Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Shopping

I have never been shopping on a Black Friday, what used to be *the* shopping day. I always worked in hospitality, retail or just had a boss that was not cool with the day after Turkey Day being a freebie. Working in retail, you see people at their absolute worst. In fact, I dreaded the day after Christmas more. People would return items without a receipt, purchased in October, and by December it is worth less than half, after numerous markdowns. I have had people chuck things at my head.

My first job, at Marc's, resulted in a woman throwing 25 dog bones at me, pelting me as I ran away because they were 25 for $1.00, not 25 for .99 as she claimed. I also had a can of olives chucked at me over a few pennies.  There is some internal switch that flips in people, transforming them into drooling meanies for a deal. 

I'm not here to be all judgey pants if shopping on Thanksgiving or at 3 am the day after is right or wrong. I wish the holidays weren't shoved down our throats earlier every year, though. At this rate, the Christmas Aisle will be popping up somewhere around Memorial Day. I wish it weren't such a raw deal to work on the holiday, but for some folks, it is their only option. That, friends, is an entirely separate bloggity blog post.

Last night, I dragged my dad out to the Wal-Mart to snag one of those $98 TVs for me. I actually need a new tv and I will tell you now, never, ever, ever again will I do that.

Wal-Mart sale flyer with my tv. 
Somewhere in my head, I thought it would be easy going. Wal-Mart has this new 1-hour in stock guarantee for some items. If you are there within the hour time period, you get a tv. I imagined Oprah's voice, "YOU GET A TV AND YOU GET A TV AND YOU GET A TV" bellowing over the loud speakers.

The sale for my tv was 6-7 and I thought if we were in line by 5, we would be cool. The parking lot wasn't any more crowded on any given afternoon, so I was smug in my plan. My pop and I walked through the doors and grabbed a map and started down the main aisle, on the tv hunt. We were in the store no less than three minutes when we heard a man screaming behind us, equipment belt jangling, "MAKE A HOLE MAKE A HOLE PEOPLE!" 

My dad gave me that fatherly look of "What have you gotten me in to"  as we continued down the aisle. Turns out some guy had his mitts on an item not yet for sale and wouldn't let it go. I'm no security expert, but screaming "MAKE A HOLE" at people isn't the best way to get them to move. I would have shouted "MOVE."  

By the time we made it to the tvs, all of the wristbands were long gone (meaning no tv for take-home) and we were standing in line for an hour for a purchase voucher. 

The challenge of shopping on Turkey Day is that some people dipped into a whole lotta Wild Turkey with their bird. The man in front of us was bleary eyed and swaying while WHISPERING instructions to his wife to, "knock people the F@!# out" if they got in her way. 


A little after 6 pm, we received our coupon (you paid for the tv and then had to register online) and tried to make our way to the exit. Shoppers were in full pounce mode around piles of certain items in the middle of aisles, waiting for the item to go on sale. I am going to say that conservatively, Wal-Mart sold 500 tvs. The 100 in-stock were long gone by the time we got through the line and there were hundred of people behind us.

I saw several wide-eyed Wal-Mart management types frantically barking into walkie talkies and the faces of startled employees as they tried to manage the line. 

On our way out, we waited in line for some of the $1.96 movies (I snagged the Batman films and Fight Club),  heard horror stories of past years from a woman with giant fluffy stuffed animals in her cart. She made me feel them as she told us how she took all of this character and her motto of screw everyone else. My dad gave me the look again, solidifying the notion that he was never doing this again. People were grabbing handfuls of movies as they moved through the line, only to dump them through out the store. I guess no one told him that this wasn't Supermarket Sweep.

As we exited the movie pen (people were led through single-file in a maze of display cases), there was screaming and shouting as shoppers started to tear into the $75 tvs an hour early. Frantically, a worker tried to take them all back, yelling at the shoppers trying to take them. Shoppers in turn yelled at her because someone else did it and it wasn't their fault because it wasn't fair. 


The checkout took close to an hour with only a couple registers able to take the 1-hour guarantees. For all the people in the store, they didn't have enough registers open, which I find mind boggling. 

