In defense of Wawa: If you don’t get it, you kinda suck

By Josh Kruger
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 62 | Posted Jul. 1, 2014

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The Shorti: because who doesn’t love a nice, thick treat?

Recently, somebody took to the Internet to write an essay about how weird it is that Philadelphians are obsessed with Wawa. “I confess, I’m not from here,” the interloper admitted up front, “but why so much emotional investment in something so, well, pedestrian?

Read that shit one more time, and let it sink it.

You want to know about Philly? I mean, yeah, we’re not the sort of cosmopolitan juggernaut you might find in Indiana or Mississippi. We just have some of the best universities in the world, one of the best art collections in the world, one of the most working-class populations in urban America, and we have something delicious called a hoagie. I mean, that’s all we have.

Oh, and we have Wawa.

I don’t even understand what this would-be carpetbagger is trying to criticize.

Does she honestly believe that convenience stores don’t matter? What would that imply—that it’s somehow strange for Philadelphians as a whole to take pride in such a simple, working-class piece of life? Did she even think this through?

Does she realize we’re the same city that once threw snowballs at Santa Claus?

Apparently not. Because she found it appropriate to commit this sentence to print: “I’m still mortified to utter the phrase, ‘We’re going to Wawa for a Sizzli.’”

First, if that phrase really mortifies you, you probably need to take a good, hard look at your life, at your low self-esteem masquerading as sophistication, and maybe start expressing some gratitude.

Let’s not forget that one of the things that makes Wawa incredible is that it offers nutritious, fresh food to everyone on a blue-collar budget. And it has Hoagiefest! And ice cream! And ATMs! And if you want to go all hip about it, Wawa had touchscreen technology before it was cool!

Twenty years or so ago, Wawa debuted the Shorti with a radio ad declaring: “Wawa’s new Shorti hoagie: It’s short—but it’s thick.” Can you even comprehend how fucking Philly it is that a convenience store deli would build an entire advertising campaign around the wink-wink-nudge-nudge subtext of You’ll love this sandwich as much as dick?

No wonder Mayor Nutter proclaimed April 16, the company’s 50th anniversary, as an officially-sanctioned citywide “Wawa Day.”

Hell, thanks to Wawa’s beneficence, we all get to celebrate the fucking Fourth of July together at the Wawa Welcome America festival this week. How much more meaning do you want from a convenience store in the cradle of American liberty? I mean, really, why do you hate freedom?

For Christ’s sake, I hope I don’t need to explain Butterscotch Krimpets.

We like Wawa. If you don’t, the problem really is you and not, you know, the entire known universe.

I guess Wawa isn’t one of those acceptable convenience-store chains like 7-Eleven (blech) or Duane Reade (fuck you, New York, that’s a pharmacy) or Sheetz (don’t even). I guess Wawa’s problem is that, like Rocky, it’s always striving for something better while still staying true its roots. If I were an elitist Philly-hater, I guess I wouldn’t get it either. Thankfully, I’m just a working-class slob born and raised in Philadelphia.

Yeah, Wawa’s where we get hoagies and cigarettes. It’s also a beacon of hope in a city looking for a cultural compass to guide its masses. It’s a Philly-area original business that made it like a real champ. And, just like a champ, the haters gonna hate and try to bring Wawa, and all of us, down.

Don’t let ‘em.

P.S. If you fuck with our Wawa, we will fuck your shit up.

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Comments 1 - 62 of 62
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1. fsizzle said... on Jul 2, 2014 at 09:45AM

“love wawa but just for the record sheetz absolutely crushes it in terms of options, quality of food, etc.”

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2. Otto Parts said... on Jul 2, 2014 at 12:20PM

“'Thankfully, I’m just a working-class slob born and raised in Philadelphia.' Um…no. You’re not. How many times have you said that you were raised in "rural PA" (which, by the way, is also not really true)." Choose a lie and stick with it!

Also, this article is just a string of hipster "writing" clichés. I felt like I was reading Yelp review.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Jul 2, 2014 at 01:20PM

“Eat. WaWa. Somehow I have a hard time reconciling those two words. They have cheap gas, though.”

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4. Anonymous said... on Jul 2, 2014 at 09:07PM

“Lol, "nutritious"”

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5. Edward J. Cunningham said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 08:48AM

“Speaking as a Marylander and Washington-area resident, I have to concur. Philadelphia's sports teams are our mortal enemies, but if Wawa came from Philly I have to thank them---that's a convenience store I look forward to stopping at when I'm driving a long way on I-95. Now if only they could put some on the New Jersey Turnpike!”

