The Center of Commerce in Thailand: 7-ELEVEN

The most popular destination in Thailand is? Phuket? Bangkok? Chang Mai?

No, wrong, nope.

The 7-ELEVEN store across from my apartment- always busy

7-ELEVEN. As in the 7-Eleven convenience store.

Yep, but not the 7-Eleven we know and ignore in America. Small, clean, efficient stores that are truly one-stop shops.  Milk, eggs, beer, cooking spices, school supplies, booze, batteries, fast food- got ‘em all.

Need to pay your phone bill? Need to pay your cable bill? Yep, head to the 7-Eleven. Utility bills include a bar code, head to 7-Eleven with your Baht for the payment, the bill is “scanned” and you pay the amount due plus Thb 20 to 7-Eleven as the service charge. The 7-Eleven store transmits the funds to the utility/payee.

Why is this done? In Thailand, based on the economic situation of the majority of the people, checking accounts are not common and the vast majority of Thai people don’t have a credit card. 7-Eleven having the bill pay service keeps transactions cash (Baht) based while providing an easy and convenient way to make payments.

Need more talk time for your mobile phone? 7-Eleven is your place- buy a top up card, enter the code from your card into your mobile phone and talk it up! Just like checking accounts and credit cards, most mobile phones are “pay as you play” meaning they run on pre paid usage cards.

There are four 7-Eleven’s within a 5-minute walk from my apartment. There are over 5,000 7-Eleven stores in Thailand.

Why blog about this? The efficiency of 7-Eleven is astounding, the stores meet the needs of the people in terms of selection of merchandise and services- something sorely lacking in America. The 7-Eleven is not the “Americanized” version for Thailand- the 7-Eleven stores are owned and run by the Japanese owners of 7-Eleven, the stores are designed to meet the needs of the country, market and neighborhood they are in- and they are a major part of daily life for the Thai people, the hub of each neighborhood.

About faranginbangkok

I began working in Bangkok during 2008- a time that featured a great deal of political unrest in Thailand and particularly Bangkok. I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was working on a project in Thailand. Generally, I spent 2 weeks in Bangkok and then 3-4 weeks in San Francisco. Did Bangkok begin to feel like home? Yes, and No. Bangkok and the Thai culture forced me to feel many things, the change in culture and environment was so dramatic it forced the decision- embrace or ignore. I embraced and made Bangkok my home and base in 2009. I have enjoyed living in Bangkok, experiencing Thailand and the entire ASEAN region. I moved to Singapore in 2016...fallen behind on this blog since.
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33 Responses to The Center of Commerce in Thailand: 7-ELEVEN

  1. hikaru RKB says:

    Hey, it’s great and new information for me about how people living in Thailand. Seems so convinient and avoid us to have so many debts coz’ of credit card for our bills. 🙂

  2. onthekip says:

    7-11 in Thailand has incredible air conditioning!

  3. m says:

    Wow this is just like Taiwan. :]

  4. joel tilstra says:

    this is very smart, defiently a one shop stop. banking, alcohol, grocery store and even a restaurant, great too see these thais doing good!

  5. ผมว่า seven ในไทย ปัจจุบันจะเริ่มของตลาดละ แต่ไม่ดีเท่าไรเลย อยากให้ร้านขายของในไทยพัฒนา brand ของตัวเองแล้วแข่ง กะ seven บ้างจัง

  6. writerdood says:

    But do they still sell slurpies?

  7. There aren’t any 7-elevens in Brazil, but I’ve heard about it though.

  8. Coria says:

    Wow I did not know that! Interesting! However, I do question the slurpie machine at 711*makes me nervous*

  9. Lakia says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! 7-11 is so popular over there too. When I moved to VA that was “the store” to go to lol… I personally like Sheetz lol

  10. murkmutt says:

    yep, same here in ph, same roles we’re adopted by 7-eleven stores for people here. I, myself, surely have stopped most of the time to buy something, you know. But not a very avid fan.

  11. vixstar1314 says:

    hey! interesting blog… =)

  12. murkmutt says:

    yep, same here in ph, same roles were adopted by 7-eleven stores for people here. I, myself, surely have stopped most of the time to buy something, you know. But not a very avid fan.

  13. RackWire says:

    I can almost hear the chime when I walk into the 7-11, great place to get cold wipes to cool down.

  14. Melih says:

    Even if the 7-Eleven stores might be handy and useful, I believe one should ask where the profit is going. Compared to the other countries, Thailand has the highest number of 7-Eleven stores and these stores are primarily operating as a franchise. In the U.S., if you want to open a 7-eleven store, the initial capital and fee required is upwards of $150K. Next there is a ‘management’ fee for training and advice. Last, the franchiser can ask for a specific percentage of the annual profit every year. Imagine, all these money is not staying in Thailand.

    The article also mentions the usefulness and handiness of the stores. But what about the other local shop owners that is specialized for their occupations. The butcher, the bakery, the cellphone guy, etc… Instead of distributing the money among many shop owners, by going to 7-Eleven, the money goes to a single person. We call this situation monopolization.

    I say, think about 7-Elevens and any other franchises again.

  15. joeandnancy says:

    haha so true… when i was in Thailand for 2 months I went to sev all the time! So conveinent!

  16. Kikomatching says:

    I cannot agree with you more…7-11 in Thailand is the most versatile 7-11 I’ve seen in the world so far. 7-11 here has practically almost every thing you would need and ask for in a place that is just few steps away from your home. I am really amazed at how successful 7-11 shops here in Bangkok are..One small Soi can have 3 or even up to 5 stores just few meters apart. Nice post here…I imagine you collecting all those Doraemon stamps for a free item right?

