Thursday, November 20, 2008

Freezing for Charity!

Every year a radio station in Minneapolis called Cities 97 puts out a CD filled with songs that various artists have played in their studio throughout the year. They call this CD "The Cities 97 Sampler, Live from Studio C". It's filled with acoustic performances from some of today's best bands. They only produce 35,000 copies and all the proceeds go to various local charities. I have a great love for music, so getting these rare live performances is a great addition to my collection (plus, I feel like I'm doing a good deed).

Five years ago they had the 15th Anniversary of their Studio C disc. The radio station was doing a call-in contest and if you were the 97th caller, you could win not only that years Sampler CD, but you would also win CD's from all 15 years! Since I have that kind of time, I called in one night and ended up being the 97th caller! I won all 15 CD's, plus a trip to the Sampler Release Party where Erin and I got to mingle with a bunch of celebrities. Well, when I say we got to mingle with celebrities, I mean, the celebrities were in one room and us common folk were in another, but it was still fun.

Ever since then, I've had to continue my collection of CD's, so each year when they come out, I make a special trip to Target (which is the only store that sells them) on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. In order to keep all the proceeds going to charities, they have to limit the amount of CD's produced, which usually means they sell out within minutes of the store opening. I've done well and either myself or Erin has been standing out in the cold to collect every CD for the past 5 years.

This year I was fortunate enough to have the day off, so this morning I made a trip to Target to pick up this years CD. I arrived about an hour before opening and there were already over 100 people in line. If you can picture the typical Target store, the line extended from one of the front doors and around the side of the building. By the time the store opened, the line extended to the back of the store. The temperature this morning was about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, but fortunately the side of the building I was on was in the shade and the wind, so it only felt like 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Outside the store this morning, people were huddled in blankets and heavy winter coats. A few people had arrived at 5 AM, they brought sleeping bags and chairs. Between people complaining about how cold it was and how crazy everyone was to stand in the cold for a CD, there was conversation of how many Sampler CD's everyone had, how people got off of work for the morning. Usually though, the conversation came back around to how cold it was and how we were all crazy for standing in line.

Once the line started moving, it was amazing how well organized everyone remained. It was similar to standing in the lunch line in elementary school. Everyone was walking in a single file line, they were very quiet because they knew if they caused too many problems, they would feel the wrath of the 19 year old security guard. Once we got into the store, there were a lot of sighs of relief as we felt the warmth of the store hit our faces. A few people got their CD and left, a few like myself had to get some groceries, a few made their way over to Starbucks.

It felt good to know that the proceeds from my purchase were going to local charities. They said that this years CD would raise over $1,000,000! That alone is worth standing in the cold for an hour.

When I finished my shopping, I left with my CD in hand. I looked over to where they were handing out the CD's and noticed that they still had some left.....and the line was gone. So, despite standing in line for an hour, I could have slept in, walked from my warm car into a warm Target at 8:05 AM and still gotten my CD. That wouldn't have made for a good story though.

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