Featured, Society & People

Bothered: Convenience Stores Are Not Markets

I love convenience stores as much as the next person. The fact that there are stores that can supply almost anything you would need on the go at any hour of the day is part of why I love this country. Unfortunately, not all convenient stores were created equal.

There are quite a few convenience stores in Boston that advertise themselves as “markets.” Despite the difference in title, these store are no different from any other convenience store except maybe 7-11, which serves taquitos. So what makes them markets?

The actual definition for what constitutes a market is vague. It is typically accepted that a market is a place where the exchange or purchase of goods occurs. This allows places like flea markets and the stock market to fall under the same broad category. It would appear that convenience stores by definition, can be considered markets.

That doesn’t mean they should call themselves markets though. When you think of markets found in Europe or in the movie Aladdin, you think of fresh produce and groceries. Convenience stores rarely have produce at all, save for maybe some rotten fruit at the counter. Few serve food. I’m not even sure what 7-11 serves is actually food.

When you go into a market, you expect to buy something fresh. The only thing in a convenient store that is guaranteed to be less than a day old is the newspaper. You don’t go to a market to buy tobacco, Red Bull, or Twinkies. Though from the looks of it, you won’t be able to buy Twinkies anywhere now that Hostess is going out of business.

There’s nothing wrong with convenience stores calling themselves what they actually are. To my knowledge, there’s no political correctness issue surrounding convenience stores (yet). Convenience stores are free to be proud of what they are.

No one is fooled by the whole market name. A hippie or a vegan is not going to be tricked into buying a tin of dipping tobacco because they thought that a convenience store was a farmer’s market. The name is misleading and needs to stop being used.

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