It felt like I was crossing a picket line as I walked into Royal Farms for the very first time, just after 630 this morning.

I'm a Wawa guy, always have been a Wawa guy. Why change up what's good?

On weekdays, I usually hop out of bed at the crack of 3:15am. (Yes, Hop! I love my job and I'm always excited for the new morning to begin!)

This morning, I slept in `til almost 6, and on the way into the office, my car turned into the fairly new Royal Farms on Fire Road at Tilton Road, in Egg Harbor Township.

The store (is it called a store or a gas station?) opened early this past spring, but I had never entered the driveway, until today.

I parked in front of the building and headed for the door. A Royal Farms employee was about ten paces in front of me and walked in the door first.

WAIT! He didn't hold the door for me. Right away, this is not Wawa.

I immediately headed to the cooler area to grab a cold drink. (I don't drink coffee, in case you were wondering.)

My drink of choice this morning was going to be a diet iced tea. It was going to be - but, I couldn't find one. Really. I searched and searched and.... nothing.  The beverage coolers seemed pretty bare. It was as if no one had stocked the cooler lately and it looked like they were running out of things.

Now, again, I'm a Wawa guy.

Did you ever notice that Wawa keeps everything fully stocked, most of the time? The beverage coolers are always full at Wawa, but at Royal Farms there was a lot of "white space." (Actually that's like a newspaper term!)

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I looked around. What the heck was that? It wasn't my phone. I took it out of my pocket. What was that? It sounded so familiar.

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There it was again!

What was that?

Wait, I know, it's the smoke alarm chirping. Our smoke alarms at home do that when the battery needed replacing.

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Our smoke alarms at home only need the battery replaced every year or two (or three). Royal Farms just opened a few months ago. Why are the batteries dying already? Did they use a generic brand of battery that dies quickly? (Oh, boy, don't you hate putting them in your TV remote and they last about 4 days?)

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OK. The chirping is getting really annoying now. I look around. There's only one other customer and 3 or 4 employees inside the store. No one seems to be paying attention to the chirping, but me.

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Oh, Lord, that's annoying! Again, no one seems to notice or, dare I say it, care. Why isn't someone on a ladder trying to quiet that thing.

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After failing to find a diet iced tea, I settle on a bottle of water and a chocolate milk.

I then look to find something fairly healthy for a grab-and-go breakfast. I don't see anything.

I head over to the little kiosk computer screen and look for something to order. I settle on a breakfast wrap with egg, sausage, and cheese and print my little numbered slip out.

I believe the computer asked me 32 times if I wanted to add a chicken leg to my order.

JK

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Why does no one care about the chirping? (I've always found that it's a bad situation when employees don't care.)

I head over to pay, and notice there's a specific way that you have to walk to the pay place. I see a "Do Not Enter" sign, so I curl around and find the "Enter Here" place. I walk up and... oh, wow, this is one of those self-checkout things. (Side note: my wife refuses to let me use one of these self-checkouts when she's with me. She says I get too frustrated.)

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Oh, man.

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Really?

OK, so I do the self check-out thing and start to walk out of the pay area when BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I get run into by an employee who rolled right passed the "Do Not Enter" sign, and runs smack into me.

"What the Hell!" I yell.

"I'm sorry, sir", he says.

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(I'm pretty sure I said some not-nice things here. After all, he broke the store's "Do Not Enter" policy and banged right into me. At 6:45am.)

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God! Don't you people notice that!

For the purpose of this review going on forever, I'll get to the end here.

The sandwich lady - I'm sorry but I don't know what else to call her - tentatively made my breakfast wrap. It seemed to take forever for her to get a wrap, put an egg on it, followed by a sausage patty, and a slice of cheese. She then put the wrap in the oven-thingy for a quick heat up.

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Good God!

I have to tell you, the wrap looked less and less appetizing as she finalized the preparation.

BUT - and there's always a but - when I ate it 5 minutes later it was actually pretty good.

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I walked out of the store and headed on my way, uncertain if I'll be back anytime soon.

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Dear Royal Farms People: FIX THE DAMN SMOKE ALARM!

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Did someone burn your famous chicken?

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Oh, heck. I just remembered that it's HoagieFest at you-know-where! What was I thinking?