The Reckoner!

Wawa vs 7-Eleven

The Wawa.  The ubiquitous, less-well-known Philadelphia-area institution that provides coffee, sandwiches and all manner of small grocery items to a grateful public.  From humble dairy beginnings in Wawa, PA to the super-sized, gassed-up Wa's now blessing many-a corner, if you can't get it at a Wawa, you probably don't need it.  Might be a weird name, but it's practically a religious experience for adherents.  They do it just a little bit better...Wa-wa.

7-Eleven.  Slushies would be unknown without 7-Eleven.  It gave teenagers a parking lot to hang out in to avoid going home.  The first nationwide convenience store chain that you could count on to be open at almost all hours (or at least from 7am to 11pm).  For a fast hot dog, soda, chips and candy, it could not be beat.

Which is your convenience store of choice?

Reckoning Results!
A little bit better...
O thank heaven!
Previous Reckoning!
Do you use a clean towel every time you take a shower?
Next Reckoning!
Two Men With No Name. One is Mifune, one is Eastwood. Who was the bigger ...

Reckoning Comments!

You know those moments when you walk into a convenience store, but you're hungry enough to actually want to eat real food?  What do you usually do?  All they've got is chips-in-a-bag, Hostess Twinkies, and that hot dog that's been swirling in the case since the last episode of Cheers aired.

If you're anything like me, you end up buying a double-serving bag of Cheetos and trying to convince yourself you're having a meal.

This never happens at Wawa.  At Wawa, twenty seconds on a touch screen can net you real food made by real people.  Hoagies or soup or a chicken cheesesteak.  It's a miracle!

this is going to be a major blowout.

D.C. has no Wawa's, but every time I drive back to Philly I shed a single tear of joy as I anxiously turn into the first Wawa I find.  

Maybe next we'll do Wawa vs. Sheetz? At least that one would be more of a challenge.  

@Daniel Lloyd

Awesome idea.  Sheetz is definitely more of a match, and I'd give it the edge over Royal Farms in the Mid-Atlantic convenience store battle royale. I think Wawa has its next challenger.

Hands down. WAWA

The question is -- what will it take to get Wawa to head north instead of south.  It's all well and good that Wawa is in the Hampton Roads area, but when will it break into CT or MA?  Do you have any idea how happy I'd be if a Wawa was in, say, Reading, Stoneham, Andover or Burlington and I could hit it on the way to work? 

Of course, Dunkin' Donuts wouldn't be happy...

And I agree, this probably wasn't a fair comparison.  It's left-over from when I was a kid and it was really only Wawa and 7-Eleven.  Sheetz vs Wawa is a better comparison.

This is a truly wonderful article about both Sheetz and Wawa:

My favorite quotes from it:

"[Wawa] upped its game in the 1980s, becoming less pit-stop and more what cultural analysts call the "third place" (neither home nor workplace -- what America has instead of sidewalk cafes)."

"And the toilets! Monitored constantly by dedicated assistant managers who are alert to any hint of filth. Why, the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to . . ."

"'Wawa: It's that end-of-Sunday feeling of sand in your shoes, bikini-strap sunburns and dry hair, the last gas stop before home"

and the best block:

"Wawa: Here is Howard Stoeckel on the phone, the CEO since 2005. To talk to Wawa's corporate people is to enter a world of relentless sunshine and customer satisfaction. They want to know you, the customer, all about you. That is, if you want to be known. It seems it's always free balloons and doughnuts day in a Wawa somewhere. If you're too tired for that sort of pep this morning and just want the damn coffee, they still love you.

Stoeckel says Wawa should be like Cheers, or like a good friend or an uncle, the place people go when the world falls apart (9/11, the Jersey stores were crammed with people who just needed other people), when the storms come, where the TV crews go to interview commuters about snow. Wawa's spokeswoman follows up with PDFs of press clippings (more Convenience Store News) and charts that demonstrate Wawa's utter dominance in the convenient arts.

Stoeckel also drives to a lot to different Wawas, just to see, just to chat up the staff. "The employees own 28 percent of the company, after all," he says. "The CEO works for them." He also likes to watch customers, what they do, how they put a little cappuccino in their dark roast and then add the creamer a certain way. Fascinating. In a Wawa recently in Kennett Square, Pa., Stoeckel met a man who was traveling with his daughter, a Villanova student, and they were driving south into Virginia. The man had predetermined which Wawa locations they'd be stopping at all day, until, sadly, they would leave the shaded safety zone of Wawaland, far beyond the common use of the word "hoagie." And then what? They'd be left to fate."


Maybe I should just go work for Wawa.  I gladly put on the mark of that beast a long time ago (1976 in Narberth, PA, to be exact).


Here in Tulsa, the premier convenience store is QuikTrip.  There's a QT practically every mile.  Never heard of Wawa, but when I was travelling from Oklahoma to New Jersey, I saw a fair number of BP stores.

Aha - now I now why Larry is so enamured with Wawa - it's right there in teh WashPo article he references ---- they play Tears for Fears at the fuel pump islands :D

I grew up in central PA (Lycoming Cty), and apparently the whole Sheetz craze came about in earnest long after I graduated from high school and migrated out to the area (to the Philly suburbs).

My morning is incomplete without a full 20oz Wawa travel mug (yes I bought the plastic mug - you get a discount on refills that more than pay for the cost of the mug pretty quick) with Hazelnut coffee and Hazelnut non-dairy (ironic since Wawa started as a dairy company but I suspect this is to account for folks with allergies) creamer.

My vote - Wawa

I have 3 of the mugs.  They bring fond memories as I fill them in the morning...

How is this even a question....Wawa is king

I thought all 7-11's were extinct! If not, they should be. 

Wawa is a great concept and despite its name (I was once told by a French girl that wawa meant pee) it seems to have done everything right. Decent quality food, great range of choice, open all hours, benevolent, family owned (so each store location has only themselves to blame for any failure) altruistic (scholarships, etc.)....

And their wraps are easy to eat while driving, talking on your cell, checking your makeup in the rearview mirror, tuning in a radio station, and struggling to find your seat belt. 

Hands down for WaWa

The Reckoner!