Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wedding Bells in Aisle 5

Since everyone else is writing about Valentines Day, I figured I better jump on the bandwagon. For those of you that are already sick of hearing about V-Day, don't stop reading. This is not a sappy Cupid post. I married and 12 years later divorced the girl in this story. I just wanted to share a story from my life (that just happens to revolve around the topic most discussed today).

Back in 1995, when I was considerably younger and stupider, I was in love with a girl that I just had to marry. We had been dating for a considerable amount of time and I had decided it was time to 'pop the question,' but wanted to do something different. Doing the traditional getting down on one knee or proposing over a candlelight dinner is just not my style. So, I devised a plan.

Christina had said many times that her favorite place on earth was Wal-Mart. She just loved to shop and Wal-Mart has just about anything a person could ever need. I had a college professor once say, "If you can't get it at Wal-Mart, you don't need it." So, I decided there would be no better place to do it. I know, I'm a romantic.

It's where dreams come true....at discount prices

We were headed into town with my friend John and his girlfriend. We were all going out to eat and had to stop by Wal-Mart for a few things first. I had informed John of my plan so he could keep the girls busy until I pulled it off. It was going to be a bit of a challenge. I knew what I wanted to do in my head, but did not know if the store would cooperate.

As soon as we entered the store, I excused myself to the restroom and told them I would catch up. Once they were out of sight, I sought out a manager to explain my plan. I wanted to use the intercom to declare my love.

Since it was a Friday night, the store manager was not there. It was a shift manager who was afraid to grant me permission without talking to his boss first. Since it had taken about 10 minutes to even speak with the shift manager, I was beginning to get concerned about my time. However, this was important and I would do what I had to do.

When he got the manager on the phone, he wanted to talk to me directly. He asked me to tell him exactly what I was going to say. I had rehearsed it, so I told him. He gave me several conditions that I agreed to and asked to put the shift manager back on the phone. After hanging up he told me not to move and disappeared.

At this point it had been almost half an hour since we had entered the store. I was praying that John was doing a good job of keeping the girls busy since this was taking much longer than I had anticipated. I just knew that at any moment they would be returning back to the front of the store and my plan would be foiled.

When he finally came back, he had me sign some papers to relieve Wal-Mart of any liability from the events that were about to transpire. He then said I had to be willing to have our pictures taken for the national Wal-Mart newsletter. I didn't want to consent to this one because I didn't know if Christina would be up for it, but it was a deal-breaker, so I reluctantly agreed. He then wanted to hear what I was going to say again. Finally, after close to an hour of being in the store, he handed me the intercom microphone.

"Attention Wal-Mart shoppers and especially Christina XXXXXXXX of Waltonville. This is Brett Minor and I would like you to answer a question for me. A few days ago I purchased a ring that I want to present to you. I love you and want you to be my wife. Meet me at register 1 if the answer is yes. If you do not arrive within 10 minutes, I will assume the answer is no and leave quietly. I love you and the timer starts now."

I then took my place at the register and waited. As the minutes ticked by a crowd began to gather around me. After a few minutes there was over 100 people standing at the register waiting to see how this was going to unfold. Every woman that came walking around the corner caused the crowd to hold their breath. I would say, "That's not her," and they collectively exhaled with disappointment, "OHHHH." This happened dozens of times.

Every person that came around the corner was coming to watch the show and the crowd continued to grow. Considerately, they never blocked the view between myself and the area she would be coming from. The time continued to click by.

An elderly African-American gentleman approached me and asked, "Are you worried yet?" I wasn't before he asked, but was starting to think about it. I was pretty positive she would say yes, but maybe I was wrong. It was also possible that she wanted to say yes, but was not willing to be a public spectacle and had fled out the back door. Either way, it would be really embarrassing to be standing here rejected in front of all these people.

Someone shouted out, "Thirty seconds left." Everyone started looking at their watches. I stood my ground and tried to maintain my smile. I could hear the people whispering, "She's not coming. Oh, that poor guy. What will he do?"

The crowd began to chant, "TEN!!!"

Oh, great. She really isn't going to show up.

"NINE"

I can't believe I did this. This is the stupidest I idea I have ever had.

"EIGHT"

Are they even still here? We came in one car.

"SEVEN"

The exit is too crowded. I won't even be able to make a quick getaway.

"SIX"

My face feels flushed. Is it hot in here?

"FIVE"

Wait! Is that John? Yes. They're here. 

"FOUR"

Why is he by himself? Where is she?

"THREE"

She slowly walked around the corner. Her face was beet red, but she had a big smile. As soon as I acknowledged to the crowd that this was her, they erupted into applause. I put the ring on her finger, kissed her and the crowd cheered again. We got lots of high fives and handshakes as the crowd began to disperse.

A Wal-Mart employee jumped in to get the shot for the newsletter and we were on our way out to the car. I asked her, "What part of the store were you in that it took so long to get to the front?"

She responded, "I considered leaving and saying yes later after making you sweat, but thought that would be too mean. So, I decided to make you think I wasn't coming."

49 comments:

  1. Though you said you aren't romantic or sappy... This story is lovely! It reminded me of Drew Barrymore's movie "Never Been Kissed", when she waits in the middle of the baseball field for the guy to come and kiss her...
    It was such an authentic way to propose! =)

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    1. Glad you thought so. I have gotten mixed responses to that story. Some thought it was great, others thought it was tacky. Either way, it was fun.

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    2. Lol it was totally tacky but great too! I love it... and I love that you and Red both pretend not to be Romantic. You're like the sappiest guy I know lol... oozing romance and drama...

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    3. I still don't think I am. I guess I just like to go big.

