Mini-Mart Shopping in the Summer
No summer is complete without a mini-mart or convenience store to do all your personal shopping. For me, it was the Texaco gas station which had a pretty big mini-mart attached to it. So big that it would later hold a Subway restaurant, which would eventually become my first job (that’s another blog for another time). Going there in the summer was almost a daily occurrence. We would ask for some cash, like a buck or two from our parents, or collect whatever change we could get our hands on. Back then a buck could be stretched pretty far.
Our family didn’t really allow soda in the house, so the prospect of possibly buying a soda was always a selling point. Also “Clearly Canadian” was a hot ticket item with peach being my favorite flavor. I really only wasted my dollar on a soda if it was something that was exotic and new. I remember when Wild Cherry Pepsi came out, and it was a must try. Soda back then was in 16 ounce glass bottles. Speaking of Pepsi, my dad drank Coke, and whenever we were allowed soda it would usually be Coke. That made Pepsi the exotic drink of choice for me, and I can remember three distinct Pepsi products that we bought like crazy. The first was the Pepsi Big Slam. Back in the early 90’s Shaq was all the rage. (I will talk about Shaq-mania in its entirety this summer, don’t worry). Shaq was the sponsor of the Big Slam sized Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew. There were 1 liter bottles with wide mouths so you could chug the shit out of that soda like Shaq would, and the commercials worked because they seemed so goddamn appealing even though they were the same exact soda you would always buy. I remember we had to have Big Slams whenever we went to the Texaco, and they were only a buck or a buck fifty if I’m remembering right.
The next Pepsi product that was huge was Pepsi Kona. It was coffee flavored Pepsi, in a weird can or bottle, and the commercials has Tom Jones singing “It’s Not Unusual”. Full disclosure, I’m not a coffee drinker now nor have I ever been, but this was a gimmick I fell hard for. I remember my mom asking my why the hell I was drinking that disgusting stuff, and I’d lie and say it was good. Truthfully, if you pump enough sugar into anything it’ll be good.
The final Pepsi product was their answer to Gatorade (before they bought it) which was called All-Sport. This was a lightly carbonated sports drink, and to this day, I’ve never tasted one better. All-Sport also had the big wide mouth that the Big Slams did, and came in a plastic bottle. These were the days when Gatorade 16oz was still in glass bottles (I can write about old Gatorade this summer too if you guys want) All-Sport was lightning in a bottle and we’ll probably never get that original formulation again. And of course Shaq was the mouthpiece of it.
We covered drinks pretty well but lets talk about snacks! There are some which I remember trying for the first time ever after I bought them from Texaco.
First, let’s talk Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pudding pies. I bought one of these originally just for the packaging, but then upon eating it I remember falling instantly for these things. Little pies filled with vanilla pudding and a green sugar glaze, FUCK they were good. The only problem is they didn’t stick around very long. Another craze that caught on big during the late 80’s early 90’s was Butterfinger candy bars. Bart Simpson was the spokesperson for these things and man did it ever work. Butterfinger was THE candy at the time, and I remember buying a king sized version once. It was the size of one of those Duraflame logs you buy for your fire pits, and felt like it took me a month to finish. Back then king sized candy bars were just that, fucking HUGE. A king sized Kit-Kat has like 30 bars on it.
Other big tickets items were the nickel candy: Bazooka gum, jaw breakers, atomic fireballs, blow-pops (which were like 15 cents). You can load up on this shit and be set for days if you spent your entire wad in this section. I would usually get a drink, which would run about 75 cents, and spend the rest on a handful of Bazooka and jaw breakers.
I’ll talk more about the special candy that showed up there for movies and other Texaco occurrences. And stay tuned this summer for my blog about the BIG mini-mart across town that had slushies and bubble gum cigarettes. But for now, I leave you with these memories.
What were some of your mini-mart shopping choices when you were a kid? Post them in the comments below, and come back tomorrow as we continue our SUMMER VACATION!