I have a piece on The Philly Post today about the remodeled Wawa at 17th and Arch. Fun stuff, but I have an even more important thing about Wawa to tell you about.
I thought about it when everyone was making fun of Mitt Romney for calling the chain “Wawas” when he visited a Quakertown Wawa earlier this month. Everyone had a good laugh at Mitt getting the store’s name wrong.
Only he wasn’t wrong, Inquirer reporter Thomas Fitzgerald tweeted, explaining Romney saying “Wawa’s” in the possessive form. “A common Midwestern linguistic tic,” he added.
Even if he did get it wrong, though, I think we need to leave Mitt Romney alone (well, on the “Wawas” thing). Let’s not be hypocritical: Nobody around here can write Wawa correctly.
It’s not WaWa. It’s just Wawa.
Fitzgerald’s tweet called it WaWa. Andrew Sullivan got it wrong, too. And Politico’s Dylan Byers. And the newspaper then known as the St. Petersburg Times, in 2010.
This isn’t just a national issue, though. Think about it. At least one of your friends has written “WaWa.” Think real hard. You might have done it, too. Or, even worse, written it “Wa Wa.”
This is something we as a region need to work on. The store is named after Wawa, Pennsylvania, which in turn is named after the Ojibwe word for goose. C’mon, people, it’s in Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha.”
Even Wawa is firm on the issue. “We do not capitalize the second ‘w’ in Wawa, and never have,” Wawa spokeswoman Lori Bruce emailed. (I wish she had added, “And we never will.”) It’s even clear in the logo for the Doo-Wop Wawa in Wildwood. It’s just Wawa.
Still confused? To help you out, I made the chart above. I think if we all work really hard we can start getting this right.
Update: A few people have noted that linguistic tics like “Wawa’s” are pretty common all over, not just in the MIdwest. Also, I fixed a typo.
10 months ago