As promised: an elaboration to Disco’s 1 Minute Monday mention of getting stocked up on Nike gear.
So, let me first start off by saying I love Nike clothing. As someone in the fitness profession, this kind of gear has been my entire wardrobe like Banana Republic might be for you business folks, so the opportunity to be a Nike VIP for a day was pretty awesome… especially under the top secret conditions by which we were admitted.
The deal is if you work for Nike, you get a 50% discount off Nike merchandise and have premiere access to their Employee Store (the only one of its kind) in Beaverton, Oregon. Each Nike employee is allowed five guest passes per year for family and friends, but come on, how many Nike employees do you actually know who would also be willing to share their coveted guest passes?
Well, this is where we start feeling like total VIPs. Somehow, some way, someone within the Portland Beavers knows someone who knows someone who was able to put the entire Omaha Royals team on ‘the list’ for admission to the Employee Store on Saturday, August 15th between the hours of 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM ONLY. If you’re not on ‘the list’, no matter how you swing it, you will not be admitted. In fact, my name was not on it and when Chris inquired about getting my name on, he was met with, “Sorry, ‘the list’ already went out and we can’t get anyone else on it.”
Chris says, “Okay, I’m sure they’ll just let her in right?”
“Oh heck no. They are super tight with security over there. She has to be on ‘the list’ or she won’t be allowed in.”
So, not only do I need to be on the list like everyone else, but the team was strongly advised not to wear any athletic items that didn’t say Nike. If you only had Adidas shoes, you had to borrow a pair or go barefoot. One player admit that since he was sponsored by a competitor, he had nothing to wear except his dress slacks and button down he wore on the plane, so he was strongly advised to wear that while everyone else was in jeans.
They run a tight ship over there, huh? In an effort to get me in, Chris made a call to the Beavers front office to see if they could help, but their response was, “We’re really sorry, but once the list goes out, there’s no way to put anyone else on and if she’s not on it, she can’t get in. Heck, we’re not even allowed in.”
“Well then who do I call?” Chris practically has to beg to get the number of a guy who knows a guy over at Nike, who might be able to help, but it’s now 6 PM on Friday and we’re supposed to be going at 10 AM tomorrow.
Chris leaves a message for the guy who knows a guy, pleading to get me on ‘the list’ and when he doesn’t hear back, he calls his agent who is all sorts of connected. They’ve got big leaguer after big leaguer, and a bunch of clients with Nike deals, so piece of cake, right? If the guy who knows a guy doesn’t call back, at least we’ve got a full proof way through the agent.
Well, come Saturday morning, Chris’s agent calls back shocked to admit he doesn’t know what kind of store we’re trying to get into, but he went through every contact he had and they weren’t able to get me on. If Chris had a Nike contract, I could get in with no problem, but not otherwise.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
So now we’re on the train heading to the Employee Store and I’m still not this secret list! Chris decides to try the guy who knows a guy one more time and if he couldn’t reach him we devised a method where Chris would take a picture of something he thought I’d like, email it to me standing outside the security gates and we’d make purchases that way. I was totally about to be the ugly girl eagerly waiting outside the velvet rope while all the cool kids walk right past me into the hottest nightclub in town. Sigh. But I was prepared.
We get off the train in the middle of NOWHERE, look around, and there are no signs, no arrows, nothing pointing us in the direction of the store. Luckily one of the guys knew where to go, but even he had a little bit of trouble navigating the team through tall grass, roaring streams, and barbed wire fences in order to spot a “big building with a white roof” as we were told. Okay, we didn’t have to jump a stream, but it is in the middle of nowhere and only if you know where you’re going would you be able to find it from the train. Just as we’re walking up to the entrance with a line out the door jetting into the parking lot, Chris’s phone rings and it’s the guy who knows a guy! Good news. I’m on ‘the list’! Ahem. I can now huff on my fingers and shine my nails on my shirt cause I’m now kind of a big deal, too.
After waiting in line for thirty minutes amongst all the other VIPs, we were called to a counter where our IDs were checked with ‘the list’ and given a small piece of paper with the date, which goes to the cashier when you check out. So, even if you’re able to find this place and somehow sneak past security, without the piece of paper, you’d be sh!t out of luck and shown the door.
We walk in to find a huge warehouse filled with Nike everything: clothing, shoes, golf clubs, bags. You name it they had it. And it wasn’t the stuff you’d find at the Outlet stores, either. This was the real deal, a Niketown on steroids. It was huge and I was in heaven. Chris and I split up and as we browsed separately, the store just continued to get more and more jammed with people. After our second hour there, it was hot, the aisles were packed, and luckily for me, everything was my size; unlike Chris who only found “ah” shirt. That’s it? Just one shirt?? The only downside to the store is if you weren’t an X-Small or an X-Large, you might only luck out with a single shirt like Chris did because by Saturday all the middle sizes had been picked through already.
Once you’ve battled the crowds and survived the line to check out, your last step is making it past the cashier cause as soon as you hand that little piece of paper over, that was it. No turning back so you better make sure everything fits and you like what you got, because they don’t allow exchanges; just returns.
In the end, I made out pri-tty darn well with two pairs of Nike Free 5.0s for the price of Chris’s single pair he got two weeks earlier and workout clothes for half price. Can I get a heellllls yea! And just to make sure we were getting the best of the best, we checked out a Niketown in Seattle today to find the exact same stuff, but double the price.
So, moral of the story here is if you want Nike gear for half the price, you have to be a pretty darn big deal, have a contract with them, or know a Nike employee who doesn’t mind sharing one of their passes. Otherwise, plan on paying full price because getting into the Nike Employee Store is harder to get into than
a virgin’s pants Harvard Law.