Monday, June 30, 2014

Corner Bakery Free Paninis Journal

I'm getting back to my blogging roots. Last week, I made a reference to Sean's Ramblings favorite, Kevin Pittsnogle. Today, I'm sharing my experience of attempting to win free paninis for a year.

Long-time readers might remember a simpler time when I earned free burritos for a year from California Tortilla. Over the 52 weeks, I ate $278.09 worth of free food just for being one of the first 10 people in line at the Cal Tort grand opening. Therefore, when I learned that Corner Bakery was opening a new restaurant in my neighborhood with the first 100 people in line receiving free paninis for a year, I started planning. By planning, I mean that I mentioned this to my wife a few days ago and I woke up around 5:00 instead of the usual 5:40.

I started the day by shaving, getting dressed and feeding Ziggy. I said good bye to my wife and she gave me an "Are you serious? I can't believe you're leaving since both kids will probably wake up as soon as you leave" look and rolled back over.

I arrived at Corner Bakery just after 5:30, and there was already a significant line. While I expected much of the line to be teenagers, I was surprised of the age diversity among the group. It seemed like about 40% already qualified for AARP membership and there were many families in the group (though no young children). After standing in the back of the line for a minute a two, a woman that works at the Corner Bakery corporate office handed me #56. I was in! Hooray for LaMarr Woodley! (Actually, since Woodley is no longer a Steeler, hooray for, um, Jordan Zumwalt!)

Here are some notes from the morning:

- This was the first time in Corner Bakery history that they gave away free paninis to open a restaurant. Previously, the first 100 people received free coffee. I participated in an historic event!

June 30, 1936 - Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind is published.
June 30, 1950 - US enters the Korean War.
June 30, 2014 - Free paninis at a Northern Virginia Corner Bakery

- The first person in line arrived at 2:00 AM. Rookie! It was the first 100 people in line, not the first 10.

- While I brought a chair, book & Walkman (yes, a Walkman!) to the Cal Tort opening, all I took for the Corner Bakery opening was an Entertainment Weekly magazine and a piece of paper and a pen to write some notes.

- I got a little concerned when a guy in a Sherriff's officer uniform came to the end of the line. I worried that he was going to shut everything down. Turns out he joined the line for free paninis too.

- I asked if we got tired of paninis during week 35 if we could switch to a less expensive item on the menu. I was told that I wouldn't get tired of paninis. Then, I was told that the coupons were for paninis only but staff might work with me.

The doors opened promptly at 6:00 AM and everyone received a wrapped stack of 52 cards good for one panini a week for a year from week 1 (7/6/14 to 7/12/14) to week 52 (6/28/15 to 7/4/15). July 4, 2015 seems like a really, really, really long time from now!

After nearly 10 minutes waiting in line to order food (and discovering that the first free panini coupon isn't good until next week), I decided to leave. I felt a little bad for getting the free cards and rolling out, but there were 55 people in front of me (though the line moved quickly) and I needed to go home and get ready for work. I'm sure that I'll make it up to Corner Bakery over the next year!

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