Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … in the C-Store

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

Alpaca in a c-store

CHICAGO -- It’s the nature of the business. Demographics can be tricky for convenience-store operators, even with large brains and opposable thumbs, but some convenience-store “customers” defy easy categorization. No, not the Bubbas, soccer moms and millennials, but some of the less-commonplace groups.

Some are hungry, some are lost and some are just curious. Others are, well, thieves. And maybe some are looking for work as a mascot.

But they all have one thing in common. Click through for a bestiary of a few prominent examples of when animals—some wild and some not so wild—decided to pay a c-store a visit. …

That just gets my goat


There was a man. He had a goat. The goat, which has a sweet tooth, wandered into a Tigard, Ore., 7-Eleven c-store, ate some Skittles and sheepishly left without paying, pulling the wool over the retailer’s eyes.

Getting a little squirrely


“Hokey smokes!” A gang of squirrels has been targeting Luke’s Grocery, a c-store in Toronto. These nutty squirrels also have a sweet tooth. Their M.O.: They enter the store through the front door, grab a Wonderbar and hightail it out of there before the owner can stop them. There have been no reports of a moose accomplice.

Bird brain


A brazen seagull walked into a c-store in Aberdeen, Scotland, decided to wing it, flipped the owner the bird and absconded with a bag of Doritos. Being a seagull, it clearly likes salty snacks over sweet.











Bambi break-ins

C-store deer

Three deer entered through the front door of the Canadian Tire gas station in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, and wrecked havoc in the store before a customer let them back out the front door.

A deer crashed through the front door of a Kwick Check c-store in Dacula, Ga., injuring a customer before being removed from the store.

And a deer broke through the glass front door of a Cumberland Farms c-store in Barre, Vt., trashing the store while sliding around on the freshly waxed floor before exiting the way it came in. No dough was taken.











Like bulls in a convenience shop

C-store bulls

Herd this one? A tradition went haywire when two steers running through the streets of Puyallup, Wash., as part of the ceremonial cattle drive that opens the Puyallup Fair each year, took an unplanned detour into a c-store. A cowboy on horseback (no bull!) entered the store and wrangled them back outside.




What’s a ‘zonkey’?

C-store zonkey

A new Fuel City c-store in in Haltom City, Texas, features a menagerie that is a trademark of the chain. Along with the buffaloes and other animals are Wide and Doublewide, two longhorn steers; Zorro the zebra; Princess the donkey; and Stormy, a zonkey (half-zebra, half-donkey). They can easily be seen, secured behind an 8-foot-tall fence, from cars going through the line for the car wash.


Tiger tales and tribulations

C-store tiger, Tony

Louisiana lawmakers recently passed legislation to let a Grosse Tete, La., truckstop owner keep a tiger onsite, overruling court decisions that he must remove the animal from his property. The owners have bred and kept tigers on the site for more than 20 years, and the animals have served as a draw for the business. Tony, a 550-pound Bengal tiger, is the only remaining cat. Animal rights groups oppose allowing Tony to stay at the Tiger Truck Stop.












C-store dog, Cody

Cody the chocolate Labrador retriever that greeted customers at a Clearwater, Fla., BP c-store for several months is unemployed. A state health inspector issued a warning to the store's owner: Remove the dog or the health department would declare all of the store’s food, beverages and snacks unfit for consumption. The BP-shirted dog is gone.












C-store Chobani bear

Yogi Bear may like his “pic-a-nic” baskets, but he generally liberates those goodies from campgrounds in Jellystone Park. In Alaska, however, a grizzly bear reportedly wandered into a c-store and proceeded to trash the place. (Full disclosure: We made a boo-boo. It turns out that this footage was actually shot for a 2014 Chobani Super Bowl commercial. But we included it anyway.)