On Free Slurpee Day, Giving is Receiving

Staff Writer
7-Eleven's free birthday give-away might just be a big marketing ploy

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Remember the days of goodie bags? Back when going to a birthday party guaranteed you a free little gift of your own? That tradition may have died out among your friends in elementary school, but 7-Eleven is keeping the freebie mentality alive and well.

Every year on the chain’s unofficial birthday, 7/11, the kind folks at 7-Eleven hand out millions of free 7.11 ounce-sized servings of their famous Slurpee drinks. Now I know what you’re thinking — “What’s the catch?” But in this case there is no catch, or at least not technically. There are no coupons and customers don’t even have to purchase something at the store first to get a Slurpee. Although, interestingly enough, USA Today argues that for that very reason people still will.

Sound confusing, even contradictory? According to the article, the giveaway is actually a marketing trick meant to trap you into buying even more. Apparently, Slurpee sales go up a whole lot on 7-Eleven Day, a whopping 38% last year to be exact. It seems that the size of the giveaway servings isn’t just part of the gimmick. At 7.11 ounces, the Slurpees are just big enough to entice your taste buds without fully satisfying your craving. As a result, many folks end up buying a regular sized drink to finish the job. Alright, it may be a little sneaky, but it's really only a scam if you let yourself get scammed. In this case, knowledge is power, and I don’t know about you, but to me the word “free” is still music to my ears.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.