It is Sunday morning at Room & Board and the ratio of children to adults is much different than normal. The showroom is crawling with kids who are climbing on the couches, tumbling by the tables and running on the rugs. Today we are hosting our Family Fest event where we invite parents to bring their kids to the third floor Kids department and take part in arts, crafts and fun. It is our way to introduce families to our wonderful kids furniture and also allows us to create a happening that makes us feel part of our new neighborhood. It was a smashing success. I mean, when you have miniature donuts, Pirates Booty and a “decorate your own cookie” station, what do you expect? In addition to hyping the kids up on sugar, we had someone creating balloon animals and there was face painting and storytelling.
I read a story.
After perusing several books, I finally landed on one called ‘How to Catch a Star” about a little boy who dreamed of having his very own star as a playmate. I offered to read a story from Chapter 3 of my own book, “The Bitchy Waiter.” That chapter is called “I Hate Your Children,” but we thought it might not be appropriate. (You can order my book at Amazon, available on April 5th. Seriously, I wrote a book that comes out in a week and a half!) When it came time to read, I had an audience of five kids, one with a face painted like the Incredible Hulk. I settled into the Ellery chair as one little girl sat in the Vineyard Pink Tilly Chair that her mom had just entered to win. To my left were three kids sharing space in a Nest toddler bed as one little girl wandered around the general area in a circle like a dizzy chicken. The kids all stared at me, rapt, and when I say “rapt” I mean “totally not paying attention.” The little girl in the Tilly chair quickly lost interest and ran away, presumably for another mini-donut. The wandering girl kept wandering and eventually disappeared, perhaps deciding that a balloon shaped like Elmo was more to her liking. The three remaining children listened to my story of the little boy who climbed a tree in order to reach a star. With each passing page, they became more vocal, eagerly yelling at me that they couldn’t see the pictures or that it was silly to catch a star, “everyone knows that.” I persevered. By the end of the story, they were clearly ready to move on to a new project, but they politely waited for me to say “the end” before bolting off to find something else to do.
Overall, the event was very successful. We had 60 folks enter to win the Tilly Chair and of those 60, 38% said YES to opting in! There were some crumbs on the floor and the place looked like a hurricane had hit it, but still, we had a fun day and gave parents something to do with their kids.