As I mentioned last week, Super Bowl XXXVIII has arrived and has hit Houston with full force. Everywhere you look in downtown there are signs and references to the Super Bowl. Last week I mentioned the crazy “Put Your Smile On, Company’s Coming!” ad campaign, and Mike pointed out a radio commercial he had heard about the campaign. I later saw the same commercial on TV – it featured famous locals and just your average people, all talking about how they were going to do their best to make people feel welcome in our city. At the end, they showed Bill White, our new mayor as of January 2nd, saying how we should all do our part. Then a guy walks up and asks, “Hey, do you know where the stadium is?” Bill White responds with, “Follow me! I’ll take you there!”
Obviously, the same crazy people came up with this commercial – I mean, really – would you follow some stranger around a city? One that is hard to navigate and has no signs telling you where anything is? Just walk off with him, when for all you know he is a psycho killer? (Ok, if I was lost, I might. But it’s still not smart people!)
Emily and I decided to be brave and venture out among the Super Bowl crowds and the tourist filled streets to head over to the Flying Saucer for lunch. As we walked, we talked about the silly ads and the whole thing with Bill White at the end. We wondered if the Flying Saucer would be packed – and it was, but we managed to get a table right away and had a delightful meal.
As we were heading back towards our offices, we passed two couples walking together down Main Street. One of the women was asking, “Is this a liquor store?” as they passed the run down convenience store at the corner of Main and Rusk where I’ve seen homeless people pee on the sidewalk more times then I care to think about. (Not today fortunately, but still – you remember those things.) We were still walking, when I spoke up and said that it wasn’t a liquor store. Emily then kindly informed them that they could buy beer there, but that there is no liquor store in downtown. However, if you go about 10 blocks down Smith, just outside of downtown, you could go to the Specs Liquor, and they have everything.
The tourists thanked us for the helpful alcohol advice, and then they went on to ask if we knew where the shops were that had all the Super Bowl merchandise. Emily said no, but I told them that there was a special store set up in the Park Shops devoted just to that. “Just go about one block more down Main Street, then turn left on McKinney. It’s about 3 blocks down, and you will see a large sign on a 3 story building – The Park Shops”. They asked if there was food there too, and we told them that it’s a small mall with a food court and a Super Bowl merchandise store. Emily then pointed out that I was going that way, and I said that they were welcome to follow me if they wanted.
At that very moment, we passed a small store that has opened with Super Bowl items, and as they were about to go in they clarified the directions with us to the mall and thanked us for our help. It was only then that we realized that we were just like the ad – only we don’t help people get to the game, we help them with liquor and shopping. You know, the essential stuff. Yep, that’s what we’re all about – the liquor and the goods… Follow us, we’ll take you there!