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6. Michael said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 08:50AM

“I didn't use to love Wawa. I took it for granted. It's just Wawa, right? No big deal.
Then I started to travel around the country for work to the blighted areas like *everywhere outside of PA, NJ, MD, and DE* that don't have either a Wawa or Sheetz. The best that they have access to is either a 7-11 or a mom and pop corner store. The mom and pop stores were sometimes good, but they were unpredictable and uncommon. And 7-11 is just... I don't even want to say what 7-11 is.
So I came home and started to appreciate what I had. It's a corner store that's always clean and pleasant and has good, fresh food that's made to order and available quickly. It's not cheap, but the prices are not outrageously inflated and it's 100% reliable. Yes, I love Wawa. And you too, Sheetz!”

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7. Anonymous said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 08:55AM

“You forgot to mention the great coffee.”

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8. Anonymous said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 09:17AM

“Sheetz does have some hot food choices that Wawa doesn't, but for food in general, wawa's seems much better.
As far as coffee, when I hit the cafeteria at the hospital that I am being treated at ( it's on the Main Line. And the food is actually quite good) The coffee is wawa coffee, 'nuf said.”

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9. Roxy said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 11:25AM

“Just want to point out that Wawa came from Delco.”

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10. Smithdk4 said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 12:49PM

“I'm a southerner that does work in Mt Laurel, NJ a lot. I like renting a car because of Wawa. When you fly in late and everything is closed, the Wawa is always open with good food. If you want healthy, they have it. If you want junk, they have it. It's clean and the workers are always friendly.
I love Wawa.”

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11. jackdaniels said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 02:14PM

“People who dont like or get Wawa are just jealous.”

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12. Darren said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 02:20PM

“The Santa snowball thing, no one from Philly brings that up.”

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13. Anonymous said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 03:56PM

“Who cares? All of this is click-bait. Why dignify the Wawa hating article with a response at all?”

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14. Joe said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 04:06PM

“Always Wawa. Once you get past old Virginia, there's no good coffee until Orlando. I will stop at Sheetz but only because they resemble Wawa. Born in Folsom, Pa not Philly just saying”

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15. Anonymous said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 04:45PM

“something good always

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16. Nigwisht said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 06:18PM

“Wawa is a convenience store with pretty good coffee. What's the big deal?”

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17. fegerter said... on Jul 3, 2014 at 06:20PM

“The food at Sheetz tastes like sheetz. Hillbilly fare.”

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18. Matt said... on Jul 4, 2014 at 07:25AM

“In defense of Sheetz, you can put mozzarella sticks on a fuckin' burger.”

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19. Anonymous said... on Jul 4, 2014 at 08:02AM

“Sheetz is better than Wawa but both kick 7-11's ass”

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20. displaced to RVA. said... on Jul 4, 2014 at 08:43AM

“Love my Wawa. Two within three miles of my house. Any direction I take there's a Wawa to meet my needs. Hoagies, snacks for my kids. Clean bathrooms, the best customer service.I can't and won't live without my Wawa.Being a transplant from the Philadelphia area I have converted many a southerner to the greatness that is Wawa. Thanks for always being there.”

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21. Katheryn said... on Jul 4, 2014 at 12:11PM

“Wawa is so much better than Sheetz. Sheetz coffee and food is not good. I got stuck with a Sheetz when I had to move out to Pennsyltucky for grad school for a year and half. Bleh. Was so happy to move back to Jersey and get back to Wawa coffee.”

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22. Justin Connors said... on Jul 5, 2014 at 12:47PM

“im loving all the sheetz love here. i absolutely despise wawas food quality and selection. shmonsters all day, pretzel bread blt shmelts with chicken fingers. and the fries THE FRIES. you cant begin to pretend wawa has any sort of game on sheetz without a fryer. oh and oh god the boom boom sauce and drpepper bbq. come on guys its no contest. too bad the closest one to me is 30 min away and i have 15 freaking wawas in a 5 mile radius.......come on sheetz get in here and end the wawa monopoly.”

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23. Susan W said... on Jul 5, 2014 at 01:46PM

“as A Lifelong Philly Suburbanite, I'm Angry That They Stopped Selling Sliced Deli Meats. Also, The Rolls They Are Baking Themselves Are In No Way As Good As Amoroso Rolls Baked By Amoroso. I Heard The Dough Is Being SupplieD To Wawa By Amoroso. I Used To Stop At Wawa Almost Daily - Now I Stop Maybe Once A Week. They Better Never Change They're Ice Cream!

