The Simpsons business
Business type Convenience store
Location Springfield
Owner Apu
Employee(s) Apu, Sanjay
First appearance "The Telltale Head"
The Kwik-E-Mart is a fictional chain of convenience stores in the animated television series The Simpsons. It is a parody of American convenience store chains, such as 7-Eleven and Circle K, and represents many myths and stereotypes of them. It is notorious for its high prices and the poor quality of its merchandise. The operator of the Springfield branch is an Indian named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. It was first seen in the episode "The Telltale Head" and since become a common setting in several episodes.

In July 2007, eleven 7-Eleven locations in the United States and one in Canada were transformed into Kwik-E-Marts as part of a special promotion for the The Simpsons Movie. For a limited time, 7-Elevens across North America also sold various Simpsons products, such as "Squishees", "Buzz Cola" and "Krusty-Os cereal". Also in 2007, gift shops modelled after the "Kwik-E-Marts" were opened in Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, where they are a companion to "The Simpsons Ride".

Role in The Simpsons

The Kwik-E-Mart is a convenience store that sells the usual fare at extraordinarily high prices, including the always popular Squishee. The Kwik-E-Mart chain was started somewhere in the Himalayas, where the world's first convenience store still stands on a mountain peak, an ironically inconvenient location. Visiting pilgrims are allowed to ask three questions of the resident all-knowing guru.

Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart is owned and operated by an Indian named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who mans the store with his brother Sanjay and is a caricature of the stereotypical "foreign born" convenience store clerk. Apu is an extremely devoted convenience store clerk, rarely closing his store and occasionally working 96 hour shifts. He quite often ignores his wife Manjula and their eight children so that he can be at the store as much as possible and is usually very hesitant to leave his brother in charge. Apu is quite proud of his work, and proudly gouges customers and sells tainted merchandise, such as rotten meat or expired milk. The Kwik-E-Mart standard procedure is to cover up tainted merchandise but if one is caught, they must blame a scapegoat. However, Apu once didn't follow that rule. In "Homer and Apu", he was caught selling rancid food to regular customer Homer Simpson by the investigative news program "Bite Back with Kent Brockman". As a result, he was fired and was replaced by James Woods, who was studying to be a convenience store clerk for a role in an upcoming movie. Apu was re-hired a short time later, after he foiled a robbery attempt at the Kwik-E-Mart and saved James Woods's life. Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart is quite often the target of robbers, leading to Apu having been shot on several occasions. It is a favorite target of local criminal Snake Jailbird, who has held up the Kwik-E-Mart several times.

Real-world versions

7-Eleven promotion

In July 2007, convenience store chain 7-Eleven converted 11 of its stores in the United States and one in Canada into Kwik-E-Marts to celebrate the release of The Simpsons Movie. The concept was first visualized in 2006 by FOX's advertising agency, and the approximately 10 million dollar (US) cost of the promotion were shouldered by 7-Eleven. Another part of the promotion was a contest where customers who purchased a slurpee or sandwich also received a coded game piece that had to be entered into a website. The grand prize of the contest was to be animated into an episode of The Simpsons. Prior to July, the promotion had long been known but the locations were kept a secret until the morning of July 1, when the 12 stores were made over with industrial foam, vinyl and actual Kwik-E-Mart signs. The locations of the renovated Kwik-E-Marts were: Bladensburg, Maryland/Washington DC; Burbank, California; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles, California; Mountain View/San Francisco, California; New York, New York; Orlando/Lake Buena Vista, Florida; Seattle, Washington and Vancouver/Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.

These 12 locations, as well as the majority of other North American 7-Elevens, sold products found in The Simpsons, such as "Buzz Cola", "Krusty-O's", "Squishees", pink frosted "Sprinklicious doughnuts" and other Simpsons-themed merchandise. The Squishees were Slurpees that are sold in special collector cups and the Krusty-O's were made by Malt-O-Meal. Several other 7-Eleven items, such as sandwiches, were sold in Simpsons-themed packaging. Another item is "Radioactive Man Comic Book Edition #711", a special edition of the Radioactive Man series made by Bongo Comics. It was decided that Duff Beer would not be sold due to the movie being rated PG-13, and the promoters wanted to have "good, responsible fun," though it was noted that it was a tough decision. However, a Duff Energy Drink was released in place of the Duff Beer.

The promotion resulted in a 30% increase in profits for the changed 7-Eleven stores. Many of the stores sold out of their special Simpsons products within a few days of the start of the promotion. The conversions lasted through early August, when the stores were converted back to 7-Elevens.

There was a mild controversy when the promotion offended members of the Indian-American community who felt that Apu is a caricature that plays on too many negative stereotypes. Despite this, 7-Eleven reported that many of its Indian employees have reacted positively to the idea, although it was noted that it was "not a 100 percent endorsement."

Universal Studios

On October 17, 2007, a gift shop that was modelled after a Kwik-E-Mart was opened at Universal Studios Florida. One also opened at Universal Studios Hollywood on a later date. They replaced the old Back to the Future gift shop and will supplement The Simpsons Ride, which opened in Spring, 2008. The stores sell Simpsons-related merchandise, like Duff and Flaming Moe's Energy Drinks.


External links

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