Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wait, is this true? The public just gets free drinks at 7/11?

The Oregonian has a story today about how a 7/11 store in downtown Portland has stopped a longtime practice of giving cops free beverages. The theory is that if a store with a theft problem makes a public show of giving cops free drinks, crooks will think twice before trying to rob the store because odds are decent that a (thirsty) cop could show up at any minute. There's nothing unusual about that--I've heard variations of this story in every city I've ever lived in. However, my eye was drawn to several other items in the story, notably, the idea that 7/11 just gives out drinks to anyone who wants one. For example:

Smith said he also spoke with Amir Gharagozly, the owner of the 7-Eleven, and learned that he offers complimentary drinks to other people who frequent the store. The owner even told him it was a 7-Eleven corporate policy at one time to give complimentary drinks "for anybody who came in and asked for it," Smith said.
Gharagozly said the only thing he does allow police to do at night is use his bathroom -- their presence is good for his business. Like the general public, he said, they also can get a complimentary cup of coffee, fountain soda or Slurpee. [italics mine]
Have I been living under a rock all these years? Can the public really just walk into any 7/11 and get a free drink, even a Slurpee?