Slurpee day is canceled — kind of.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, 7-Eleven will not be holding its annual birthday celebration and handing out free Slurpees on July 11 (7-11), but it will be offering customers a social distancing-friendly alternative.
All 33 million of the convenience store chain’s loyalty app members will receive a coupon for one free medium Slurpee in their accounts, redeemable through the end of July, “allowing you the opportunity to treat yourself when it’s convenient for you, while helping us practice physical distancing in stores,” according to a press release.
The annual free Slurpee tradition began on the chain’s 75th anniversary in 2002 and reliably attracts long lines of thirsty fans eager for a comped drink — creating a less than ideal density situation in light of the coronavirus. “Gathering 9 million of our closest friends in stores on one day just didn’t feel right,” said 7-Eleven chief marketing officer Marissa Jarratt. “This year, we have to make changes for the greater good. I hope you’ll join us for the in-person party next year.”
In addition to canceling the party and offering free coupons instead, 7-Eleven has also installed physical safety protocols at stores, including sneeze guards and distance-helping floor markers by the sales counters. Some but not all stores offer contactless payment.
The company is also donating a million meals to domestic hunger-relief food bank network Feeding America in honor of its birthday.
In May, one of 7-Eleven’s Bangkok outlets made headlines when an employee tried and failed to use a thermal scanner on a customer — a common practice at stores across Thailand — and instead sprayed the woman in the eye with hand sanitizer. Checkout staff took turns checking customers’ temperatures at the country’s 7-Elevens and turned away people not wearing masks.