Conbini 2.0: 3 Innovations the Conbini Needs
And 7-11 serves gross pizza.
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The conbini is a magical place. It’s where you go to see your dreams come true. There is no sadness at the conbini. Pure joy pumps through the HVAC, sings in your brain, and uplifts your spirit. What’s the meaning of life? Why am I here on this earth? The answer is simple: the conbini.
As blissful as the conbini is, it could get even better. I’ve brainstormed some products and services the conbini should consider offering.
Strong Zero Slurpee
This could cause mass casualties. But I think it’s worth giving it a go. The Slurpee is one of mankind's great achievements. Ice pumped full of air and sweetened with toxic chemicals is such a treat when the weather’s hot. Now imagine traditional flavors like Cola and Cherry replaced with Strong Zero. Sure, there’d be bodies everywhere. Every 7-11 would need emergency services on standby in the parking lot ready to revive another goddamn fool who sucked down a Big Gulp in four minutes. It could get apocalyptic.
Perhaps there’s a test conbini clerks could administer to identify unworthy customers. The current test is an age verification button, but last I checked, no customer in the conbini’s fifty-year history has ever failed to get verified for cigarettes, porn, or alcohol. The conbini would need something stricter. For instance, to purchase a Strong Zero Slurpee, you’d need to be with a sober friend and buy a minimum of 800 calories worth of food to absorb the booze.
Japan’s birthrate is cratering. The dating scene has dried up. Japan needs innovation fast and something better than government-sponsored speed dating events. Enter Conbini Blind Dates.
At a specified date and time, men and women walk into Lawson and put together a 1500 yen haul. The hauls are displayed on a TV monitor. No one knows who shopped for what. You only know whether a man or woman made the purchase. When you see a haul you like, you write its number down. If two people like one another’s hauls, then they get them for free and are escorted to the nearest park or river for a conbini picnic.
I know what I’d be looking for. Melon pan – no. Fresh coffee – no. A lady with a Famichiki, pack of cigs, and a Pocari Sweat - put a ring on it.
I hate Airbnb. It used to be great. Ten years ago I stayed in a killer apartment in Zurich overlooking a river for $80. Now, I get in a backyard tent with a compost toilet labeled as “entire home” for $200 a night, then find out about a $150 cleaning fee at checkout.
But how about ConbiniBnB? FamilyMart sets up a bedroom, some flat screen TVs, and you and your friends get to chill at the conbini all night, while gorging yourself on all-you-can-eat-and-drink conbini food and beverage. There’s even a full-service conbini clerk, who is there to fry another batch of chiki! You never have to worry about a hangover because you’ve got an entire shelf of magical beverages to cure one. Hell, you’ll be fresh as a newborn baby by the time you’re finished raiding those racks.
Got ideas for how to make the conbini even better? Leave a comment.
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Item of the Week
7-11 is launching a sweet potato flavor monaka ice cream bar that looks exactly like a sweet potato. Monaka is a thin, unsweetened wafer cookie. It’s light as air and provides a crispy crust that contrasts with the ice cream’s creaminess.
The look is uncanny. The maker, Marunaga, even managed to insert dimples into the monaka to mimic a sweet potato’s irregular shape.
Paired with the sweet potato ice cream is sweet potato paste. It all adds up to eating a “cold roasted sweet potato”.
Could this get any more perfect?
From the Dumpster
The conbini has never done pizza right. In fact, they’ve only ever done it wrong. Whatever America did with sushi, Japan has done with pizza. Americans replaced perfect bites of sashimi and nigiri with a bunch of wet diapers called “Dragon”, “Caterpillar”, and “Philadelphia”. The government should sponsor a special visa program for young Jiro apprentices to set up shop in Anywhere USA to demonstrate what great sushi is. Hint: it’s not corn syrup (aka “eel sauce”), splashed onto tilapia dressed as crab and served with an avocado fan.
Similarly, Japan should sponsor New York pizza joint owners to open up stalls across Tokyo. First, they’d make a killing. Throw an American flag on the wall, put a miniature Statue of Liberty outside the front door, sell slices for 150 yen, and watch the punters cruise in.
For this to work the government would first need to crackdown on the criminal network that controls the pizza industry. Ever wonder why a 12-inch pizza with nothing but corn and mayo goes for 3500 yen? It’s because Mr. Suzaka shakes down every pizzeria at the end of each month for a “security fee”, pockets 80% of it, then leaves the other 20% in some politician’s pocket.
What’s my evidence for this? None. But how else can you explain Yoshinoya serving a lunch set complete with beef donburi, miso soup, salad, and rice for 648 yen while Pizza-La sells a 12-inch margherita pizza for 3200 yen?
Next week, 7-11 will introduce Tuna Onion pizza. It looks like a burn wound. The Sims has more appetizing pizza.
The worst part of this is average pizza is not difficult to make. Mix some dough, ferment, shape, top, cook. If the conbini can turn chickens into seasoned water balloons and make the most perfect pork buns by the millions, it can figure out how to make a decent pizza. I suspect the pizza crime bosses know this. A two-hour brainstorm session between 7-11 food and manufacturing engineers would put Pizza-La out of business. The money’s too good. They must have agents threatening conbini boardrooms with “potential repercussions” should they enter the pizza space.
It must stop.
Saw her at Lawson
She bought cigs and a chiki
Love at conbini
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