Friday, March 1, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Expo SURVIVOR

Last week, I finally got to achieve my goal of running the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Well, schlepping, mostly, but that's a long story. Let me begin with the story of the Fit For A Princess Expo.

I love expos. It's shopping only with stuff I want and then you know, like protein powder... So, yes, I was looking forward to this one.

I started out early because I wanted to get my Run Disney merchandise which sells out quickly. I got my bibs, got my 5K shirt and had a look at the Run Disney merchandise line... It was long, so I decided to get in it before getting my shirt for the half.

Did I mention the line was long? Disclaimer: I have served many holidays at Old Navy. I have seen Black Fridays, $1 Flip Flop Days, $10 Jeans Days, $2 Tank Top Days and the list goes on and on. Take that and multiply it by about ten. Yes, I have a chip on my shoulder about lines and realize that Disney is different than Old Navy, but this wasn't a line, it was a monster.

First mistake I could see as a retail professional? The merch booth was walled in with two entrances/exits. It was the only thing that was walled in. Therefore even to see what you wanted you had to go in. Two long lines going in both doors and somehow I was already in line to pay? I don't know. It was fuzzy. So, I summoned all my retail skills and started looking around. I saw a tank top that I regret not getting. I passed by the table of I Did It shirts because my belief in jinxing myself is just too strong. I hurried back got my Limited Edition pin, a car magnet and got in line where I would pass the Runner Mickey Vinylmations and medals. The line moved slow and I was able to put my retail skills to work as I stood in front of the Mouse Ears and tiaras, offering them to whoever happened to be looking. I think some people thought it was weird. Not as weird as when I saw a race exclusive Bondi Band had fallen on the floor by some other ladies and asked them to pick it up and give it to me. What? Did you want it?

It was about this time I noticed an older lady in a mobility scooter on the phone with a bunch of stuff. I'm going to think positively and hope she was getting it for a granddaughter or something... Not trying to hose people on the Internet because she wasn't running the race. I did have some ladies in line behind me who understood my logic with the Bondi Band and once we spotted them for real offered to let me jump out and pick another color, but I had finally arrived at the front of the line and it was now or never. I paid and hurried out...

Where I saw the biggest line I had ever seen by the half marathon shirts. It did cross my mind to forgo my shirt, but then I realized I needed it so people at the gym would know what a bad ass I was. So, I tried to find my way around the line to another entry point that would be easier.

Let me tell you what I know about lines. I know that people need to know which one they're in. It is one of the basic rules of lines. This huge one was apparently the Medium Shirt line. I went back and it intersected with the New Balance line. Second thing about lines, they shouldn't intersect with lines for other things. So, I worked my way back around and had to cut through a sea of humanity. I'm serious. I'm not claustrophobic, but I thought I was about to be. I had a very similar feeling in the top of a bell tower in Poland. Wait, maybe I am claustrophobic and it's going to strike out any time now. Whatever. You want to know the third thing about lines? It helps no one when you say, "This is crazy." Yes, it was. Do you know where I just heard that? The other five hundred people I had to pass to get here! It's not some revolutionary thought, we all think it's crazy! I forged my way through and came out somewhere around the XXL shirt line. I wear an XL. I decided this would have to be close enough. I got in line and prepared my best rantings because someone at the end of the line was going to have to give me a shirt or I don't know what would happen. I tried to think of all the best rants directed at me over the years and all I could think of was the time a lady got mad at me because I told her to hold her own return while she shopped and she lost it somewhere in the store.  The best part of that was when she yelled at my two managers for talking to one another when she had first come up. She left the store in an angry rage and we found her bag on the girls' graphic table two minutes later. We never heard from her again. That anecdote would not be helpful in this situation. So, I got to the front of the XXL line and explained I needed an XL. I didn't know what line it was or at the least how to get to it, I just wanted my shirt. The volunteer- and really, God help people who were not getting paid at this thing- gave me my shirt and told me it was the last one. Free at last!

I will say that while that half of the hall's organization sucked, I did see Run Disney people with walkies looking at the situation and trying to move some of the merchandise line. The Bib line went quick. I have no clue why the shirt line couldn't move quick. They had the look of people who didn't know what to do about the sea of princesses while they talked on walkies about it. I guess they hadn't expected everyone to come AT ONCE but when you create a hype around merchandise, that's what happens. $1 Flip Flops, people. I'm sure there was other great stuff at the expo. The Run Disney nutritionist Tara Gidus was there giving a good talk, but I had to get out of there, which was a shame because there was lot of stuff I would have like to have seen.  Could we offer Fast Pass for the Expo next year?

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