While not usually one for big evil American corporations, I am indeed a sucker for some, such as 7-Eleven. Therefore I was extremely excited when they not only came to Cambodia, but that I would cover it as a journalist. Sadly I was to learn that 7-Eleven in Cambodia is not only bad, but that it is still bad after two years.
7-Eleven in Asia
7-Eleven in Asia, particularly East and South-East Asia is a thing. Many a time have I been saved by a sandwich and Lucozade at 7-Eleven Hong Kong, while in the Philippines it has not just fed me, but like Jesus fed a whole group at crucifixion.
And then there is 7-Eleven in Thailand, the place is an absolute dream and has so much that people can legitimately do there grocery shopping in here. The candy here is weird and out of this world, while the fish and crab snacks are quite literally, not metaphorically my favorite snacks.
Imagine then if you will my excitement when 7-Eleven were to come to Cambodia back in 2021, right at the height of Covid-19 and when I had not left the country in quite literally years.
7-Eleven in Cambodia
First arriving into the country in 2021 under much fanfare I was to over the vent as journalist. To say this initial experience was a letdown would be a gross understatement, not only were there no slushies, not not sandwiches and what hot food they had, had ran out.
Was it first days nerves? I was prepared to give them 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even 5th chances, but in the last 2+ years they have barely improved, with the introduction os slushies and the accepting of ABA pay being the only two bright spots.
Yet despite this they are at least popular, with stores popping up literally everywhere, a feat that tends to only make me sadder, particularly if I have just come back from Thailand….
Why is 7-Eleven in Cambodia so bad?
Where to start? OK I will start with the reason I am writing this. After taking a car from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in order to watch Angkor City against ISI we did a stop at 7-Eleven.
Set the scene if you will, but it was quite literally only 5.30 pm, yet the store had already ran out of food, the one thing that the place is famous for. I did a video, put it on my TikTok and complained to the world.
Now to say this but hurt many Khmer people would be an understatement with many thinking not liking 7-Eleven in Cambodia was akin to me taking part in the Killing Fields (it isn’t). Thankfully I also had enough supporters, but regardless wanted to at least state my case about why I felt like I did.
I have since then traveled overland from Phnom Penh to Poipet, which by the way has great street food, which gave me the chance to do a direct comparison of both sides of the border, with Cambodia not coming out well here.
To sum up, while I obviously love 7_elven perhaps to a slightly unnatural level, I do feel that they could and should do much better in Cambodia, with my real hope being that gentle polite advise will be taken up by the powers that be.
For the day that I finally get to enjoy a heated sandwich, a hit dog, Smirnoff Soju (link), raw egg, or crab sticks served with wasabi and soy sauce will be a happy one.