After we got home, it took another hour to register the vouchers online and I am the proud owner of some $98 tv. Somewhere between December 14-24 it will be in store for me to pick up.


Did you do any Thanksgiving shopping?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Stay In South Beach

Shot taken by Fox 8. The poor camera guy.
Lefoolio will become a free agent in 2014, and there is a group of kids that wants nothing more than for him to dazzle the fans once again in Wine and Gold. This group is throwing everything their little hearts can muster at their "Come Home Lebron" campaign, with billboards, tweets and instagrams, and my favorite - neon t-shirts. 

When Lefoolio comes back with Wade's Heat on Wednesday, these kids will be outside the Q, giving away t-shirts. If you wear one of these neon beauties and tweet a picture, you might win Cavs season tickets, or you might win a swift noogie from those around you.
James Blair running out professing his love for all things Lefoolio. image from Sports Illustrated. 
These kids and their group are welcome to do whatever they would like, however misguided their intentions are, it is still a free fandom. I personally wouldn't drop $50,000 on billboards and tshirts begging Lefoolio to return. That is the equivalent to getting dumped at the prom but still offering to pay for the tickets to Cedar Point in the morning. 

There is a point that this campaign is missing. 

A very critical point. 

We did this all before.

We had billboards and t-shirts. Maybe these cats are forgetting about the Clevelanders for Lebron James "We Are Lebron" video. Lefoolio was *begged* by the entire city to stay. Dick "WollyBearsAreYourFriendsAndAdoptAKittenToday" Goddard even sang in the video. Betty White and the girls pleaded with him to stay in Hot in Cleveland. Fans got tattoos, and the Witness Car guy - that poor shlub - is left with a car pleading for Lefoolio to stay. How about the Lefoolio Day in Akron that he showed up to...after it was over?

There was a 10 story likeness outside of the arena of Lefoolio for years, and that wasn't enough for him to stay in Cleveland. 

Lefoolio didn't want to be in Cleveland (which, as he will tell you, is NOT his home) in 2010 and there is no way he is coming back in 2014. I'm sorry guys, but like the Easter Bunny, this isn't for real. 

I don't think these kids have fully accepted the fact that when Lefoolio bolted, he left the city of Cleveland, spitting giant loogies in our face while flipping us off with both hands, cackling like a hyaena, on his way to get his Jams for South Beach. For crying out loud, he dumped us without a second thought on national tv and never looked back. Lefoolio was never a part of Cleveland, and he was fine with that.

Why would he come back? What possible reason would Lefoolio have in returning to Cleveland? 

Money? Pretty sure he has a crap ton of that.

Championship? Next.

Family? His family is in Akron. With all of his moohla, it isn't a problem to fly momma and his posse around.  

Unfinished business? Well, he does owe hundreds of bartenders and servers for the tips he never paid when he was in Cleveland. I know, I know, his posse did like to say, "here's your tip, you just served the king," but that really isn't something that you can take to the bank. 

Legacy? There is no question, if Lefoolio stayed in Cleveland, he could have had anything. There is not another place on the planet (not even you, Akron), that was willing to go so far to show devotion. If Lefoolio stayed, he would have been a hero with a statue. In South Beach? He is just another dude with money. And a boat. I'll bet he has a boat.

What about his relationship after he left with the team and the city? An ice cube staying frozen in hot cocoa in the middle of the desert has a better chance of survival than Dan Gilbert hugging it out with Lefoolio in 2014. One re-read of his comic sans masterpiece  and that is clear. Remember the Lefoolio Fatheads going down to $17.41, the birth year of Benedict Arnold? Uncle Dan doesn't need the money and neither one is going to wolf down that giant humble pie baked topped with poo and be the first one to shake hands.

And the fans...oh my goodness...the fans. Lefoolio doesn't have enough character in his soul to deal with their rightful anger. He is known for his fits of fury and frustration because not everyone likes him. 


I'm not sorry that I call him out as the quitter that he is. Game 5? Remember the oh my goodness so painful elbow injury? I never once saw pain on his face. Certainly not like the pain and tears he wailed about when he got a leg cramp in the Heat playoff game. 

We have seen what Lefoolio can do. We have also seen what he won't do.

