Where I come from back in the Northeast there is a chain of amazing little sub shops called Wawa. Back in West Chester, a suburb of Philadelphia from which I hail, they are not only a cooperate entity but a social institution. In most circles, Wawa not only surpasses other private competitors in the area but federal institutions as well; most would rather live near a Wawa than a police department or a good school. I have friends who have leased property with little other incentive than, "I know a 5-year lease commitment is a little long, and I know this place is small, has no windows, and still has the chalk outlines of the family that was executed here…but dude, there is a Wawa 500 yards away!"

Okay, so let me understand this. It sells sandwiches, gas, and snack food. How isn't that just a gas station?I hesitate to compare Wawa with one of its so-called contemporaries because I've never seen a Quiznos that, going 80 miles an hour, I would change 6 lanes of traffic for; I've never woken from a dead sleep at 3am and driven in a snow storm for a Subway foot long; and I wouldn't defend a 7-11 with my life if it was being robbed.

So trying to explain what a Wawa is to someone who's never experienced one can be a difficult conversation.

Me: God, I would kill your parents for a Classic Italian hoagie, right now.

Someone unfamiliar with Wawa, or as I call them, The Others: What's a Wawa?

Me: It's this chain of amazing sandwich shops, great sandwiches, iced tea, coffee, gas, and snacks, whatever.

The Others: Oh, so it's like a 7-11.

Me (gasping): Hell no! I don't know if you heard me use the word "amazing." The only thing amazing in a 7-11 is the language barrier.

The Others: Well if it's so amazing, why aren't they in Chicago?

Me: I don't know, why isn't the Eiffel Tower here? Why aren't there parking spaces? Why do you insist on calling soda "pop"? You people do a lot of stupid shit, I can't hold your hand through everything.

The Others: That doesn't make any sense.

Me: I know, sorry for lashing out. I defend Wawa like it was my baby.

Wawa in a gas station
Don't be fooled by the petroleum smell.
The Others: Okay, so let me understand this. It sells sandwiches, gas, and snack food. How isn't that just a gas station?

Me: Because it's amazing! They've won awards for their sandwiches.

The Others: Yeah, what, a Pulitzer? Oh no, the Sandwich Award Board of Planet Earth. What a prestigious organization it must be for bestowing trophies upon cold cuts wrapped in bread. Sorry if I'm not impressed by people who spend their days judging and awarding sandwiches.

Me: Well, if you went there you would understand.

The Others: Yeah, well next time you go home, bring me back one of their Philly cheese steaks.

Me: Oh, the cheese steaks suck at Wawa.

The Others: …

Me: Well I mean, they aren't perfect…everything else is amazing though.

The Others: You're an idiot.

Me: Yeah, I know.

This all leads to an inevitable conclusion that Wawa is like the Matrix: No one can be told what The Wawa is; you have to see it for yourself.

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