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24. Kyle said... on Jul 5, 2014 at 06:23PM

“Wawa is the best thing to grace this small section of the east coast. Im from Delaware....wawa all the way.”

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25. Anonymous said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 11:39AM

“As someone who goes to PSU, WaWa is one of those things that I miss during the school year. Sheetz (sounds close enough to the word that I associate it with), cannot even compare. However, this article was just a hipster ranting pile of nonsense. I love WaWa as much as the next guy, but seriously, it is actually just a convenience store. A great one at that, but this obsession is a little ridiculous.”

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26. Josh is a joke said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 12:03PM

“Josh is a liar. He's from Quakertown. He wasn't born or raised in Philly. Stop lying Josh! Why don't your editors fact check your columns?

Liar liar pants on fire!”

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27. matt said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 12:16PM

“The words Wawa and hoagie do not belong in the same sentence. Wawa's version of a hoagie or cheesesteak suck. Lets also not pat them on the back for adding touchscreen ordering. Those touchscreens were the death of chili and cheese hotdogs. Some braniac came up with the idea to make hhotdogs self serve and since chili and cheese was behind the deli and nobody had access to it. You didnt get asked if you needed anything unless if you used the touchscreen therefore corporate assumed nobody was ordering chili and cheese and did away with it. Im sure the person who wrote this article is too young to remenber that.”

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28. demanding action said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 12:49PM

“Any respectable publication would fire or censure a writer for lying about their biography.

Will the editors take action now that the Internet is all abuzz about Josh's blatant lie?

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29. CJ M said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 02:02PM

“Fresh food? You clearly do not know how Wawa is run these days. Which honestly means this whole article is invalid. Sorry, next time if you want to look like a decent writer, do what they teach you in school and do some research.”

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30. Here's the proof said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 04:00PM

“"Josh Kruger, a child of the nineties, grew up in a rural town in Pennsylvania. In 2002, he moved to Philadelphia where he attended the University of Pennsylvania studying political science and anthropology."


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31. Josh is from the Lehigh Valley said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 04:32PM

“Hey, Kruger, you Gerber crack baby lookalike, tell me how you get to Philly from Quakertown via SEPTA. Oh yah, you can't. Josh could say he's from the Lehigh Valley and that would be more accurate.”

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32. Josh Is A Liar said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 04:45PM

“Oh, yah, and Josh, tell the world how you used to write all these inane conspiracy theories about Mark Segal, the PGN, Micah Mahjoubian, the Liberty City, Democrats, Alan Butkovitz, the Sheriff's office, and Michael P. Williams, and about PW told you to delete those articles as a condition of working for them. And how much you fantasize about Brian Sims' dick.”

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33. Anonymous said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 06:03PM

“"Those acceptable convenience-store chains like 7-Eleven (blech) or Duane Reade (fuck you, New York, that’s a pharmacy)." Well, I'm a New Yorker and yeah, Duane Reade is a pharmacy. I've never, ever, ever, ever heard anybody refer to it as a convenience store. Ever. Sheesh!

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34. Original Opalanie said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 06:28PM

“31/31/32..Who cares where this dude comes from, I mean he could be a cough syrup chugging New Jersey reject for all I care, his writing is good and yes I like Wawa.”

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35. Anonymous said... on Jul 6, 2014 at 07:00PM

“I'm surrounded by Sheetz in Central PA, I miss WAWA. Even my wife who is from Central PA cannot stand their food or coffee's. We always stop by when we go back to WAWA area.”

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36. Anonymous said... on Jul 7, 2014 at 03:19PM

“Here ya go: Go to Wawa, get your fat self a fucking gobbler, yea put that gravy on that meat and mash and oh god is that crans sawwwce yell ya. Get yourself a pack of cigs, sit in your car, and WAIT fun doesnt stop there! People watching, watch other fat fks get some hoagies.”

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37. me said... on Jul 8, 2014 at 06:42AM

“WAWA is the best c-store EVER!. Anyone that has ever serviced them as a vendor as I have knows. To inform you a C - store is a Convenience store in vendor language. I worked for Herr's and Frito-Lay and serviced WAWA for over a decade. The people that work in the stores I serviced 20 years ago and the stores I go to in the Limerick and Royersford PA are the BEST! I get my coffee there every day. The food is always fresh, the coffee areas are always clean and the shelves are always well stocked. In my current job I travel in PA, NJ, Del, MD and VA. I know where every WAWA is on my travels.”

