Obviously fucking not, but let's discuss.
If you grew up in northern Appalachia in the early to mid 2000s, getting a Sheetz in your hometown was the equivalent of getting a hydrocodone pill mill or a pseudo famous internet star on your local semi pro hockey team. No exaggeration, it was that big of a deal. Something about that meandering, bright red canopy evoked intense feelings of warmth and euphoria that not even three million readily available painkillers from your nearest pharmacy could collectively accomplish. Sheetz was, at the very least, the most popular gas station, restaurant, and entertainment venue within a 20 mile radius. Sheetz was the club. Sheetz was a utopia.
On any given Saturday night in places like Wheeling, WV or Johnstown, PA, the Sheetz parking lot was jam-packed with enough drunk high school kids to fill up the VIP guest list at a Chris D'Elia show. And don't get me started on what was going on in the inside of the store...
Ordering from the MTO screen was like playing Grand Theft Auto on your older brother's PS2 while your overly Catholic, helicopter mom took a Xanax nap in the next room over. There was an undeniable risk-reward factor, but the Dev Team at Sheetz Co. was consistently adding new menu items, glitches, and easter eggs to keep you coming back for more. Was the food even remotely decent? God no. It was virtually inedible. But that wasn't the point.
It didn’t matter that the Cheat Code Quesadilla tasted like a damp Manila folder filled with spicy pencil erasers and chipotle battery acid. The thrill of unlocking a secret menu item appeased your appetite better than the consumption of any five star foodstuff.
And successfully contributing to the ever-growing elevation of their permanently overflowing garbage cans felt like you were interning at Guinness or advancing in a game of Jenga. Even as I stumbled through college and post-grad adulthood, Sheetz continued to remain a cultural staple and daily routine for me. And I documented and reviewed all of my experiences there, like some type of deranged Anne Geddes who photographed quasi hot dogs instead of babies.
I was like if Glenny Balls took ketamine and then accidentally ate Dave Portnoy. Or if Shane Smith never got a passport.
Something about the general filth and repulsion of the average Sheetz was honestly endearing to me. I felt at home when I was amidst its muck. I felt accepted. I felt loved.
Truth is, I never really gave too much of a shit about their flaws. I’ve always been a loyal Sheetz fan through the thick and thin, and hell, I always will be.
So when I finally found out about the birthplace of Sheetz (embarrassingly late) the other day, I impulsively changed my Independence Day plans from three days in Put-in-Bay to three days in the magical wonderland of Altoona, Pennsylvania.
That's right. Nestled in the hills of western Pennsylvania's coal mining country lies a small city with enough charm to make a thousand KBs prematurely cum. Home to more Sheetz per capita than any city on earth, it's almost like Altoona was created in a lab by scientists who devoted their careers to studying my brainwaves and interests.
Like the Mecca for diabetic Steelers fans with multiple DUIs and domestic violence charges, no matter where you are in Altoona, there’s a Sheetz within view. And I'll be damned if I'm not going to experience it for myself.
Never mind the fact that, even despite all the Sheetzes, it's a luxurious destination getaway filled to the flat brim with family-friendly attractions. It's like if Myrtle Beach was located in the average hometown of its boardwalk t-shirt stand's customers.
Whether you’re contracting MRSA from a Kryptonite foam party, pulmonary cancer from "Altoona Style" pizza, or a traumatic brain injury from getting double bounced off their children museum's trampoline, the city has something for tourists of all ages. But most importantly, the sheer amount of Sheetzes — ten-plus of them to be exact.
In my head, I had to do more than just “visit” them. I had to make an entire event out of them. So I joined the town's most popular and exclusive Facebook group to try to gauge public interest.
Of fucking course people were willing to pay money just to pay money to go to the same place ten times in one day. And the fact that it culminated at the largest Sheetz on earth—the Taj MaSheetz—was just the icing on the cake. Machu Sheetzu? The Tower of Sheetza? Just fucking look at it. LOOK AT IT.
Without a shred of sarcasm or hyperbole, I think it's absolutely breathtaking. I could make an entire long weekend out of this Sheetz alone. I'd honestly rather go here than any island resort in Greece or Thailand. Fuck it, I'd even consider getting married there.
They even have a Tesla charging station.