by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Fully staffed with two cashiers scheduled for each shift and prepared to serve a staggering number of candy bars, Slurpees and anything spinning on hot metal rollers behind the counter, local 7-Eleven stores are expecting a record-breaking day of sales Saturday as an estimated 10,000 Elmhurst residents participate in the counterculture holiday “420” by smoking marijuana.
Often referred to as “Weed Day” and observed on April 20th each year, “420” is when people are invited to celebrate the cannabis culture by smoking pot. With only three 7-Eleven stores in Elmhurst, those who participate will have limited options to satisfy their strong urge for snacks (or “munchies”) that experts say coincides with getting high.
“We’ll be busy all day and all night,” said Spring Rd. 7-Eleven clerk Stan Jenkins, stocking an auxiliary snack kiosk with packages of Twinkies and 7-Select brand beef jerky Thursday evening. “It’s like ‘Black Friday’ for convenience stores, except nothing is on sale, and no one is in a big hurry.”
At the First St. 7-Eleven, Assistant Overnight Manager Sanjay Thompson is also preparing for a record-breaking day in sales, despite being located only a half-block from the Elmhurst Police Department.
“We’ll probably sell about 700 Slurpees on Saturday,” said Thompson, referring to the slushy frozen carbonated beverage favored by hopheads that comes in a variety of tantalizing flavors like Pineapple-Lime and Sour Patch Watermelon. “People like to mix the flavors together when they’re stoned, and they make a big mess. So I’ll probably be over there cleaning up spills throughout my shift.”
Over at the York St. 7-Eleven, franchise owner Frank Strada will act as the second counter clerk from 4:00 p.m. Saturday until 3:00 a.m. Easter Sunday.
“It’s a tough day to schedule staff, because no one wants to work on April 20th,” said Strada, who noted that eye drops and disposable lighters will account for most of the non-consumable purchases at his store on Saturday. “But when you’re selling about 50 Taquitos per hour, you gotta have a second person behind the counter. So I’m filling in.”
Other local businesses that expect to see an increase in the number of customers on “420” include Pizza Palace, The Escape Room, and the Elmhurst Police Department.