By the time the average person turns 70, they have spent about 3 years of their life waiting — for a red light, for a file to download or for food to be served. On Friday, I spent nearly four hours standing outside in the rain, waiting to win a year’s worth of frozen yogurt from Forever Yogurt during their Grand Opening celebration/public relations kick. The question I pose to you, dear Arts reader, is: Was it worth it?
When I saw the Forever Yogurt 50/50 flyer on the floor of the Herald office, I quickly scooped it up, thinking perhaps no one had seen it. I immediately texted my fellow fro-yo fiends about it, telling them the details — Grand Opening at 6 p.m., first 50 people in line get free fro-yo for a year, next 50 get fro-yo that day. I thought that getting there at 4 p.m. would secure us a spot in the top 50, because really, who was going to spend their Friday standing idly on State Street?
When Friday rolled around, my first inkling that 4 p.m. wouldn’t work to nab a golden ticket to fro-yo bliss came around 11 a.m. when I walked past the shop and saw what appeared to be a group of people already waiting under the chipper pink awning. Flustered, I thought it might just be a coincidence, so I went home trying not to think about it.
When I walked past again an hour later, there was no denying it: eight people were already waiting to get their fro-yo fix for 52 straight weeks. They had seven more hours to wait. It was then my anxiety kicked in: What if I didn’t make the first 50?
I had class to go to and errands to run, but I made sure to swing past again to see if all hope was already lost. At 1:15 pm, I texted my fro-yo partner in crime to assure her that there were still only eight people. After going home and eating lunch I decided I’d swing by again, just to see the progress. My heart sank when I saw the measly line of eight had more than quadrupled, snaking around the corner and all the way past Mimosa and Ear Wax. I nearly ran inside to ask one of the employees what number they were at and doubled my pace when “40” was the response. I wouldn’t be waiting until my friend got off work at 4 p.m..
Back to my apartment I hustled to grab my raincoat and a book, because of course by now it had started drizzling. The fact that I was committing to wait in line from 2:15 until 6 p.m. in the rain by myself for the sole purpose of free fro-yo, and not even my favorite kind of fro-yo, made me feel more than slightly insane, but at that point I was more committed to winning than anything else. I wanted to be in that first 50, I wanted to have truly committed to something.
The first forty-five minutes were the most eventful. The guy in front of me was number 40, a position he had clearly marked on his hand by the Forever Yogurt team. I had missed the great numbering, and myself and everyone behind me was wracked with anxiety: We wouldn’t feel secure in our positions until we had a sharpied number on our hands. By our count, the 50th person had gotten in line at 2:30 p.m., but that didn’t stop a few people from lining up behind them in hopes that some before them had given up.
I was situated near two sophomore girls (whose friend joined them later and in fact cut in line) and a senior whose friends had gotten in line about half an hour before. After sharing our majors, gossiping about when the first people got in line (either 10 or 10:45 a.m.) and speculating as to when we would be numbered, the camaraderie fizzled as we realized how cold it actually was and how much longer we had to wait.
When the Forever Yogurt crew came back around 3:30 p.m. to hand out the coveted 50/50 club cards to not just the first 50 but the first 55 (lucky for the sophomore line-cutter — she may have been verbally abused by number 51), we were elated — could we really go home already? Our hopes were squashed when they said we couldn’t leave the line until 6 p.m. when our cards would be activated, but that they might try and let us in at 5 p.m.. Which didn’t happen.
We hadn’t sat, eaten or drank for as few as three and a half and as long as eight hours (except those that brought lawn chairs, ordered Jimmy John’s, or did a clandestine Starbucks run). As we were filmed pouring into the shop, we were tired, but jubilant, frivolous but proud — we had waited it out. Yes, we had been pawns in a corporate PR move, but the payout was $260 worth of fro-yo. We may have been part of the problem with American culture, but damn it, we wanted frozen yogurt and we wanted it for a whole year.
As we had our picture taken with our driver’s licenses and hard-fought 50/50 cards, some leapt to immediately use their cards and others trickled home, just glad it was over. I was in the latter camp, and though I’ll be pleased to not pay for my next fro-yo run, I’ll never forget the look of disgust on one woman’s face when she was told we were waiting for frozen yogurt. But as one fellow fro-yo fan stated in line, “I wait in line for Black Friday where I don’t know if I’ll get anything I want. Here, I know I’ll get what I want.” So from a publicity contest survivor to the general public, I say three cheers for corporate America, and thanks for the fro-yo.