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38. Melissa said... on Jul 8, 2014 at 08:20PM

“I think this is great. And for the person who said why respond at all... It's Philly. And someone hated on wawa. Enough said.”

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39. Tim said... on Jul 8, 2014 at 09:48PM

“Born and raised in Philly, lived there until 06 (36 years) and living in State College for the last eight years. I feel that Sheetz is a pale imitation of WaWa.
Gives me the Shitz.

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40. Anonymous said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 09:13AM

“Being a transplant from Los Angeles 15 years ago at first I thought Wawa was an interesting concept. But after being here for as long as I have, I LOVE, let me repeat myself, LOVE Wawa. The fresh hoagies, the coffee, the milk, the coffee ... ooppss ... guess I love their coffee. I was never a Starbucks fan and when I discovered Wawa coffee, I fell in love! And in general, you can't beat their gas prices either. The best move they made was expanding into Florida. I need to travel to my corporate office a couple times a year, and there is a Wawa near the office. Guess what I get every afternoon?? My Wawa coffee fix!!! YES!!!

Even my girlfriend who came out to visit me 10 years ago! still raves of her Wawa experience. So much so that I send her a $5 gift card every year for Christmas.

Thank you for so eloquently explaining our love affair with Wawa.”

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41. Anonymous said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 10:39AM

“Wawa has the best chocolate milk.”

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42. AhMayZing said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 11:45AM

“Wawa is obviously amazing, and I love that they continue to expand and offer even more awesome shit- but I have been noticing over the years that it's gradually gotten well... not actually that cheap. Outside of hoagiefest, the hoagies are actually kind of expensive. A lunch stop with a sandwich and a smoothie costs $10-12. That's as much as it costs me to get the same thing at WholeFoods...not criticizing Wawa because I'll still totally buy it costing whatever, but I think it's interesting that we all kind of hang on to that notion of Wawa being 'cheap.' Because it really isn't.”

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43. Outsider said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 12:16PM

“We have neither Sheetz nor Wawa where I live. If I am traveling in an area where you have both in close proximity, Sheetz wins every time. Sorry, but the menu is more varied and there's a great selection of fried items, which Wawa doesn't have. If you just want a sub, there's really no difference, but the fact you can get burgers and fried chicken sandwiches and french fries and fried mac n cheese bites at Sheetz makes it no contest. Wawa is OK but Sheetz is great.”

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44. dcnphilly said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 12:46PM

“Did I just read a Yelp review about a chain of convenience stores? I don't think there's anything significant enough about Wawa, 7-11, am/pm, Sheetz, etc. worth the online real estate this story took up. Has the mainstream's love for indie music and food trucks driven hipsters to find irony in the last place possible: corporate chains? I look forward to your next review about the bottomless breadsticks and salad at the Olive Garden.”

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45. Ugh said... on Jul 9, 2014 at 03:10PM

“Working collar....working collar....I get it.

There is nothing more annoying than a former U Penn student claiming this "cred."”

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46. TT said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 04:09AM

“1. I don't want a dick
2. A corporation exploiting a free music festival is probably not something Ben Franklin (takes place in "his" park) would have stood for.
3. Your dialect reflects the fact that Philly is one of the most crime ridden city's in the country - something you forgot to mention at the beginning

I love Philly and appreciate Wawa for what it is, but it's a fucking gas station/convenient store for crying out loud”

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47. Ben_from_bucks said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:37AM

“Sheetz has more of a selection - which is their greatest weakness. Yes, you can order a completely customizeable breakfast sammich at any time of day (C'mon Wawa you know we want Sizzlis for dinner & it's stupid to deny us), BUT, Sheetz spreads themselves too thin & they don't do everything well.

Their hoagies are terrible, their hot dogs are incredibly suspect (Wawa only fucks with Dietz & Watson), & the breakfast sandwiches are decent but sizzlis still win.

Also, in Josh's defense, people from all over Bucks County, south jersey & basically anywhere in a 50 mile radius of Philly say they're from Philly. Take it easy.

Wawa rules.”

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48. PJ said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:56AM

“I like dick more than sandwiches....just saying. lol”

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49. Garrett said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 01:45PM

“Really, the Santa/snowball thing again? It happened 17 years before I was born. Get over it.”

