Shopping on Glendale Avenue

You really only meant to buy a box of moist towelettes and a can of string cheese on your way home from work the other day, but things got a little crazy. You were driving up Glendale Avenue looking for a convenience store when you spotted La Fama Bakery, thought, Ooh, empanadas!, and pulled in real quick.

Certainly, there’ll be a CVS or a Walgreens, you thought to yourself once you were back behind the wheel and licking frosting from a pan dulce. You didn’t see a grocery, but there was a Value Village, which got you to wondering how long it’d been since you’d gone thrifting, and that’s all it took — you were inside and pawing through a bin of vintage Melmac before you knew it. Plastic dishware was better with serving pieces, but they didn’t have any styrene serving platters. That orange corduroy bean bag chair was a steal, though, so it was worth the trip.

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The act of buying a new vehicle tends to be about as exciting as a root canal. Not so at Tempe Autoplex, where shopping is like walking around a chrome-plated toy store. There are thousands of vehicles across the 12 individual dealerships, which means a selection to fit most budgets, lifestyles, and color preferences. Don't think of it as yet another affordable car dealership — it's more of a monument to the grander car culture of the Valley. Tempe Autoplex's mere existence demonstrates just how vital cars are to the larger cultural makeup of the region. Even those among us with an apathetic outlook on cars could find ourselves swept up by the allure of wandering around 80-plus acres of pure vehicular power.

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