I Just Learned Why 7-Eleven Is Called That—and It Blew My Mind
The answer is surprisingly simple.
7-Eleven is one of those staple stores that you can always count on for snacks, a cold beverage (Big Gulps, eh?), and of course, the famous Slurpees. But to be totally honest, I'd never put any thought into its name. That is until last night while binging Apple TV's new show "Platonic."
The new show features Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen playing long-lost platonic best friends reuniting after Rogen's character's divorce. His character co-owns a bar and while working with a coworker that just won't stop talking (we all have one) the coworker rambles, "and the 7-Eleven was literally closed, I didn't even know it could close! Isn't that supposed to be a 24-hour place? You know like 7 days a week?" After a brief interruption, he continues, "Anyway, where was I? Yeah so the seven is for 7 days a week but the eleven is um?" he trails off. Rogen shouts back in frustration, "It's when it closes, man!" To which the coworker responds, "Oh! 11:00 p.m.!"
My mind was also blown! An answer to the question I never even thought to ask: What does 7-Eleven stand for? And the explanation is so simple, I felt a little silly for never putting two and two (or rather, seven and eleven) together before. So just to make sure I wasn't getting punked by Seth Rogen, I looked it up and the Encyclopaedia Britannica was able to confirm the naming convention.
How 7-Eleven Got Its Name
According to Britannica, today's 7-Eleven company traces its roots back to 1927 as the Dallas-based Southland Ice Company. It sold ice blocks to households for food preservation purposes at a time when electricity and refrigerators weren't commonplace. The stores started to add food items for purchase and added Native American Totem Poles to storefronts to attract customers and changed its name to Tote'm Stores to match.
After falling into bankruptcy during the Great Depression and the repeal of Prohibition, the store came back with a focus on food and drink. By 1946, the store began offering extended hours: 7 days per week, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and to advertise the change the company name changed one more time to: 7-Eleven.
So, the hours it's open may be why the store got the name 7-Eleven in the first place, but that doesn't always hold true anymore. Seth Rogen's coworker in "Platonic" did have it right: many 7-Eleven locations are now open 24/7.