7-Eleven Free Slurpees on Unofficial Birthday

If you take a trip to 7-Eleven today they will give you a free Slurpee, but it could cost you more than you realize.

Big time giveaways can mean big bucks for companies. 7-Eleven, the largest convenience store chain in the nation, is celebrating today (7/11/2011) as its unofficial birthday and is doing so by handing out millions of 7.11 fluid ounce Slurpees to its customers.

But who's really giving the bigger birthday gift here?

USA Today reported that the chain's birthday celebration last July resulted in 4.5 million of the sweet, flavored-slush drinks making it into the hands of its customers. In the end, the day’s sales went up by a whopping 38 percent, according to the company's vice president of marketing, Nancy Smith.

“Slurpee drinkers are some of the most loyal fans we have,” Smith told USA Today. “They come here to have fun.”

They also come to spend money. For a free Slurpee, which costs only about a dollar, customers will spend money on other products throughout the store. They will even spend extra gas money, driving out of their way, to get a taste of the company's sweet handout. 7-Eleven anticipates that they will give away over 5 million Slurpees during this year's celebration, averaging about 1,000 per store.

The convenience store giant began selling Slurpees after they licensed the product from ICEE in 1967, and since then it's been one of the signatures of the chain. A video on the product's website, slurpee.com, states that the beverage was created in Kansas when Omar Knedlik dealt with a broken soda fountain by serving soda that he had frozen to his customers.

To further promote themselves, during the company's equivalent of Black Friday for retail stores, those who visit slurpee.com can also download tiny birthday party hats and learn more about the history of the product.