The shopping available inside the Pentagon

The Pentagon has more than just military related offices and facilities within its 6.5 million square feet: it also has shopping.

The Pentagon is one of the largest office buildings in the world. But you are never more than a stone’s throw away from fast food. McDonald’s. Popeye’s. Burger King. There’s a Baskin Robbins barely 50 yards from the press pen, which is just cruel. The Taco Bell is more of a hike, but military life rewards the bold…

Imagine if Thomas Kinkade had served in uniform. That’s what you’ll get at the Pentagon’s paintings shop — gauzy, unsubtle oil-on-canvas depictions (and tasteful reproductions!) of military scenes. Why someone would want portraiture of being wounded in battle is a separate question…

Military life means changing addresses — a lot. To cope with the dreaded PCSing (that is, the verbed version of the acronym Permanent Change of Station; what we civilians call “moving”) there’s a luggage store a few corridors down from the office, and it sells the finest in leather goods. Especially if you like marked-down Louis Vuitton…

Bored by the endless PowerPoints that a day in the Pentagon promises? Sneak out to the Best Buy to figure out how you can finance an iPad on a bureaucrat’s salary. Or linger in front of the big flatscreens and get caught up in a Lost episode. The store has saved many a beat journalist whose voice recorder ate it right before a budget briefing.

It seems like you have quite a large captive set of consumers though it would be interesting to know how many employees visit these retailers. What kind of bidding takes place to get your business in the Pentagon?

This does make me wonder how much designers/architects of big office buildings design things so that workers will stay within the building to spend money at chain retailers. At some point, having a large enough building likely justifies placing a number of service businesses within the building itself. Are there any civilian structures that rival the selection of the Pentagon?

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