The Convenience Store That Unites Us

It's official. We live in divisive times. University of Texas Longhorns vs. Texas A&M Aggies, for example. There are a lot of tribes that we can identify with and use to find fellowship, but we all should find something to rally around together.  Buc-ee’s is one of those things that can unite people from different camps; it follows a big tent philosophy to make sure that there’s enough room for everyone as well as something for each of them, too.

Here’s an example from one of the states I've called home.  A fierce and sometimes bitter rivalry in Utah is between fans of the University of Utah Utes and Brigham Young University Cougars.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that people get really worked up about their team, and this sparks all sorts of drama to prove that they’re on the superior and winning side.  However, something that both U of U and BYU fans can unite around is the Utah Jazz basketball team.  That’s the power of sports.  Like the Jazz, Buc-ee’s is something we all can agree upon.

This does require some reflection.  As glorious as Texans are, we do come with endearing quirks.  For instance, the more you think about it, it seems rather silly to show such devotion to a gas station chain prominently featuring a mascot beaver -- unless y’all are in the oil business down near the Gulf Coast in Houston and Beaumont, up in the Panhandle, or out west in the Permian Basin.  That’s where the unifying magic comes in.  Regardless of your relation to the Lone Star State, political affiliation, collegiate allegiance, skin color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, employer, music preferences, etc., we all can be fans of a mega-church sized convenience store where there's always an open gas pump and sparkling clean bathrooms. 

No matter who you just voted for (or against), you can still like Beaver Nuggets and appreciate that someone who voted for the other candidate likes them as well.  See; we have more in common than we realize.  

I have no doubt that there are kids who have stuffed Bevos or Reveilles (not to mention stuffed Baylor Bears, SMU Perunas, UTEP Paydirt Petes, or Texas Tech Masked Riders -- to name just a few) who sleep next to a toy Buc-ee on their bed.  He can get along with many mascots, and he loves college and sports fans of all sorts.  

Besides, who doesn’t love immaculately clean bathrooms?  That’s why the top two reasons to stop at Buc-ee’s are #1 and #2.  Now that’s “punny.”  It doesn’t matter if you’re a commuter, roadtripper, or joyrider.  Motorists and passengers of all types are welcome at Buc-ee’s.

When it comes to grub, we all risk it for the brisket.  If only those BBQ sandwiches could ship well…  

As Texas transplant, God Save Texas author (an explainer of and love letter to Texas -- albeit with some Molly Ivins style tough love), and New Yorker journalist Lawrence Wright told the Dallas Morning News: "At Buc-ees [sic], an aspiring Texan can get fully outfitted with the clothing but also the cultural and philosophical stances that embody the Texas stereotypes... that [find their] fullest expression in a truck stop on the interstate."

That’s why it is important to note another division in society: Texans and those who aren’t lucky enough to be one.  Fortunately, I was born in the Lone Star State despite the fact that I’ve been an texpat most of my life. I recall one time I was extolling the many virtues of Texas to a friend, and she suddenly and loudly exclaimed to the rest of the group that Texans are the only ones who produce and buy paraphernalia about their own state.  Thank goodness for Texas Snax!  While natives and residents of other states certainly have their own pride and trinkets to boot, we Texans do what we do best -- go big.  Unfortunately, this can come across as off putting.  However, we have big hearts and are willing to share the blessings of our beloved home.  Heck, even Buc-ee is branching out to other states.  So, I have no doubt that a diplomatic gift of Beaver Nuggets, shirt, or a brisket sandwich will win over even the most wannabe Texan who doesn’t want to show it.

All of that is proof that Buc-ee’s embodies the Texas spirit.  It’s a big place with all sorts of characters who contribute to its uniquely strong flair.  That’s why it appeals to people from different tribes of all sorts.    

It lives big by making sure each of its stores are cavernous cathedrals of culture and commerce.  The stores have to be so large since they need to have something for everyone.  

That spirit also includes a big heart for going out of its way to treat its customers very well.  Sure, Texans are full of pride and aren’t afraid to let you know that.  However, as the signs at the state border welcoming drivers command: “Drive Friendly - The Texas Way.”  Buc-ee’s ensures that this quintessential friendliness and southern hospitality aren’t drowned out by its boastful pride.  Pride and friendliness can coexist.  As Texas Monthly once it put, this Texan joviality is: "Being glad to see you—no matter who you are—is something our mamas taught us from birth. The wide smile, the firm handshake, the slap on the back—it's the way Texans meet the world, the social grease that makes living here so pleasant and easy."

Using a big tent approach -- that ensures everyone can feel at home and feel pride about it -- allows Buc-ee’s to unite people with strong and differing passions.  However, it amplifies one of the most important passions -- the desire to accept others and treat them with respect and, of course, to sweat treats, yummy grub, cool swag, plenty of gas pumps, and the cleanest bathrooms in the land.

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