Why everyone needs to go to a Taiwanese convenience store

A 7-11 convenience store in Taiwan (Shutterstock)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — They may share the same name, but a 7-Eleven in the United States and Taiwan are very different. Although both are convenience stores, the concept of a convenience store in both countries are radically different.

In the United States, convenience stores are associated with gasoline as 80 percent of gasoline is sold by a convenience store. On the reverse, over 70 percent of convenience store sales are gasoline.

This relationship affects the foundation of an American convenience store seeing how it mainly supplies cigarettes, sodas, coffee, sugary treats, and salty snacks; in other words, things to keep you awake or make your road-trip more enjoyable.

On the other hand, Taiwanese convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Family Mart exist in their own right. They are practically on every street corner while supplying customers with daily necessities and snack-time essentials. Beyond that, one can easily purchase or recharge public transport cards and train tickets cementing their role in the tourist and daily commuters life.

This different foundation means that convenience stores target daily life and must placate a broader range of tastes and contexts. Therefore, the selection of pre-made meals, snacks, candy, and caffeinated beverages are much more diverse than those in the United States. There are also seating areas and free wifi for those who want to sit down and enjoy their food.

Convenience stores in Taiwan also offer non-edible daily essentials such as basic first-aid products and makeup and beauty products.

Further fulfilling its title as a convenience store, chains like 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-Life, and OK Mart offer ATMs, postal service, SIM cards, photocopy machines, and the ability to pay your monthly bills such as credit card and phone.

Overall, a convenience store in America and Taiwan both satisfy their job as a “convenient” store, but each are marketed towards a different consumer which explains their vast differences. Therefore, tourists to Taiwan should get rid of their perceptions of a convenience store and should not brush-off a visit to the 7-Eleven or Family Mart down the street.