It’s no secret that Scott and I are experience junkies. We love to find fun and creative things to do as a family, and if it’s free, even better. However, our love of experiences set us up for some eye rolling, frustrating, “You mean we drove through traffic, skipped dinner, and rushed our family around for THAT?” moments. Tonight, we were able to have one, thanks to my good friends at Barnes and Noble.
This morning, I opened up an email from this wonderful bookseller and learned it was Polar Express day. The email invited us to Barnes and Noble story time at 7pm. The email promised us activities, treats, and a live person reading the story to the kids. Doesn’t that sound like a nice Friday night close to Christmas? I thought it did, so Scott and I arranged our whole afternoon around it.
We ignored our errands, dinner, and our long “to do” list to grab this family opportunity. We actually didn’t mean to ignore dinner. We left home around 5 to have dinner and make it to the store by 7. When we arrived at our dining location, after fighting traffic, it was 5:45. An hour is plenty of time for a family of 4 to eat. We were told the wait was 10-15 minutes. It would be close, but we all knew what we wanted, we COULD make it. 25 minutes later, we left the restaurant hungry and disappointed. But we drove 45 minutes for story time, so we BETTER get there, ON TIME. Gosh, I am so glad we made it!
Instead, we let the kids choose their dinner at the mall’s food court. Scott and I skipped this dining experience. At 6:45, we went across the street for the event.
Upon arrival, the kids ignored the elf display (finally), and found front row seats for story time. An employee handed out bells, and middle schoolers were holding scripts. I was extremely excited. “This is going to be great!” I thought.
Story time began before 7. While the kids were reading the story, I browsed the children’s section, looking at books with my eyes and listening to the story with one ear. Less than 5 minutes later, I heard clapping.
CLAPPING???? Seriously? But, it wasn’t even 5 minutes? Everyone got up, and the kids were dismissed.
But… but… but… the invitation said activities and treats. Ringing a bell isn’t an activity.
While I was in shock, the kids didn’t mind. They went to the store to hear Polar Express and that is what they got. All I could think about was the forfeited family dinner, a 45 minute one way drive for less than 5 minutes. We decided to leave, when some late comers showed up, excited that they didn’t miss it. I mean, it was 7:03 after all. We figured it could get awkward, so we left.
As we walked out of the children’s section, a frantic employee thrust hot chocolate in the kids’ hands. Man, that was gold to them! We wandered around the store some more so they could enjoy their chocolate. Just as Scott said, “Guys, it’s time to finish up. We should get home,” my son dropped his cup and hot chocolate spilled all over the green rug. Scott ran to tell someone.
He returned 5 minutes later with paper towels. No one would help him, and two employees suggested he find some paper towels in the bathroom. We “cleaned” up the newly stained rug, washed up in the bathroom and called it a night.
It’s rare we go to Barnes and Noble and not spend a dime, but I didn’t feel like standing in line after all of that. As we drove away, I proudly declared, “Well, Barnes and Noble, you might have lured us to the store, but we did not spend a dime! 1 for you and 1 for the Fitzgeralds!” However, why don’t I feel like a winner?
While the whole thing wasn’t what we expected, the kids had fun, and Scott and I got a few laughs out of it. So, I guess it was worth it….????