    • Ha! Well put on the Doraemon stamps, made me laugh out loud and dead on.

      Also, well done on your blog, will take more time and read the entries in detail. I travel to Singapore a good bit, enjoyed what you had to write.

      Probably bump into in a 7-11 in the near future. All the best….

  17. CRAGRT says:

    I can share a same feeling with you. 7 Eleven such iconic shop. No matter which country you are.You can see this tiny and super white shop locate at chaotic street. Totally contrast. Love it.

  18. slamdunk says:

    Interesting post. Most locations have an intelligently run business like this that meets the needs of residents.

  19. It’s worth mentioning that 7-11 is so powerful that they have their own currency. Yup, instead of single baht, or satang, they give you those little chrome paper squares that are as good as baht in any 7-11…

  20. tikitravel says:

    Hillarious! I was just trying to explain to someone yesterday about the excessiveness of the 7-11’s in Thailand. It’s wild how many there are, and you can get EVERYTHING you need there! Amazing. I wonder why there aren’t any in the more southern regions? Seems Family Mart is the big cheese in the islands.

  21. Amanda says:

    If I could only count the ways in which 7-11 has figured into my life over the years and continents. I have written of it so often. I love the Thai 7-11s, almost as regularly occurring as the 850+ we have here in HK.

    I often joke about 7-11 being all I would need in the case of disaster or apocalypse.

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  23. octopoe says:

    Word on the 7-11/Thai connection! I have not had the pleasure of living in Thailand, but have been there twice as a tourist. At first I was really surprised by the 7-11’s seemingly omnipresence throughout the country, and even threw it some privileged western shade, “What is this mega-corporation doing in Thailand?!” However, I quickly let that go when I found the convenience and oddly comfy elements of the 7-11 intact: easy access to huge bottle of Singha water, the bright shrill neon-lights that bathe everything in crazy-techno-color, and the products that visually cue American 7-11 right away such as candy, coke-machines, and ready-made foods. (In Chiang-Mai I saw tunafish pocket sandwiches, something I had not noticed in the US.) I teach ESL, and Thailand is on my perpetual list of places to which I’d love to return, and maybe live, and I’m sure that living there would get me real close to my neighborhood 7-11.


  24. adnan says:

    hi i want to bay 7-11 and i have few questions ,can any one help me there thans

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  27. Fabien says:

    Salut à tous,j’aimerai savoir pourquoi il n’y a aucun 7-11 en France et que 500 en europe,la honte help!!

  28. i need help… i dont know thailand language but i m very eager to know abt a channel dat i have watching recently… i know its a thailand chanel n i want a tv guide of dat channel in english since i m very interested in watching d series which,,, n btw i dont know d name of dat series even..
    the channel name is enteres as BBTV CH7 BKK
    Can anyone pls help me on dis… need help ASAP…

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  30. สิริวรรณ คำโฆษิต says:

    วันนี้ที่ 2 มิย.2555 ไปซื้อของที่7-11 สาขาย่อย ตลาดชลประทาน นครราชสีมา ตรงข้าม Lotusตลาด พนักงานทอนเงินขาด(ซื้อ43 ให้ 100 ต้องทอน 57 แต่ทอน 47) และเอาใบเสร็จไว้บนเหรียญ ทำให้ต้องสนใจว่าเหรียญครบไหม และระวังใบเสร็จปลิว เกือบออกจากร้านแล้ว แต่เอะใจว่าเราซื้อน้อยกว่า 50 ต้องได้ทอนมากกว่า 50 ก็เลยมองไปที่หน้าจอก็พบว่าทอนขาด 10 บาท กำลังจะบอกว่าทอนขาด พนักงานก็พูดว่าขาด 10 บาทใช่ไหม รอก่อน(เขาปิดลิ้นชักแล้ว) และต้องบริการลูกค้าคนถัดไป แต่เมื่อเปิดลิ้นชักได้แทนที่จะรีบหยิบเงิน 10 บาทให้ก่อนกลับจะทอนเงินลูกค้าคนถัดไปก่อน ลูกค้าคนนั้นจึงพูดว่าทอนพี่เขาก่อนก็ได้ ก็ยังไม่ทำจนมีพนักงานอีกคนเดินมาถามว่าพี่รออะไร ก็ตอบไปว่าทอนผิดรอเงินทอน พนักงานคนนั้นจึงหยิบ 10 บาทให้ หน้าบึ้งมาก ไม่พูดขอโทษ ไม่ยิ้ม (ความผิดใครกัน) หรือรู้ว่าทอนผิดกะว่าลูกค้าไม่นับใช่ไหม ดูเหมือนเป็นtactic เจออย่างนี้บ่อยๆ ก็เลยพูดว่า ทอนผิด ให้รอ ไม่ขอโทษ ยังหน้าบึ้งอีก ขอให้บริษัทอบรมพนักงานด้วย เอาเงินมาให้ไม่ได้ขอกิน service mind ไม่มี เปลี่ยนงานเถอะ

  31. Bangkok says:

    this is true. great shops. only 1 disadvantage. in the old town these shops seem to work together with the local mafia to rob customers. so when you are out late at night, 7 Eleven is NOT a safe place to go. Do not go to 7 Eleven after 12 at night, because the local thieves look for foreigners whom they can attack. Often the local 7 Eleven help them. And with attack I mean robbing with violence. Unfortunately, all the other things said are also true. The shops are great. In the centre of Bangkok they just hate tourists after 12 at night (no, also when you are not drunk, just looking for coffee and asking the way to the hotel).

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