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    4. You seem to be - but maybe I have a warped sense of romance. I often find that I give different meanings to words than their proper dictionary definition.

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  2. Good story :) I don't know the details of your divorce but if Wal-Mart was her favorite place on Earth that might have been some sort of a tip off. I can't decide if I would like to be proposed to this way. I think if it was in a different store. Maybe Trader Joe's.

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    1. Thank you. I have never heard of Trader Joe's. Sounds like an outdoor gear type place.

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    2. No Trader Joe's! That's where the real crazies shop (well, I shop there too)!

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    3. I am going to have to find one of these store.

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    4. It's where you get all the bulk stuff. Never been myself but my CA friends swear by it.

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    5. I heard it mentioned in a TV show the other day. It must be a western US thing.

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    6. I have since been to a Trader Joe's. I saw one in Portland and stopped to go in just because of this post.

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  3. Great story. I spent my Valentine's Day in Wal-Mart today and nothing even remotely close to any romance was in the store or in the air!

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    1. I don't think it is usually there. Even on Valentine's Day. You have to create it, just like every other place.

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  4. I'm surprised Walmart hasn't installed a wedding chapel yet. They have cake, photo center, deli buffet and condoms. Everything you need for a wedding except a Officiant. --shane morgan

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    1. They may get there eventually. Wal-Mart has stated that their eventual goal is to become their own country. This is not a joke. They want to be a corporate country and have every store be an embassy.

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  5. This was such a beautiful story. Someday I hope to find the man that will propose to me at my local Trader Joe's. I won't lie, I shed a couple of tears. Turns out I do like romance.

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    1. Thank you. I enjoyed doing it and it had the extra flair that I like to do things with. I don't really think I'm a romantic, but it made for a good story.

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    2. *whisper* I shed a few tears myself.

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  6. That makes a great story, but I'm with Christina - a public proposal is embarrassing: the girl is kind of trapped into accepting. I can't figure out if I would actually sneak out or not. I'd probably end up doing it the same way she did. It would be just too cruel otherwise.

    ...but then I'd have to give you the silent treatment or something for a while. :)

    (much better to just privately say, "I've decided you need to marry me..." and find the nearest JP. haha)

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    1. It was fashioned just for her. Just as my proposal to you was designed for you. Although I can't promise that I will never embarrass you.

      On a side note, you need to pick a date before I call my parents.

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    2. What? You haven't announced it yet? You're so cautious. It's what I love about you. ;)

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    3. Dare I intrude in this romantic exchange...? no... *quietly backs out of the room and shuts the door*

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  7. I love that you did this! I will have to think of the store it would be best to propose to me in. Where would I want to be. Hmmm....

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    1. It takes some of the fun out if you get to pick the place. You have to totally have no idea it is about to happen.

      Like in this video:

      http://youtu.be/Fr_4sokujwI

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  8. Well, that is definitely original. I can't believe she made you wait it out!

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  9. Yeah, I would definitely say that her making you sweat like that would have been a big red flag for me. But you never know how its gonna turn out when you are all smitten and stuff. Still, I like that it was original, you thought about her tastes and was planned out. You definitely get points for that in my book. And if you were proposing to me . . . Target. Just saying. :)

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    1. Disadvantage of a smaller town. Our nearest Target is about 60 miles away. But our Wal-Mart has been upgraded to a SUPER Wal-Mart since then.

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  10. Things I can't get at Wal-Mart:
    forests
    a friend to lean on
    peace of mind

    Does this mean I don't need them? But I digress...

    What a perfect story! At the beginning I was thinking, "This proposal has Bad Idea written all over it," and by the end had converted to, "Oh! She's waiting for the last second!" Most romantic thing ever.

    Okay, maybe not the MOST romantic thing, but it definitely scores high on "moxy proposals."

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    1. It made for a great story. I have been asked to tell it at several parties and get togethers. It was fun.

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  11. Damn dude, pretty romantic. Sounds like a good conclusion for a movie.

    Although I would have definitely been worried/pissed that she didn't immediately come running to the front of the store.

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    1. I was worried when the clock started running down, but I don't remember being upset about it. I was just happy she showed up.

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  12. That's some story. Glad to hear that you weren't left at checkout 1.

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    1. It was a close call. I HAVE always been curious if I still would have had to have my picture taken. I had already signed the paperwork saying I would do it.

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  13. 60 miles? That's crazy!!! BTW...I made you new blog of the day.

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    1. Yep. 60 miles, I to the south and one to west. Just don't have one here.

      And thank you so much. I was going to address a few other blogs today, so I'll be sure to thank you there as well.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you. Not everyone agrees on that, but I enjoyed it.

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  15. I think my girlfriend would kill me if I did something like that. She hates doing anything related with crowds.

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    1. Yeah. I don't know that I would do it the same way again

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  16. What you did was unique and romantic. Deliberately making you sweat, not so much.

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    1. Thank you. It wasn't too bad. Once she showed, I barely thought about it.

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  17. Love the story! If I hadn't read your fb poem earlier today about dead ponies in the forest, I would call you "adorably romantic ".
    I really just popped in here to tell you to check out the dates on this comment thread. Wacky.

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    1. *then the blonde remembers that it is currently 2013*

      Dude, I'm not even drinking. I scare myself sometimes


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    2. Yeah, sorry. I just threw this up on my Facebook wall since I hadn't written a Valentine's Day post this year.

      Don't worry. I won't tell anyone.

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  18. I say again - public attention doesn't work for me. I have decided in the intervening year since my earlier comment: I would definitely sneak out the back way.

    But you know me well enough by now that I don't need to say that. I love you.

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Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.