Are you Sheetz or are you Wawa?

wawaSome nice feedback on this Style section feature I wrote on the east coast/mid-sheetz.Atlantic convenience stores chains. You got your Sheetz and you got your Wawa. Which one do you like better? Me, I dig both. Mostly I just dig driving around for no reason, thinkin’ while drinkin’ enormous diet sodas. Even though I know it’s all bad for the environment. Some comments on the Washington Post web site have been along the usual lines of GET A LIFE.

Dammit, people, can’t you tell I’m trying to?


By Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writer

All the wild-fowl sang them to him,

In the moorlands and the fenlands,

In the melancholy marshes;

Chetowaik, the plover, sang them,

Mahng, the loon, the wild goose, Wawa . . .

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Song of Hiawatha”

Wawa in the morning, Sheetz at night.

Sheetz in the morning, Wawa at night.

They’re just convenience stores, you shouldn’t think too hard about them. (Fair warning: This story thinks too hard about them.)

By late July, this much came clear: Some of us were going no place exotic in this, the bummer summer. There wasn’t the time or there wasn’t the money. Things keep not happening, or the wrong things happened. We never got farther than the Sheetz convenience store off the interstate. Stood there paralyzed by the choices in a Wawa — what kind of chips, what kind of sandwich, what kind of soda, what kind of frozen chocolate thing? What kind of life? Which? What?

How about just resigning ourselves to summer’s fate? What about a local sort of road trip, a mini-mart epic, bouncing between all the Sheetzes and all the Wawas you can find? Sheetz just opened its 360th location. Wawa will open its 571st this week. We live right where their territories overlap, a lovely Venn diagram of two same-but-different worlds.

Where are you going?

I got the jits tonight. I’m going for a drive.


I don’t know. The Wawa store in Waldorf and back. Get a big soda and something else. The Sheetz, maybe, out toward Fredericksburg. Or up 270, then Buckeystown. Through Antietam, curving through the dark American mist. I’ll do the Wawa and then a Sheetz, then turn around at Hagerstown. In either a Wawa or a Sheetz I will listen happily to … READ THE REST HERE.


  1. blathering on August 27, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    When I had to live in Baton Rouge for 9 months after Katrina, the
    fanciest convenience store in the world was next to my apartment
    building. It had 6(!) different flavors of icees! And a decent
    wine selection and was really clean. What more could a poor
    little evacuee want?

  2. Jolene on August 28, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I like the rhythm and mood of this piece very much. You have a real gift for noticing what’s around you and drawing your readers’ attention to it with wit, sympathy, and originality. Nice work.

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