Satire: Circle K and the triforce of consumerism


Paula Gonzalez

The arrival of a 7-Eleven throws shade onto Circle K, as the new convenience store masks Circle K from the rest of the city.

Paula Gonzalez, Writer

Stopping at the intersection on Main St. and Mills Rd., one may care to notice a new 7-Eleven facility in the surrounding vicinity. Large and animated, it is indeed an interesting building to take note of. However, one may not notice the little Circle K, tucked into a cranny just about ten feet behind the pristine 7-Eleven. If one cares to look across the intersection from the Mills Rd. stoplight located next to Wood Ranch (which hopefully those of whom are merging their cars into the next lane will do) they shall also acknowledge a new Starbucks. Ah, yes! Even coffee isn’t safe from this article. 

Now don’t take things the wrong way—after all, 7-Eleven is pretty cool. Considering there’s only two in the city, one located in the Montalvo area and the other on the Avenue, another more doesn’t hurt. Except for when it is placed directly in front of another convenience store. Not only is this a new, popular establishment, but this 7-Eleven is a part of a Mobil gas station. Which seems neat, but it’s comedic as it is still adjacent to the other Arco gas station across the small road. 

Two gas stations being next to each other is not uncommon, but it’s the manner of the construction of the new gas station and the overall location of the 7-Eleven that’s confusing. During peak traffic hours, most of the lanes on E. Main St. leading up to Mills Rd. are clogged as people scramble to their destinations, such as to the mall or to catch the 101 Freeway. This includes a jam at the Arco gas station, where cars try to squeeze into and out of the station, usually from the small road separating the station from Circle K. 

Continuing down E. Main St., the 7-Eleven gas station will be accessible from the main road. However, on that same end exists yet another Starbucks. In between the “tension” of 7-Eleven and Circle K, the coffee establishment definitely wanted to opt out from any inconvenience; unfortunately, that just won’t be the case. Standing alone, the Starbucks has a drive-thru exit onto E. Main St. and an entrance across the other side of the building. This means that if one wants to enter the drive-thru, they would need to enter from the street’s upward hill that’s primarily for 7-Eleven, or through the opening for Circle K on the short end of Mills Rd. 

Since 7-Eleven has built a car wash next to the parking space for Circle K, those cars will exit onto the cramped end of Mills Rd., which graciously stops drivers at the light of the large intersection—the same intersection that allows a green light for a merciful four seconds before a minutes-long patience test. Combine that with the drivers stationed at the new Mobil gas station, as well as those who will flood the end of Mills Rd. or Preble Ave. to reach just those two places, there’s evidently going to be a bit of a pickle on the road. But for what justifiable reason?

The long-standing Circle K has really stood the test of time. It has been able to continue its business through countless robberies (with a special wall of vigilantes to keep an eye for), withstand the abandonment and removal of its neighboring businesses that are connected to the complex and even survive a literal glass-shattering of its windows, caused by a spontaneous crash. As shady as it seems, the Circle K has always been able to share the satisfactory standards of any convenience store. With their good-natured employees and well-stocked inventory, this little corner shop has been able to provide visitors of the surrounding area with everything they need, despite their challenges. A change of scenery isn’t a bad thing, but the fact that the new implementation is essentially a competitor store that physically blocks the view of Circle K seems cynical. It feels unnecessary as both stores will contain the same thing, the only huge difference being a choice of flavor for a slurpee or slushie. But since there’s already about 13 Starbucks stores spread throughout the city, one more in that exact location was definitely a necessary call for the benefit of the people, instead of a remodel of the abandoned complex or any other establishment. 

Alas, all three stores are efficient and preferable on their own, but their layout has brought about a strange collaboration of consumerism. Surely Circle K, the veteran of this newfound trio, will eventually be able to hand the business ropes to 7-Eleven. Until then, frequent drivers and future customers of E. Main St. and Mills Rd. should remain mindful and patient of other drivers around the surrounding intersection and stores.

What do you think?