If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are either a freshman or a person who miraculously doesn’t crave hoagies ordered via computer screen when you’re hungover.
Since the mid-’90s, the Temple News has published grievances about the lack of Wawas on campus, especially in conjunction with the existence of two 7-Elevens, one on Liacouras Walk and one just four blocks away at the corner of 15th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
Rumors circulated about this questionable business tactic, ranging from a lack of compliance on Wawa’s end to the idea of 7-Eleven actually having a monopoly on Temple, an idea that sounds a bit too much like a board game.
Steven Kaspin, a junior biology major and former Wawa employee, had another theory.
“It could be due to the fact that Wawa would likely be unable to handle the customer volume it would receive,” he said.
“The overwhelming consensus is that Wawa is superior to 7-Eleven,” Kaspin added. “But for whatever reason, [they] have decided to not open a location at Temple.”
For years, this explanation seemed suitable enough. Students fell back on the monopoly theory and tried to enjoy their taquitos, distracting themselves from dreams of something better. Recently, however, this coping mechanism has proven not to be strong enough.
For the past few months, Temple students would fall into a hush when they walked by the construction site that occupies the former BP gas station on Broad and Diamond streets. They didn’t want to speak their hopes, for fear of jinxing them, but the underlying message was clear.
“Could this finally be a Wawa?”
When I saw the “7-Eleven Coming Soon” sign on the site, it felt like I was again being told that Santa isn’t real. I decided to commit myself to finding answers for frustrated and hungry Temple students, once and for all.
However, multiple attempts to contact Wawa about its business practices, via regional managers and public relations representatives, were unsuccessful.
7-Eleven is franchised, in contrast with Wawa’s corporate management system, but the company must approve the franchisee’s requested location through a process of interviews and site analyses.
When I reached out to the company about its sites on Main Campus, I didn’t receive much information. What was 7-11’s motivation for opening yet another Temple location? Does 7-Eleven have any sort of agreement with Temple?
When a spokesperson for 7-Eleven finally got back to me, her response was simple.
“The only info I have is that we enjoy a good relationship with Temple and look forward to continued cooperation.”
Temple students, however, don’t seem too keen on the idea of the store’s new opening.
“I’m not excited about the new 7-Eleven due to the two already within a small radius of each other,” said Collin Nissly, a senior psychology major and former 7-Eleven employee. Nissly acknowledged, however, that this new location could be convenient for those living on the north end of campus.
As one of those students, I beg to differ. If I want a late-night snack, I will go to McDonald’s or U Got Munchies, both within a block of the new 7-Eleven. If I need groceries, Rite Aid is across the street.
I began to fantasize about jalapeno poppers and realized that maybe this is the way things are supposed to be. The absence of Wawa on Main Campus allows students to idealize and glorify Wawa – to perhaps something greater than it is – while we eternally settle for subpar munchie food and inconvenient ATM fees.
Grace Holleran can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @coupsdegrace.