The 7-11 in Thailand
One of those Things Typically Thai are the 7-11 shops, I think all people traveling in Thailand have at least once bought something at a 7-11 in Thailand. When you arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport it is one of the first shops you see and when you are leaving it is one the last shops you see. And within Thailand they are everywhere, in shopping malls and in every a little bit bigger village is a 7-11. And they are open 24hr a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. The door of a 7-11 does never have to be locked. At every PTT Gasoline stations is a 7-11. And you can buy almost anything that you can eat or drink. And even more .... need a medicines? Or paper for your printer? Or a light bulb? Or shampoo? And they even serve fresh made tosti's or a heated-up Khao Phad. Actually you not need any other shop anymore. But ..... yes of course the 7-11 is killing the small family shops. And maybe even killing the small food-stalls. On the other hand maybe this business are killing themselves by not offering what people need or want. Of course all products are at the 7-11 a little bit more expensive.
I remember traveling in Thailand in the 1990's when 7-11's started to become popular and it were there only places where you could buy products like milk, yoghurt or bread. And as you see now that every 7-11 has a wide selection of milk, yoghurt and bread it must be that Thai people alike are eating this western products also. Because believe me if a product does not sale good within a few months it will not be in a 7-11. Inventory, stock and sale of every 7-11 (franchise or CP ownership) is closely monitored by 7-11 Thailand.
When I go motorbike riding and start in the very early morning it is too early for breakfast, but after a hour of 2 I tend to stop at a PTT Gasoline Station, fill up the motorbike. And .... buy a Croissant Ham-Cheese Tosti & eat it at the Amazone Coffee Shop while drinking a hot choco. Or if we do not have food at home I go to the 7-11 that is about 500m from our house and buy a ready made Thai dish out fried rice with Korean Pork. That is then heated up in the micro-wave at the 7-11 and sold with a fork & spoon. Because if I buy food or drinks at the 7-11 I am sure that it is fresh & clean. And that are things you are at the small shops or food-stalls not always sure. I like to drink milk drinks but I would never buy them at a small local shop due to hygienic reasons (too old, not cooled). And selling food from yesterday at food-stall is not uncommon. So yes for me the 7-11 has become a part of living in Thailand.
And now I know your reaction .... you should support the small local shops. Yes I do whenever I can. Also when shopping at 7-11 I refuse to accept the plastic bags, the fork & spoon, etc. And well the name 7-11 sounds foreign and yes of course it is. But 7-11 Thailand is as Thai as any other shop in Thailand. The 7-11's in Thailand are part of the biggest Thai food & retail chain that owned by the richest family of Thailand. And you might have noticed that many normal Thai shops are chaotic, out-of-date, rude service or closed. That all you will not find at 7-11 because of amazing good management and training of the staff. 7-11 Thailand has their own regional schools to train their staff. And at a small local shop you might be searching for something, but not at the 7-11. They are all the same and all sell more or less the same. You might be looking for western food or snacks? You will find it at the 7-11!
Is 7-11 a bad thing? No I think not, it is just a sign of changing time. But I think 7-11 and with that CP has a moral responsibility to the society of Thailand to provide the people of Thailand with more healthy food and to limit the negative environmental impact of their business. Stop using so much plastic with the products that are sold. Because of course CP is not only selling the products but most of the products are also produced by CP. So yes their responsibility is huge actually.
Website : 7 Eleven Thailand
Wiki : 7 Eleven worldwide
Bangkok Post : A 7-11 everywhere