Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Chicago Experience
I finally have a moment to sit down and write. We had a great time in Chicago and learned tons of stuff. We ended up getting there at a decent time on Friday so we spent the evening on Michigan Ave. That in itself was a learning experience. Needless to say we seemed to do everything backwards. Parking was quite expensive. We expected it to be high but not $32 for 3 hours! In searching for parking it seemed as though there were many lots but all of them were full. So when we passed a parking garage we took it. We didn’t see the price sign upon entering, until we got to the ticket thing. That’s when we realized it was going to be expensive. We had no way out. And there were signs everywhere saying to pay in the lobby, there’s no attendant on duty at the bottom. So we got out and decided to find the lobby. That was a trip in itself too. We finally found it, only to find that it was like an atm machine how you pay. So I figured we’d ask someone about the parking. She said that most places were about the same price but if we pay for something in the mall then we could get the ticket validated and get cheaper parking. Good to go. So we went about our business and went EVERYWHERE. And got our ticket validated. The validation ink was kind of smeared so the concierge said that if we have problems to just push the “ask for assistance button” on the machine. We went to pay for our parking and it came up $32 instead of the $11 with the validation. So we pushed the button and a maintenance person hurried over and pushed cancel and said “there’s someone at the bottom of the parking ramp” and to just pay there. Say what? So there was someone at the bottom of the garage in the first place? So we went there and found out our parking was $32. You see we went over the 3 hours limit for our validation time. Ah well. Also, we had been shopping everywhere and then of course near the end of our time there we found a place that had all these free maps and stuff. Once again, ah well. But we had a wonderful time and it was nice to be back in a city again. Oh, but one thing that was a huge buzz kill was the gap. I was all siked to go there because the product red stuff. We got there and they had all the same stuff that was in Ohio. So as I had thought they must be slowly releasing the different shirts, sayings, etc. Anyway, I figured, “well why not take some pictures.” And all the sudden I had a manager yelling to me saying no photographs are allowed. I can understand why to a certain extent but then I think to myself. You have this store on Oprah and it’s such a big deal with the product red stuff, wouldn’t you expect people to take pictures? Also, I’ve seen other people’s personal pictures on the Internet. So I got a couple pictures before they could catch me. But anyway, it was a HUGE bummer. And I must say I was on the bandwagon before but at this point I’m very disappointed and I feel that they’re going to lose a lot of interest due to only having a few things out and also the price of the items. I get the concept of the proceeds going to the organization but everywhere you read it says something different. Some say all the profit, some say net profit, and some say something totally different. There’s a big difference. Not to mention, they have sweatshirts that are still around $50. That’s just crazy. But I guess if you’re already willing to pay that for a sweatshirt then you might as well get one that has proceeds going to something. But me, I won’t pay that much for a sweatshirt. Whatever. As stated before, we learned a lot at the conference. The hotel was super nice. It was a Westin. I’ve always known them to be nice, but have never been in one. I believe it was pretty new too. There were fresh flowers everywhere and the ambience was awesome. However, there were no vending machines anywhere….only the mini bar with $7 snacks and a closed coffee place that sells $4 coffees. And when you get there at 10pm and want something, that’s pretty inconvenient. Even the water in the room was $4 per bottle. Good thing we made friends with the bellhop. When we were searching for something we ran back into him and asked where we could find some water. He said, “You want water?” And then handed us each a bottled water. That was nice and actually I think they were his personal waters. Of course there were many other things that happened but I’d be here for days telling you about all of that. And it’s about time to head down to our neighborhood meeting. Have a great rest of the week. Happy Birthday Sita!