Tuesday, September 12, 2006

At which point I wondered if this was really how I wanted to spend my 15 minutes of fame

The cheering was almost deafening as we entered the tunnel of people clapping, whooping, and yelping in excitement. It was a bit uncomfortable to be the focus of such attention, to have them cheering and yelling for us. I turned my head and saw Jes behind me and we shared a knowing glance of embarrassment and humor. It was humor that had been our good friend throughout this whole experience.

Saturday, 12:00 a.m.
After attending a concert with some friends (more on that later) I heard the familiar tune of my phone and wonder who would be calling me at such an hour. A quick look at the caller id and my interest is piqued. “Katie, what are you doing?” Jes’s chipper voice yells through my phone. I relate to her where I’ve been and that I’m heading home. “No, come spend the night with me and tomorrow we are going to wake up early and go to Macy’s at 6 a.m. and win a $1000 shopping spree, oh and I’ll buy you Starbucks.” Now, I’m not sure if I can explain to you my initial reaction to Jes’s plan. These are the key words I heard “wake up early”, “shopping spree”, and “Starbucks”. While I do love shopping and free shopping is my favorite and Starbucks is about as close to my heart as Dublin Dr. Pepper, the idea of waking up that early on a Saturday morning is almost blasphemous to me. It was decision time; I had to choose between my own comfy bed and hours of blissful sleep or an adventure with Jes. I turned my car toward her apartment and thus began what can only be called an adventure.

5:45 a.m.
It was early, too early. Jes must have once lived with a grizzly bear because she approaches sleepers with such gentleness and care so as not to incur the wrath of a grumpy sleep deprived me. After a little bit of reassurance that we did indeed need to wake up this early and that we would be fighting a long line of other pre-emptive shopping addicts, Jes and I embarked on the short drive to the mall. Let me now note that neither Jes nor I took a lot of time to get ready. This was a moment when neither of us could have been labeled high maintenance. Clothing, clean teeth, and hair pulled up in a messy bun was the extent our ready getting routine.

6:00 a.m.
I wanted to believe Jes; I wanted her to be correct in her belief that there would be a crowd of shoppers all flocking to the Macy’s parking lot at the butt-crack of dawn, vying for the coveted shopping spree. I wanted to believe, but deep inside I doubted. (Well maybe not so deep inside, because while I willingly participated in this adventure I wasn’t scared to state the sheer lunacy of it all.) So we rounded the corner anticipating other such die-hard shoppers and were met with a dark empty parking lot. Oh, there was an area marked off by some saw horses and police tape as well as a rent-a-cop guarding the parking lot from unruly shopping fanatics like ourselves, but that was it. We did a few laps wondering if we were in the right spot and debated whether to wait it out or go fulfill the promised Starbucks bribe that pulled me out of bed. After waiting for Starbucks to open (yes I said WAITING, on a Saturday morning, for Starbucks to OPEN, until 6:30 a.m. on a SATURDAY) we headed back, coffee and muffins in hand.

6:45 a.m.
It was a far-fetched hope, but I almost expected there to be people in the parking lot when we returned, and there were, but they were only Macy’s employees setting up the poles and velvet ropes to mark off the holding pen for the crowd. Eventually around 7ish two other cars pulled up filled with teenage boys (HA, like that would ever happen), with some other women who obviously anticipated a long line of shoppers. One lady had a back-up Macy’s planned in case this one was too crowded. Luckily at 7 a.m. she wasn’t in too much danger of being on the cusp of the 500 cut off.

7:30 a.m.
Now that the sun was coming up and more employees were arriving to decorate for the grand-re-opening, we figured it was time to trade our comfy car seats for a good stretch of concrete. The ironic part was that no one from the three cars that had been waiting for a half hour or so had made any attempt to go get in line. It’s almost like none of us wanted to be the first to move. Jes and I took on that challenge and made our way to the cattle shopper herding area and claimed our places of 1 and 2 in line.

This was about the part of the morning when I lost track of time, either because of sleep deprived delirium or my brain was trying to cope with the fact that I was sitting in the parking lot of a mall early on a Saturday morning. One of the saving graces in all of this is that Jes and I don’t need a lot to entertain ourselves when we’re together. We had lots of things to watch as a band set up and a dance troupe practiced. It was in this time period that we were informed of the actual opportunity for our great shopping spree. 500 gift cards were going to be handed out, one for $1000, two for $500, and the other 497 of them were for a whopping $10. The chance of obtaining one of the big amount cards was random so everyone had the same chances to win. Sitting there, I calculated the hour to dollar ratio and shared with Jes that we were probably going to earn a whole $2.50 per hour for our long wait.

The Press
I’m not sure I thought through the whole first in line bit when I woke up that morning, because we had not properly prepared ourselves to be at the mercy of the paparazzi. Being the first in line gsecured us as a prime photo opportunity. It’s a bit awkward to sit and look normal when you are having your picture taken over and over. And then the news cameras would inconspicuously swing around to focus in on us. "What’s your name? Where are you from? When did you get here this morning?" When we answered these questions we were always met with a look of disbelief and dare I say pity. After our initial photo shoot and interview I started laughing. Jes looked at me and asked what was funny. I told her that I realized we were those people that I always made fun of, the people that lined up for Wal-Mart to open the day after Thanksgiving, the people who lined up for days to be the first into the theater to see Star Wars (at least we weren’t in costume – a thought I shared with a photographer when she compared us to those star wars fanatics). And then the absurdity of the entire morning hit me as Jes looked at me and said, “Well at least you got a good blog topic out of this.”

10:00 a.m.
After a proclamation by the mayor, the official ribbon cutting, some highly inappropriate dancing by female Macy's employees who are way too old to shake their body parts in such a way, we were finally allowed to make our entrance into the store as the first and second shoppers. The velvet rope was unclipped and Jes and I made our way through the gauntlet of employees cheering and clapping. It almost felt like I was entering the Super Bowl of Shopping.

And so our adventure ends in the only way that it could, neither of us won the big money cards. Instead we delighted ourselves with our $10 gift cards and memories of a random and hilarious adventure.

Oh and we made the Dallas Morning News online paper (seen here). Let’s see, if I get 15 minutes of fame in my life, I’m wondering how many I used up on this escapade.


Blogger Eddo said...

Hey, you got your name mentioned in the paper! Very cool. Next time I want to be invited along on the shopping excursion - at least for the coffee and muffins part. Sounds delish.

Haha. My word ver... pdgbed it has the word "Bed" in it. How appropriate!

9/12/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous jes said...

We were soooooo lame. And looked rough. I don't know why we didn't think about the photographers.

I just finished flipping through all the pictures I took. There are quite a few of a Macy's employee, 40-ish, dancing quite FREAKily with a 14 year old boy.

There is something very wrong with that.

9/12/2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

HA! At least you made history! You and Jes were the FIRST TWO Shoppers to enter Macy's in Dallas.

That should be a triva question somewhere.

9/12/2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger steve said...

this is almost TOO much....


at least you didnt fall down

9/13/2006 1:23 AM  
Blogger Bobby said...

Steve, that's what I was thinking! She didn't fall down so it was 15 minutes of fame well spent.

Katie, you are a good storyteller.

9/13/2006 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it Katie. Of course I can't wait to see and hear you tell it all over again in person. ;-)

9/13/2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Yea K-T and Jes! Although I think your worst fears were realized when you did get your picture in the paper after all.

So boo K-T and Jes!

9/13/2006 1:32 PM  
Anonymous jes said...

NOT ONLY THAT, but my sister-in-law just happened to record us on TELEVISION.

9/13/2006 4:06 PM  

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