It has been known for quite some time now that a L’Occitane store was coming to the UES a mere stone’s throw from my apartment. When I saw a sign in the window the other day that was announcing not only the grand opening date and time, but that the first 100 customers would receive a free gift I got a little excited. Who doesn’t love a free gift? Judging by the picture it wasn’t a shabby free gift either. The store was slated to open at 11:00AM this morning. Perfect. I had studio space to work on new choreography from 8:00-10:00AM. I would mosey back to my neighborhood after, slip into the store, treat myself to the bubble bath I love and seldom ever buy, get my free gift, and be on my merry way. Unfortunately, this is not what happened at all.
I get back to my neighborhood around 10:30AM. Barnes and Noble is right next to the grand opening so I figured I’d see what’s new in the printed book world (I am one of the few who refuses to convert to a Kindle or whatever else you people use to read books electronically). I glanced over to where the store would be opening and saw what looked to be a line. Really? People were lining up for this? Eh, I didn’t pay it much mind and headed into Barnes and Noble. A very important side note…Tom Waits’ new album was released today. I went into Barnes and Noble mostly to get my hot little hands on this treasure. I have waited seven years. I have been teased by being able to listen to it online for several days now. The time has come. Only, there was absolutely no fanfare for poor old Tom, at least not at the Barnes and Noble in my neighborhood. Not only is this new release not on the wall with all the other new releases (Tony Bennett, really? Give it up already.) it is not even tucked in the shelf behind his name placard. They do not have his new album! How is this possible?
Now back to our regularly scheduled blog posting…
I left Barnes and Noble around 10:55AM, no Tom Waits album in my possession, to find not just a few ladies gathered outside of what would soon be the newly opened L’Occitane store, but a HUGE line that was an entire block long! Really? Really, folks? I cannot wrap my brain around this. With jaw still dropped a lovely little gay boy wearing a L’Occitane apron and holding a big wicker basket offered me free samples and a 15% off coupon to use all this week at the store. I was momentarily snapped out of my shock by the excitement of not one, but two free samples of hand lotion to replace the almost gone, makes horrible fake farting noises while trying to spit out the last bits of lotion tube in my purse right now. And…I get 15% off of the bubble bath. I do not however, get the free gift. I was already witnessing people counting the number of those currently in line to determine if they should join this crazy crowd or not.
It was a very odd crowd indeed, and not just because they were waiting on line to buy stuff and get a free gift from a store that, as far as we know, will permanently be here now. There were the usual UES suspects of course, but they don’t count. There was also an older gentleman who looked like he just stumbled over from the nearest shelter. There were several people who looked like they had just been released from Metropolitan Hospital and simply needed something to do with their mornings. There was a chain smoking woman yelling at her friend who was counting the number of people in line ahead of them and at the woman behind her who was trying to patiently ask her to stop blowing smoke in her kid’s face. All of them were violently clutching their 15% off coupons as if they weren’t being handed out by the fistful by the little aproned elf in front of the actual store, which none of them could see anymore at this point in the line.
Is this normal? Am I crazy for thinking all of these people lined up are crazy? I mean, I clearly wanted the free gift too…just not enough to wait on a line that started forming well before the actual store opening. I can’t imagine that anyone is really that excited about this store opening in this neighborhood, other than the new employees who have steady paychecks, for now at least. Okay, I’m a little disappointed at not getting the free gift, it really was good. I just hope they are giving out the free hand lotion samples all day so I can get some more next time I walk by.