Viva la Bodega

Written by
Josh Goldstein
Josh Goldstein

Loosey vs. Slurpee

If you have been to downtown Manhattan recently you have probably seen NYC’s latest tenant: 7-Eleven. They’re popping up all over, and Slurpee lovers everywhere are getting excited. At a time where Bloomberg is banning large size sugar drinks, legislation that 7/11 is excluded from, it’s pretty peculiar to see the S’leven’s eyecatching logo populate the city streets. At least 134 stores are planned for Manhattan by 2017 – like an oncoming swarm of locusts, and an imminent sign of things to come.  In other words, does this mean the end of the neighborhood bodega?

Can independently run convenience stores survive an onslaught of corporate run and financially backed enterprises?  Granted Seven-11’s in New York are franchises but still the power of branding and familiarity of product, coupled with the deadly pull of the Slurpee and big gulp can create a trifecta ready to take on any adversary.  We are talking about the Darth Vader of convenience stores here.  So will you cross over to the dark side?

I made it easy for you by creating a list of pros and cons:

Josh Goldstein, Cold Cut King (2007), mixed media photographic collage on Russian baltic birch multi-ply plywood, 24″x16″, for sale by artist


1. Freshly made sandwiches both hot and cold. And who can forget the delightful breakfast sandwich.

2. Haggling– Yes in un-gentrified neighborhoods you can haggle with your bodega guy about the price.  Works half the time.

3. Those guys at bodegas work to the bone.  Long hours ensures some type of relationship and familiarity.  Who doesn’t like service with a smile.

4. No guessing about tax!  Somehow you rarely ever get tax added onto your end total.  Anyone else ever notice that?

5. Those legendary cool bodega catz! As we know, it’s a jungle out there – check out this video about their rough habitat.

5. Looseys– A dying tradition but for those struggling with nicotine addiction, you can get that cheat smoke at your local bodega when you’re stressing out.  Don’t pay more than a dollar.

6. If you know your bodega guy really well, you can even get things on credit.  That old style buy-now-pay-later that you see in movies.  Yes, this does actually still happen.

7.  If you are not home and expect a package, your local bodega is happy to receive it for you.

8. Look at the visuals! The exteriors of these places are truly unique. Not surprisingly, artists like Josh Goldstein, Barry McGee and Randy Hage who builds amazing miniature bodegas and store fronts, have all found inspiration in the Co-Bo!

In other words, the bodega is a cultural institution!

Randy Hage – Miniature Bodega


1. Slurpees – Even I get a hankering for a Slurpee every now and then.  Who doesn’t? They’re delicious and refreshing!


2. 7/11’s as a franchise have to uphold certain criteria for health standards.  So they’re always clean and no sketchy wildlife wandering around the store.

3. Taquitos and other delights provide ready made food for on-the-go eats.

4. Standards in employment guarantee that the employees aren’t stuck working 12 hour days, 7 days a week.  Besides minimum wage, you know your money isn’t going to abusing a fellow worker.

5. Popular brands can always be found and every store carries generally the same thing in the same layout, warranting that no matter where you are in the city, you will find what you’re looking for easily.

6. Very generic aesthetics – you may wonder if you are still in NYC or Orlando.

So there you have it.  Now you decide.  Who do you support?

If you like, join the fight against 7-11:

No 7-11 on Facebook

No 7-11 on Twitter


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