On the bewildering regional names for corner stores


#1

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#2

Missing “confectionery”, looks like.


#3

OK. . . in New England (and Massachusetts in particular) “packie” for “package store” almost always means liquor store, not necessarily the same as bodega or cornershop or whatever (the old blue laws mean alcohol is mostly only available at liquor stores, with beer and wine in a few specially licensed supermarkets.) Sometimes they are called “convenience stores”, but in Boston these are referred to as “spas”, and I’m disappointed he didn’t address that one, since I’ve never understood it.


#4

My favourite corner store name will always be Quebec’s depanneur (or more commonly, “dep”) which translated means “to help out of difficulty.”


#5

For some reason where I live corner stores are a rare thing. Most stores are large chain operations–I won’t name names because it seems unnecessary. Liquor stores are mostly standalone entities because, up until recently, they could only sell wine and liquor–nothing else. If you needed a bottle opener you’d have to go to a store that didn’t sell wine.

That changed a year ago and just this month grocery stores can now sell wine, but most of the “corner stores” are just gas stations.


#6

Americans don’t know this slur yet. Shhh! Don’t get them started.


#7

I have 14 “convenience stores” within walking distance to my home, but to get a cup of coffee I have to go 25 blocks West toward downtown San Diego. The travesty that is my life.


#8

Anyone claiming that derivation in the UK is just trying to backtrack their racism.


#9

how …inconvenient…


#10

Given the Québécois’ wonderful and creative use of off-color language, it probably ought to mean something like “to un-fuck your life”.


#11

I believe in New Zealand what we in Australia call ‘milkbars’ are called ‘dairies’.


#12

Yeah, this. “Packies” pretty much almost always meant a liquor store or at least a place where you could get beer, not any convenience store. I don’t know where the “spa” thing comes from either-I see it around, but I don’t really have a good sense of how widespread it is. Otherwise, it is might simply be referred to as “the connah store.”


#13

Allow me to express my skepticism that the derivation of “Paki shop” has anything to do with packages. This sounds like a crypto-racist back-formation to me, a Brit. Certainly, over here, it’s always been associated in my experience with corner shops run by families from the sub-continent.

I guess it’s possible that the phrase has been around in the States since before Idi Amin kicked out a lot of Pakistani nationals causing many of them to seek refuge here sometime in the 70s, but if so, the unfortunate coincidence in sound is probably what caused the increased popularity (edit: in Britain), in which case it’s still badly disguised racism.


#14

lost in the description of the survival and spread of the word “bodega” in NYC is it’s use by young “hip” members of recently (or not so recently) gentrified neighborhoods to try to retain street cred for their neighborhood choice…


#15


#16

The term “package store” originates with the restrictions in certain states that alcoholic beverages be sold in opaque “packages” such as a brown paper bag. The English would be forgiven for making the association with the similar epithet, but as 90% of Americans couldn’t even find Pakistan on the map, let alone distinguish a Pakistani national from a Mexican, I doubt this would be much of an issue. Still, we certainly don’t need more divisive language in this country.


#17

Oh, I know. I’m American and I’ve never been to the UK. I just grew up around a lot of British people when I was a teenager living in the expat heaven that is the Middle East.


#18

No “tuck” shops? For shame!


#19

Or it could be that they’re using the regionally appropriate descriptor because it’s more readily understood locally. New York City has always been a town populated and influenced by the various communities that flow through it in various eras (I mean, it’s not like the Dutch created the term bodega). People that choose to see only “gentrifying hipsters” are missing a whole lot of cultural dynamic right under their noses. In fact, Williamsburg, the neighborhood constantly cited as the Mecca of hipster culture and gentrification is also home to one of the largest (and growing) Hassidic communities in the world as well as large Puerto Rican and Dominican communities and even a few vestiges of the largely Italian neighborhood it used to be. Same neighborhood, different worlds.


#20

That makes just about as much sense as saying that the British are using a slang term for homosexuals to refer to cigarettes.