Looking for a summer love? Don’t bother with dimly-lit bars serving $6 Coors Lights. Skip the club scene and the electronic beats. Even your corner coffee shop with the expensive — but admittedly delightful — light roast may not be the right spot. The real place you should plop down is in your local Wawa. At least that’s what the data from Craigslist’s Missed Connections suggests.
For a February 2013 issue of Psychology Today, Dorothy Gambrell created an infographic mapping the most popular spots for missed connections across the nation. For the majority of states, the prime destinations were the supermarket, the gym, public transit and Walmart (in 15 states, yikes). Aside from Illinois, which oddly has its top location as “at home,” and Rhode Island where apparently you’re bound to meet in a parking lot, Pennsylvania takes the snack cake for the oddest spot with convenience stores — a.k.a. Wawa (and, okay, Sheetz).
If you’re unfamiliar with Missed Connections, it’s the section on Craigslist where Internet sentimentalists write short posts about a person they saw somewhere — or someone they had a brief conversation with — who they can’t get out of their head. A lot of it is romantically oriented. Occasionally they can get a bit weird.
As I write this, 30 Wawa-related missed connections are currently listed on the Philadelphia site, dating back to March 24th (the posts disappear after 45-day limit), out of 1,003 missed connections. Open it up nearby locations like Central Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware, that number grows to 86 Wawa-romantics out of 2,367 posts. That adds up to about 4 percent of the Missed Connection community. While that may on first glance may seem small, a large chunk of the other messages aren’t actually missed connections. Artist, writer and researcher Ingrid Burrington found during a study of Missed Connections data that almost half of the posts on the site fall into a “Grey Area” that includes, replies to other posts, tirades about former relationships, and saucy poems or song lyrics. The rest of the posts for Philadelphia are scattered about the city or don’t include a specific location.
But either way, there are a lot of hopeless — or misguided — romantics out there, crossing their fingers that a few Internet clicks may connect them with the love of their life. And a lot them appear to be frequenting your local Wawa; buying sandwiches, filing up on gas, and hoping not to miss another opportunity.
So why would a place that specializes in made-to-order hoagies be a top spot for almost-lovers? Read more »