Why do I only ever see Indians working in 7-11's?

I’d like to point out that I have no problem with this, I am just curious as to why I have only ever seen Indians working in 7-11’s.

I worked in a 7-Eleven for a summer a few years back, and I and all my coworkers were of European descent. You probably simply live in an area with a high Indian population and only notice them at the 7-Eleven.


What do you mean? That only Indian people work in 7-11s, or that you don’t see Indian people outside of 7-11s?

I didn’t know they HAD 7-11s in Australia! Hmmm…

I have also seen many Indians, Pakistanis, and folks from that part of Asia working in our 7-11s. Some people I work with are trying to organize a boycott of 7-11 in their infinite ignorance, claiming that “they just take your money and send it home to make bombs.” Stupid, I know…but I wanted to prove to them that in fact not ALL 7-11s are owned by or employe Indians (never mind that we aren’t at war with India- these idiots think everyone from that hemisphere is the same), so I wrote a lengthy e-mail to 7-11 asking if they could help me out with some numbers. That was over a week ago and so far zilch… I told them about the idiotic boycott but evidently it doesn’t bother them.

But this is a very common perception, at least here in New Jersey, that only Indians/ Arabs/ Pakistanis own 7-11s.

Just a WAG, but I would think there might be something to do with immigration - new arrivals to a given country might not speak much of the language, or, depending on where they are from, not have much education. They still have to make money, though, and selling food in a 7-11 or driving a taxi (another occupation that seems to have many people from the middle east) doesn’t require much in terms of education.

Also a bit of a WAG, but it may be less to do with education than professional licences and nepotism as well.

The local paper wrote a story about an Indian doctor who moved to the US. Because he wasn’t a citizen, he had trouble getting licenses for an independant medical practice. He decided to become an independant Taxi driver instead. It suits him because he is his own boss.

[high-jack] Most taxi drivers are independants. The “checker” or “yellow” you see on their cars is part of the deal for subscription to dispatch services. [/highjack]

As to nepotism, imagine a Pakistani engineer moves to the US. He has problems transfering his licenses, landing a job because of his English, etc. So he says screw it and buys a 7-11 franchise. He hires his brother in law’s nephew to help run it. (they speak the same language so it works out well). Then he hires his cousin to do the books, his son to sweep the floors, etc. Eventually the whole store is run by relatives he helped to move to the US.

One of his friends from University of Pakistan’s engineering school thinks the 7-11 thing is a good idea, so he buys a franchise too. He brings his uncle in from Pakistan to help, etc, etc. Pretty soon there are a whole bunch of 7-11’s run by people from Pakistan.

On a tangentally related note, Cecil on How can Korean-Americans afford to start so many grocery stores? For them, it’s community-supported.

Back in the early-mid 80’s, many of the convenience stores in Savannah were owned/operated by Iranians. Apparently, there was some mass exodus from Iran. There was some resistance from the local idiots, but I found them to no more or less friendly than their Euorpean-American counterparts. There’s a local store I frequent daily that’s been owned by a Chinese family for decades and you couldn’t ask for a nicer group of people while another store nearby, owned by “locals” drives away customers in droves.

A few years back, there was a cover story in the New York Times magazine about the “Patel Motel Cartel.” Basically, in certain parts of the country, it seems that every motel is owned by a family named Patel. And there is a whole lot of truth to it.

IIRC, the reasons for this phenomenon are:
a) Patel is an outrageously common name in some parts of India.
b) Immigrants from this area tend to help out newer immigrants by helping them set up businesses.
c) The motel business was reasonably easy for them to enter.

A lot of the above posters have touched on points b and c in their explanations of the prevalence of Indians in the convenience store industry. Sounds right to me.

Here in Central Jersey, we have a very very high Indian population. Gas stations also seem to have a very high proportion of Indian owners and workers.

p.s. Batsto–Are you a Pine Barrens boy?

It does seem to be a common stereotype, or what have you…

Apu Nahasapeemapetalan anyone?

Having worked in this business, I believe family connections are the key.
I work with an Indian couple who own 2 stores in El Paso. They also employ a family friend who came from their state.
The got in this business because the father in law’s folks moved to South Texas years ago and have since bought several stores, working their way over to West Texas. And the father in law’s uncle started out in Florida before and hopped along the gulf before ending up in East Texas.

Cecil wrote on Korean neighborhood/family savings and investment systems in small business. Other immigrant groups - dating back to the turn of the century Italians and Jews, all had similar systems of familial support.

I really should stop skimming late at night. Sorry :o

After a week, 7-11 has sent me a ‘form letter’ confirming how deeply concerned they are about my e-mail, and that they have forwarded it to the appropriate parties. Maybe in a month or two someone human will give me a response. Meanwhile I listen to these idiots on a daily basis yelling at me for “giving my money to terrorists” when I buy a Big Gulp.