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50. VivieSarasota said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 02:22PM

“We are REJOICING at the coming of Wawa to us down here. Is she for real? Someone needs to tell that girl to get her head out of her ass. I grew up on Wawa, and would have STARVED in college without it! My kids went to Drexel and counted on Wawa more times than I can tell you. She totally underestimates Philly Pride, much less Wawa Pride. OY!”

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51. Anonymous said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 02:38PM

“Wawa, its a Delco thing... You wouldn't understand”

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52. Chris said... on Jul 10, 2014 at 03:37PM

“I grew up in Philly, worked for WaWa briefly in college, moved around and even in Virginia found myself down the road from the Woodbridge store. Because of DoD cuts, I found myself in Detroit and have to tell you that I am in a living hell now with only a hole-in-the-wall 7-11 to rip me off and give me 3 day old wrapped sandwiches on rolls that...don't get me started on the rolls.

I've slipped so far down that a company calling itself 'Jersey Mike's' actually tastes good. I need pork roll, I need tastycakes, I need butter cake, I need a damn actual Amoroso's roll!!! I need an airlifted, emergency Philly food package!!!

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53. Anonymous said... on Jul 11, 2014 at 05:57AM

“Yay for wawa! But seriously, how did u leave out the HUGE argument that we undoubtedly have the best children's hospital in the entire world?! That's a well known fact, and surely surpasses any argument”

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54. SOI said... on Jul 11, 2014 at 06:50AM

“No Surcharge ATM, variety of quick food, Cheap Gas, open 24/7, you can find one in any direction within 2 miles, mostly clean public bathrooms, community oriented and born and raised Local Business. GO WAWA! You don't need to get it, it's a local thing. Go home.”

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55. DJ said... on Jul 11, 2014 at 07:46AM

“Wawa's around me always offer fresh food, coffee, and friendly service. Sure their hoagies aren't winning any awards in quality but when you've tied one on for the night or the mom and pop deli is closed it's not bad in a pinch. It's just one of those things that people in this area grew up with an have an attachment to; i remember riding my bike with my buddies to grab hoagies (and comic books from the Rite Aid in the same center) and tastykakes and wouldn't trade those memories for anything in the world, Hell, back then you just had to go to the counter and have the guy write out ur hoagie order! So everyone relax, if you don't like Wawa there is a 7-11 (oh yuck!) around the corner, and a mini mart a few miles down that you can enjoy.
As far as the article, the author's loyalty to Wawa is just as bizarre as the lady's dislike for it.

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56. Charlie said... on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:00AM

“• Wawa WAS cool when you could order your sandwich from a human. (Touch-screen tech is fine, but NOT when you're not standing TWO FEET from the person preparing your meal.)
• Wawa WAS cool when you could order bulk cold cuts.
• Wawa WAS cool when it sold convenience bathroom items like aspirin and toothpaste.
• Wawa WAS cool when you could buy breakfast items like frozen waffles and sausage.
• Wawa WAS cool when it sold pre-made "Shorty" hoagies.

These days, Wawa is good for 4 things: chips, donuts, soda, and smokes.

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57. Vince said... on Jul 14, 2014 at 07:57PM

“LOLadelphia (a pretty kickass website btw) has a good take on Wawa here:”

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58. Anonymous said... on Jul 14, 2014 at 08:42PM


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59. phyllis said... on Jul 17, 2014 at 08:46PM

“I lived in Philly and in s Jersey. I probably went to wawa every day for years and years. Loved the Italian and roast beef hoagie. Then I moved to n Carolina and there were no wawa's. This made me sad. I wrote to wawa but they haven't put one in the fayetteville area yet. This would be a good area because there are a lot of pa. G I 's. Still none but they now have them in Florida. For now I have to go to Virginia for my wawa hoagie fix.”

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60. johnb said... on Jul 19, 2014 at 10:04AM

“I always thought that the ingredients Wawa used for their hoagies were great, except for the rolls, which really suck, and ruin it. Go to South Philly for some incredible hoagies on REAL rolls.”

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61. Jim said... on Aug 8, 2014 at 06:24AM

“Sheetz is what you do after you eat a WAWA hoagie”

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62. Lafflin said... on Oct 25, 2015 at 02:36PM

“I'm from south jersey. Wawa everywhere but I don't get it. Food isn't great
And we have loads of great sub shops in our area. Coffee is watered down and sucks. I'd rather got is mom and pop coffee or sub shop with better food. Or Starbucks at least they don't have watered down coffee”


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