7 things we miss about going to 7-11 back in the day

Finding "Cancer" or "Ratt" under your Slurpee cup was a true prize.

More than 90 years ago, a wise feller working for the Southland Ice Company in Texas had the bright idea to start selling milk, bread and eggs along with his bags of ice. Two decades later, just after World War II, that company changed its name to 7-11, to reflect its business hours.

Today, the chain of convenience stores continues to pour out millions of its Slurpees and Big Gulps to people on the go — not to mention the tubed foods slowing rolling on the warmers.

But there are some things we miss about hitting up the 7-11 in the '70s and '80s. Here are seven of them, on 7/11.

1. Slurpee Surprise Cups

First, dig that groovy orange and pink cup. Taking a cue from Cracker Jack, 7-11 slapped prizes (in other words, stickers) underneath each Slurpee cup. For example, this 1979 commercial shows a line of horoscope badges. Though we're not sure the first thing you want to find under your Slurpee cup is a sticker for "Cancer."

2. Lenticular "Rock Star Stickers" stuck under Slurpee cups

The prizes got better over the years, especially if you were a metalhead into Ratt and Rush. In this mid-'80s commercial for "Rock Band Stickers," 7-11 proudly displays the lenticular action seen on its Tears for Fears and Police stickers. The Devo one was pretty cool, too.

3. The 99¢ burger bar

A burger for under a buck? That was a steal even in the 1980s, as seen in this 1987 commercial. For those brave enough to eat tomatoes sitting in a plastic bin in a convenience store, there was even a hearty topping bar.

4. The Super Slurpee Fun Game

Okay, the 1/1,000,000 odds at winning the "Electronic Fun Center" were not great. But 7-11 did give away 700,000 Marvel comics, which was part of the deal for getting superheroes like Spider-Man, Captain America and the Hulk to appear in this 1981 commercial.

5. Love Boat hunk Ted McGinley in the commercials

We've already come to the defense of Ted McGinley, once dubbed "the sitcom killer." It was not his fault he joined classics like Happy Days and Married… With Children late in their runs. Clearly, the public adored him, as you can see the sparkles in the eyes of the young women in this 1985 commercial.

6. Dabney Coleman in the commercials

You didn't have to be a blonde dreamboat to be a studly leading man in the 1980s. Take the great Dabney Coleman, for example. This mid-'80s commercial hit around his peak Cloak and Dagger and The Man with One Red Shoe days.

7. The "If it's not around the house, it's just around the corner" jingle

"Oh Thank Heavens!" is the most remembered slogan for the chain. But revisit this "The Dairy Store" commercial from 1979 and try to get the jingle out of your head.

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Andy 2 months ago
One opened about four or five blocks from where I went to grade school, and it implemented a ONLY TWO STUDENTS AT A TIME rule. The line of kids from my school still stretched from the doorway and around the side of the building. Never went there for lunch.
Lacey 2 months ago
AND the time when 7-11 was open from 7am to 11 pm.
ELEANOR 2 months ago
What about the horizontal reach-in filled with sodas outside the store. That was back in the day when you were trusted to pick up a soda and take it inside to pay for it. And what about when it opened at 7 AM and closed at 11 PM, hence 7-11.
UTZAAKE 2 months ago
Have lived 2.5 blocks up the street from a 7-Eleven for the last thirteen years. Can't say I've patronized it yet.
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