I didn't get to watch the Big Game. I was working. I work at a sporting goods and outdoors store. We are a major source of Saints products: shirts, hats, pennants, etc. Since they've won the NFC championship we've been selling a lot of Saints stuff. If the Saints win we were going to open right after the game and start selling Superbowl championship product. The merchandise was there, we couldn't open it until the end of the game. If the Saints lost than it all went back.
We had the game on the radio so we could listen. We had a store full of associates standing around waiting for the outcome. Before the game was over, once it started to look pretty good for a Saints' win we had people start lining up outside the store. By the time the game was over we probably had a few hundred people waiting. As the game ended we started opening boxes and putting the product out on the tables. Every register was manned and we had people behind all the tables getting the shirts and hats out. I was in charge, making sure everything was ready. We had police there to help control the crowd.
The plan was to let twenty people in at a time, once the first twenty was in and moving along we would let another twenty in, and so on. Once the tables were packed with the shirts and hats I gave the signal to the police office to start with the first twenty. By now the line was all the way down the strip mall and around the side. We had to have over a thousand people in line. The parking lot was parked, all you saw on the road was headlights headed towards us. Horns were blaring, car alarms were going off, people were screaming and all you could hear was "Who Dat!!!!" The fire department came with an engine with lights and horns blaring, parking out front of the store.
Everything went smooth. People poured through the store, buying shirts and hats and moving through the registers with no problems. Everyone was cheering and yelling as they came through. It was as close to a party you can have while still working.
43 years in the making. There was a lot of emotion that night. The people here love their Saints and have stood behind this team through a lot of bad years, so it was great to see all that loyalty finally being rewarded. Within three hours we were sold out of everything Superbowl related and we still have hundreds of people outside.
I have to admit I was a little nervous about having to go out there and face that crowd. Some of those people had been standing in line for hours. One of the firemen came in and volunteered to go inform the crowd through the fire trucks' speakers. The police officer at the door told the people that had waited so patiently and were now at the door to be let in that sadly they were going to be turned away, we had no more product. After thousands of hats, shirts, pennants, license plate holders, magnets we were out.
This was crucial point, even the police officers were a little worried. What would this crowd of hundreds do after standing outside, drinking and partying, waiting for Saints product that they were now told was not here. New Orleans did me proud. They turned away with no problem. Of course there was some grumbling, a few people could be heard that this wasn't fair, but the majority, the vast majority of the people understand and went off cheering and chanting for their Saints. They knew we'd have more product the next morning and even more important than to be the first to get that shirt or hat I think they just wanted to be out with fellow fans to celebrate after the win.
So for me I've been seeing the win from a slightly different perspective. I haven't even had a chance to see the local news to see how the rest of the city has reacted. The next day I was back again, with another big crowd, but nowhere near the size of the previous night, and lines of people with the shirts and hats we received again.
I heard from someone that when the Saints came home today from the airport that the streets were lined for miles around the airport with fans. I'm off Tuesday so I'm looking to be able to watch some news and see what's been happening otherwise with the Saints.
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