I’d like to paint a scene for you: It’s 5:45 pm. Matt is home from work, and so am I. We’re both lazy as all get out, and both have meetings to get to within the hour. What we need is a blissful half-hour of TV-induced relaxation before we are required to turn our brains on again. Our varying tastes leave us with only a handful of mutually-agreeable options. Chief among them? A little show on A&E called Storage Wars.
Storage Wars doesn’t really fit within my carefully curated TV schedule. I can be a little picky (re: pretentious) when it comes to the shows I watch, so I haven’t openly divulged my affinity for this show before. But I think its high-time to put away the pretense, and come clean: I LOVE STORAGE WARS. A&E has somehow managed to craft an entertaining half-hour of television out of a very simple concept: Obnoxious people bidding on stuff. Though it’s a seemingly banal premise, I’ve become attached to this cast of characters. I love Barry; I hate Dave; I want to hand Daryl a towel and a cold glass of water because he always looks so inexplicably sweaty. Basically, I’m a super fan, OK? And I am not ashamed!
So, when a contest showed up on my Facebook minifeed from Tourism Hamilton offering the chance to meet Jarrod and Brandi (of Storage Wars fame) and win a free meal at the Keg, I entered. Truthfully, I’d meet anyone if it was followed by a free meal at the Keg. All I had to do was provide the name of Jarrod and Brandi’s thrift store. I didn’t expect to win, because I never win, but the very next day, I was contacted with some hilariously unexpected information: I WON. What the heck?!
I have to admit that winning the contest was almost more fun than claiming the prize. The Facebook post in which I announced my victory was my most-liked status ever, and confirmed what I already suspected: EVERYBODY WATCHES THIS SHOW. So, let’s all stop pretending we’re better than reality TV, and admit our shameless love for this moderately-entertaining slice of television programming. While we’re at it, let’s also admit our love for Pawn Stars and The Bachelor. Say it with me now: “I love Harrisons both Rick and Chris!” Ahhh, that feels good, doesn’t it?
Not long after the Facebook notifications died down, I got myself to the nearest thrift store. I needed an outfit worthy of dining with some mid-range-reality stars. Obviously, I’ll use any excuse to thrift a new dress, but I also needed something that would kick-start the imaginary conversation Brandi were destined to have. It would go like this:
“Hi Brandi, we’re big fans. You’re pretty.” (And Matt loves you but I wouldn’t say that)
“Aww, thank you! You’re so sweet. I love your dress.”
“Oh thank you! I got it from a thrift store. I knew you of all people would appreciate that.”
“Oh really? Tell me more!” (What? This is a totally realistic conversation)
“Well, I actually have a blog about thrifting. I only wear thrifted clothing, and maybe someday I’ll have my own thrift store.”
“That sounds fascinating. Here is my producer from A&E. He would like to give you your own reality show and follow you around as you thrift and make you a really big star.” (Okay, maybe a little less realistic now….)
“I accept! Will I get a trailer? And will Chumlee be there? What? Wrong network? Oh. No problem. I will get a chubby side kick though, right?”
So there you go. I needed a supreme thrift score because my future as a reality TV star depended on it. Luckily, I found something up to the task at Salvation Army. This Lupis dress is fun, flirty, and more importantly: it fits. Another $7 well spent.
With my big-break dress ready to go, we headed to the Keg for our brush with fame. Brandi and Jarrod arrived 20 minutes later, at which point I was killing myself with laughter. I don’t know why. The whole thing was just totally bizarre. They sat down at a table right behind us, so I was in very close proximately to Jarrod’s big head and Brandi’s big…stilettos (get your mind outta the gutter! Sheesh!). I kept asking Matt to take dorky photos of me à la Tina Fey in Date Night. It was hilarious.
They then called the winners up, two by two, to have our mats (that would eventually hold our photos) signed by the duo. I think this was the “Meet and Greet” portion of the evening, but that’s a bit of a misnomer, as we just said our names to their assistant, who then wrote them down on a sheet of paper, from which Brandi copied onto the mat. Fun fact: Brandi used little hearts instead of dots. Isn’t that the least surprising thing ever?
After that, they called up the winners for photos. I knew this was likely the only interaction we’d have with the couple, so I had to make some sort of moment out of it. We introduced ourselves, and I jokingly apologized to Jarrod for making him feel short. Brandi said he’s used to it. As we readied for the flash, and I asked Jarrod if he’d like to stand on the step behind me. Everybody laughed. Brandi clapped. Jarrod said something like “Awww c’mon!” and good times were had by all. Granted, it didn’t result in any offers for TV shows, but I’m holding out for TLC anyways.
As soon as the photos wrapped, Brandi and Jarrod headed out the door for some other promotional event in Toronto. I then enjoyed one of the more delicious meals I’ve had in some time by shamelessly selecting the most expensive steak on our limited menu. We ended the evening with a fancy coffee and a framed photo our new BFFs.
All in all, it was a brief, odd, and delicious evening, heightened by a cute dress and the generous amounts of bacon bits and blue cheese on my iceberg wedge. I think, though, my favourite tidbit came from our waitress: The first thing Jarrod did upon arrival at the restaurant? Take a big handful of the host desk candies and put them in the pocket of his pants.