I am content for him to stay in South Beach and open a chain of juice bars. 

I took this in the MuniLot. Yes, that is a Lefoolio jersey on fire.

Monday, November 25, 2013

P!nk In Cleveland

I am a huge fan of P!nk and I am happy that I sprung for the tickets to see her in Cleveland.

P!nk is one of those rare entertainers...she can sing, she can dance and she may have missed her calling for Cirque. Her acrobatic skills are nothing short of amazing.

The concert started off with a pervy version of Beetlejuice promising to explore all facets of love - including the naughty bits. I could have done without him making guys in the audience uncomfortable by rubbing himself against their head. It was awkward as it sounds.

There were parts of the show that gave me a flash back to 8th grade when I convinced my mom to take me to see Madonna. That was during "Like A Virgin" and Madonna was at her rebellious sexual peak. P!nk didn't need to imitate that...girl has her own skills.

Not only was her voice amazing and pitch on, but P!nk really seemed to enjoy herself. She was happy to be in Cleveland and thanked the audience for the snow for her daughter to see. She was grateful for the gifts from the crowd, including what looked like a piƱata of her head.

The most amazing part was during "So What" where she flew, and I mean flew through the crowd. I hope my video below does it justice, because I almost threw up trying to follow her through the air.  


I do have some advice for folks attending concerts in general. I know you don't want to hear this, but I am going to strongly encourage you to wear comfortable shoes. I saw more middle aged women hobbling around like baby deer in their "going out" heels. Quite a few folks flat out gave up and walked out into the snow with their shoes in their hands...if they remembered to take them.

Some poor soul lost her shoes after the concert. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

To Pee In A Tent, Or Not To Pee In A Tent

An unidentified pee tent in the Muni Lot. 
To pee in a tent, or not to pee in a tent: that is the question:
Whether to endure the lines and lack of hand sanitizer
The City's provided porta potties,
Or to take circumstances into our own hands,

By not using the porta potties? To pee, to pee;
No more lines; and by peeing, we do so in private
The horror of no toilet paper
Or worse, oh heavens, so much worse

To pee, to pee;
Not having a drunken oaf try to tip your porta potty over
That is worth a bucket of adult beverage end result
Floating into the grass

Devoted fans, week after week
To cheer: perhaps to win: that is the key
For to cheer for 4-6
Courage is required, and released

Until the City provides for well stocked
Clean; oh the importance of clean
Fans shall provide for themselves
One tent at a time, praying for victory

Friday, November 15, 2013

What Cleveland Can Learn From BatKid

SFBatKid. Yoinked from the SF Make a wish twitter feed. 
As a rule, I think most people are good. Sometimes people need a nudge in the right direction, but I believe that given the opportunity, people want to do nice things for others. The city of San Francisco has reinforced that notion to a level, the likes of which was previously unimaginable. 

5 year old super hero fanatic Miles has leukemia. His mom and dad wrote to the Make A Wish Foundation about their son's wish - to be a super hero. The city responded to the Bat-Signal in a big way. The police have cooperated in the plan. Local stores and even the Chronicle. A Lamborghini bat mobile was donated for the day. The Batkid saved "Gotham" from various super villains and even rescued a damsel in distress. 

The entire city of San Francisco took part in turning into Gotham City for the day. 

Thousands, yes thousands, of everyday people have cheered this little guy on.

But why?

While I stand by my statement that people want to do good things, there is something unique that happens in the core of your very soul when you do something nice for someone else. The best way to describe it is a warm fuzzy. Imagine playing with a pile of puppies and kittens on a bright sunny day. Multiple that giggly mess by 10 and you have a warm fuzzy. 

People bring out the best in people. 

It is much easier to do amazing things for other people as a group. Maybe it is peer pressure (which this kind, I am completely ok with). Maybe it is people don't know *what* to do. Whatever the reason, when a group of people set out to do good, great things are accomplished. 

I'm speaking from experience.

Back in my undergraduate days, I was roped into 'Brush Up On Akron." I say roped into because I was. I really had no desire to, at 5 am the morning after my Formal, show up in the hot sun and paint some old bird's house. It was the Greek community's service project (Fraternity and Sorority kids, not actual Greeks) and being an officer, I had to go. 

