Monday, March 17, 2014

Event: The Long Journey To Buy Honest Ed's Signs!

Honest Ed's Giant Sign Sale Event Recap

Last Monday, I joined thousands of Torontonians and lined up for hours for a chance to buy a piece of Toronto Retail History. Yes that's right, I was one of the crazy people who lined up for hours to buy some of Honest Ed's unique hand painted signs. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
Honest Ed's Sign Sale: The end of the line at 5:30pm outside


I started lining up at 5:20pm, not knowing the sale ended at 6pm. The line was still curved around the block down Markham Street but, I learned later, that I was lucky. Earlier in the day, the line curved around the whole block and made a square back up to Bloor Street. Around 5:50pm, the Store Manager Russell Lazar, came out to tell us in the line, that if we were not in the door by 6pm, we will not get any signs. There was another 2 hour wait, once inside the store, and they were closing at 9pm. I guess Honest Ed's decided to extend the sale past 6pm. Yeah for me! But now I had to make the decision to stay and try to get in or give up and go home. There was no way I was going to make it in the doors by 6pm, I haven't even made it to Bloor Street yet. I looked around at the crowd of people that were probably all thinking the same thing. Whether is was hopefulness or the famous Torontonian stubbornness (most likely the latter), most stayed with just a handful of people leaving. At least I got to make it to the corner of Bathurst and Markham streets. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
The Honest Ed's Sign sale: Still a long way to go!
Over the next 90 minutes, the line slowly moved along. The sun started to set and the cold began to set in. And the crowd stayed. We started to hold places in line for people to run and get coffees, go the bathroom, or buy some fast food dinners. We started to talk to the strangers around us and find out details about each others lives. We became an extended family, The Honest Ed's Sign Family: the crazy second cousins you only see at major life events (like funerals), and who you enjoy awkward small talk with. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf

I finally made it through the doors and into some welcomed warmth around 7:30pm. I looked around to my new found family and we all smiled. We finally made it in! And in our minds we were guaranteed a chance to buy some signs! The mood in the line got more joyful. We started to tell jokes and stories and laugh about the crazy situation we were in. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
The line up in The Honest Ed's Store at 9:00pm

About a half hour later, one of the Police Officers, that was on duty for crowd control, came to announce that Honest Ed's was running out of signs. He told us that there was only 300 signs left and that there were more than 100 people ahead of us. With a limit of 3 signs per person, the chance of getting any signs was dismal. I saw 2 people leave.  Stubbornness, determination,and hope has settled in. 'We were told that we were not getting any signs before.' There was no way the rest of us was leaving!
Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
The red room with the Honest Ed's signs

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
The end is near!


The line moved slowly through the store and up the stairs. I finally made it to the second floor with the end of the line in sight around 9:10pm. The store was closed and we still stayed. I think at this point, if we were told to go home, there would've been a riot. The line inched along and I finally made it into the sign area just after 10pm. It was like a very polite free for all. We were quickly going through piles of signs, trying to find the perfect 3 signs that we lined up for hours to buy! I quickly settled on 6 and then began the long wait to pay for them. I had plenty of time to chose which ones I was going to keep, it was going to be at least another hour wait to reach the cash register. With the rush of looking for signs gone, and the long wait taking it's toll, we were all exhausted. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf

We started to sit on the upside milk crates, that used to hold the signs that were for sale. We were so tired that we couldn't even stand, so when the line moved, we just slid on the crates. It was actually very ridiculous. I finally reached the cash register around 11:20pm. I was so tired and hungry, that I was shaking. I think the employees were feeling the same and didn't enforce the 3 limit rule. I think they just wanted to go home. I paid for my signs (wish I had more cash so I could buy more) and got them stamped and signed by the Store Manager. The artists left hours ago. 

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
Russell Lazar, Honest Ed's Store Manager, still signing signs after 11pm
Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
Posing with Honest Ed's Store Manager, Russell Lazar
Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf

The exhilarated feeling I had when walking through the empty Honest Ed's store toward the exit, was awesome.  I couldn't believe I did it! I waited over 5 hours to buy some paper signs, talked to complete strangers, joked with some Toronto Police Officers, and stayed up past 1am on a Monday. People called me crazy and asked why I would wait so long to buy old paper signs. My answer to them: I'm from Toronto. I'm not crazy, just stubborn and maybe a little bit hopeful!

Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
Honest Ed's at 11:30pm
Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
Posing with my favourite Honest Ed's Sign
Honest Ed's Sign Sale Toronto Lifestyle Event Melanie.Ps The Purple Scarf
One of The Honest Ed's signs I bought has green print!

Would you or did you wait in line for some Honest Ed's signs? Share your stories about your wait, I would love to hear them!

P.s!: All the proceeds from The Honest Ed's sign sale went to Victim Services Toronto. It was an unique experience to line up and buy some Honest Ed's signs. Now what to do with them. I haven't decided. Any suggestions?


P.s,
Melanie!


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