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City Desk

The moniker began as insider’s shorthand, distinguishing the supermarket on the lower part of Wisconsin Avenue from its “Soviet” and “Secret” counterparts. Then former Sen. Bob Packwood elevated the nickname to national prominence: “Had an apple and a hamburger and milk, and then went shopping at the Safeway,” Packwood wrote in his Jan. 14, 1993, diary entry. “God, it’s such a much better store than Giant—the social Safeway in Georgetown.” And now, the term has officially entered the vernacular. In a press release flacking the circulation of newly issued golden dollar coins, the U.S. Mint advertises an event to be held at the “Georgetown Social Safeway.” “We thought people would easily recognize [the name],” explains event spokesperson Mattie Buskirk. —Elissa Silverman