than it has in previous years.
As 7-Eleven goer Brad received his drink, he raised it in a toasting gesture and said with a wink, “It’s funny, [the free Slurpees] are kinda a slap in the face to Bloomberg.”