“Great idea! Where shall we go?”
“Well, we’re in Beautiful British Columbia, surrounded by mountains, beaches and parks. We could drive to the Ferry and take a trip to the islands. Or we could take a trip to the south of the city to the berry fields and pick some loganberries or blueberries.”
“Um, it’s raining. Pretty hard, too.”
“I know, let’s take a trip to the only Kwik-E-Mart in Canada!”
And with that, we packed our bags with cameras and were on our way.
The Kwik-E-Mart, for those who aren’t familiar with this bit of pop culture, is the fictional Convenience Store chain in the Simpsons TV Series (now in it’s 18th season). The store in the show is run by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon (No one can ever pronounce his last name, so he just goes by Apu). In ‘the real world’, the 7/11 chain has picked stores sprinkled throughout North America and redecorated them, in many cases renaming their own products, so that they closely resemble the fictional stores. It’s part of a tie-in with The Simpsons Movie, which is due to open in theatres in 6 days. The result is…a 7/11 with some fun, often hilarious décor and signage, and a steady stream of smiling people, either customers or like us, tourists. It’s truly, marketing genius. On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons mentioned that the Kwik-E-Mart transformed 7/11s were the first time he’d ever seen ‘happy people’ in those stores. Our Kwik-E-Mart is in Port Coquitlam, a suburb to the east of Vancouver. It was a bit of a drive, but we did some shopping on the way back, and generally enjoyed our new freedom. The traffic, on the other hand, I could have done without. Doh!