I have no shame (ok, maybe a little), telling you that the morning of the event, I was cranky. And hung over. Dear sweet baby wiener dogs, was I hung over. My head was throbbing and I was sweating gin by the time the bus dropped us off at our project house. 

With much muttering, I scrapped the side of this house, paint chips stuck to my sweaty face and speckled in my hair. It was awful. Each time I leaned down I was certain I was going to vomit. 

I took a break in the back yard and what I saw changed my attitude and has stuck with me 20 years later. 

Technically, we weren't supposed to have any contact with the homeowners. But this old bird, she broke the rules. She had punch and cookies set up on an old card table in the garage. I tried to sneak in and grab a cookie and she grabbed my arm. She wanted to know my name. She then introduced me to her grandson,  tearing up as she did. She told him that I was a role model of what he should be when he grew up. Someone that cared more about other people and was willing to take time out for a stranger.

Throughout the day, she was on the phone, calling I don't know who, talking about how these kids were changing her life in ways that she could never repay. 

We were the last crew finished that day, but it was an amazing experience.

And that was it. 

After college, it is more challenging, in my mind anyway, to do good. 

When I lived in Indianapolis, I tried to help out with the Extreme Home Makeover show. I volunteered for 4 am clean up duty and was turned down because they had more volunteers than needed. 4 am cleaning. 

Maybe people want to be on tv. Maybe they want their name in associated with something amazing. Whatever the reason, people want to be involved with something big. If you give someone a small part, they will participate. You can't take a giant chomp out of Moby Dick's butt.  You show up with tartar sauce and a posse of peeps and take care of it one bite at a time. 

Sorry for that ... I'm waiting for my dinner. 

Watching BatKid save the city all day has caused my brain to fixate on one question...What can Cleveland do? 

What can we as a community do as a major project to unite the city, leaving behind a legacy of making the world a better place? I don't want to copy San Francisco with BatKid. I'm not suggesting a beach clean up or a random day of service.

Think big, Cleveland.

No political agendas - just the community uniting together, doing good for the sake of doing good. 

What would be the ideal project?

Let's do this.
Batkid and his little brother.

I-X Christmas Connection Giveaway

Time to get your shop on and time for another giveaway!

The I-X Christmas Connection at the I-X Center, November 22-24, is your one stop shop (unless you want a PS4 - you are on your own for that).

This year, there are more than 600 booths (including 140 new vendors) FREE GIFT WRAPPING and tons of stuff for the kiddies. In SantaLand, kids can have their picture taken with the Santa the man himself (bring a camera!) and drop off their letter to Santa in his mailbox. 

Online (and HURRY), you can snag tickets to have Breakfast with Santa and join in a sing along with the missus and some elves that got the day off and some friends. That, my friends, is the ticket to being parent/aunt/uncle/cousin of the year.

A pretty cool new thing (for a small fee) is getting your picture taken in a life-size snow globe. WOOOT!

Check out this link for tickets. You can get them online, onsite or my favorite place that saves me the runaround - Drug Mart. 

Ok, now for the YAYYY!

The peeps were super awesome and are giving me 4 general admission tickets to giveaway!

There are a couple of ways to enter to win tickets, so make sure you leave a separate comment for each method of entry. I let a computer program pick the winner, so if you don't comment, you lose an entry.

Bummer for you if you don't follow directions.

You can also tweet daily, but make sure you come back and leave a comment.

1. Leave a comment telling me who the first person is that you buy for and why.
2. Tweet the following: "I want to win a pair of tix to the I-X Christmas Connection
 from @clevelandchick! #HoHoHo"
3. Follow the @IXCenter on the Twitter. 
4. Follow @clevelandchick on the Twitter.

You have until Tuesday, November 19 at noon to enter. Remember, you can tweet once per day. Let's face it, if you tweet more than that, people will want to hurt both of us, so be cool.

Disclosure: I was given 4 general admission tix for myself and 4 to giveaway to you fabulous holiday people. All the words here are my own and currently fueled by Bernie purring next to me.