Kwik-E-Mart

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The Simpsons business
Kwik-e-mart.png
Kwik-E-Mart
Business type Convenience store
Location Springfield
Owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
Employee(s) Apu and Sanjay Nahasapeemapetilon, Homer Simpson
First appearance "The Telltale Head" (The Simpsons)

The Kwik-E-Mart (spelled "Quick-E-Mart" in "Bart the General") is a fictional convenience store in the animated television series The Simpsons. It is a parody of American convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven and Circle K, and depicts many of the stereotypes about them. It is notorious for its high prices and the poor quality of its merchandise. The operator of the Springfield store is an Indian-American named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.[1] It was first seen in the episode "The Telltale Head" and has since become a common setting in The Simpsons.

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 Simpsons Movie. Also in 2007, gift shops modeled 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[edit]

The Kwik-E-Mart is a convenience store that sells the usual fare at extraordinarily high prices,[2] including the always popular Squishee.[3] The Kwik-E-Mart chain was started somewhere in the Himalayas.[2]

Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart is owned[citation needed] and operated by an Indian American named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who mans the store with his brother Sanjay and is a caricature of the stereotypical "foreign born" convenience store clerk.[1] Apu is an extremely devoted convenience store clerk/owner, rarely closing his store[4] and occasionally working 96 hour shifts.[2] Apu proudly gouges customers and sells tainted merchandise, such as rotten meat or expired milk.[2][5] Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart is quite often the target of robbers, leading to Apu having been shot on several occasions.[2] It is a favorite target of local criminal Snake Jailbird, who has held up the Kwik-E-Mart several times.[6][7]

Real-world versions[edit]

7-Eleven promotion[edit]

12 7-Eleven have been transformed into Kwik-E-Marts, like this Seattle 7-Eleven store.

In July 2007, convenience store chain 7-Eleven converted 11 of its stores in the United States and one in Canada (Coquitlam) into Kwik-E-Marts to promote 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 was shouldered by 7-Eleven.[8] Another part of the promotion was a contest where customers who purchased a slurpee or sandwich also received a coded game piece that could be entered into a website. The grand prize of the contest was to be animated into an episode of The Simpsons.[8] 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.[9]

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.[9] Several other 7-Eleven items, such as sandwiches, were sold in Simpsons-themed packaging.[9] 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.[9] However, a Duff Energy Drink was released in place of the Duff Beer.[10]

The promotion resulted in a 30% increase in profits for the changed 7-Eleven stores.[11] Many of the stores sold out of their special Simpsons products within a few days of the start of the promotion.[12] The conversions lasted through early August, when the stores were converted back to 7-Elevens.[13]

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,[8] although it was noted that it was "not a 100 percent endorsement."[9]

Universal Studios[edit]

A Kwik-E-Mart at Universal Studios Florida

On October 17, 2007, a gift shop that was modeled after a Kwik-E-Mart was opened at Universal Studios Florida. One also opened at Universal Studios Hollywood at a later time.[14] They replaced the old Back to the Future gift shop[15] and supplement The Simpsons Ride, which opened in Spring 2008. The stores sell Simpsons-related merchandise like Flaming Moe's Energy Drinks[14] and Squishees.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Turner 2004, p. 330.
  2. ^ a b c d e Daniels, Greg; Kirkland, Mark (1994-02-10). "Homer and Apu". The Simpsons. Season 05. Episode 13. Fox.
  3. ^ McGrath, Dan; Lynch, Jeffrey (1993-11-18). "Boy-Scoutz N the Hood". The Simpsons. Season 05. Episode 08. Fox.
  4. ^ Daniels, Greg; Reardon, Jim (1996-04-14). "22 Short Films About Springfield". The Simpsons. Season 07. Episode 21. Fox.
  5. ^ O'Donnell, Steve; Moore, Steven Dean (1998-02-08). "The Joy of Sect". The Simpsons. Season 09. Episode 13. Fox.
  6. ^ Gould, Dana; Michels, Pete (2002-05-22). "Poppa's Got a Brand New Badge". The Simpsons. Season 13. Episode 22. Fox.
  7. ^ Omine, Carolyn; Kruse, Nancy (2005-05-08). "A Star Is Torn". The Simpsons. Season 16. Episode 18. Fox.
  8. ^ a b c Josh Grossberg (2007-07-02). "Cowabunga! 7-Elevens Get Kwik-E Makeover". E! News. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "7-Eleven Becomes Kwik-E-Mart for 'Simpsons Movie' Promotion". Associated Press. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-03. 
  10. ^ "Duff Energy Drink". xoxide.com. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  11. ^ Gail Schiller (2007-07-06). "D'oh! 'Simpsons' limits tie-in partners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-07-06. 
  12. ^ "Kwik-E-Mart Comes to Life". ABC News. 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  13. ^ Jenn Dolari (2007-08-10). "Fadza! Damn yoo Fadza!". Jenn Dolari's LiveJournal blog. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  14. ^ a b Brady MacDonald (2007-11-12). "Simpsons Kwik-E-Mart opens at Universal Studios". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  15. ^ Rosario Santiago (2007-10-28). "The Simpsons: Springfield's Kwik-E-Mart Opens in Universal Studios". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  16. ^ Dewayne Bevil (2007-10-26). "Simpsons' Kwik-E-Mart gets the Universal seal of Apu-val". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]