The Pure Romance Warehouse Sale.
For those of you not from the Cincy area, every year during the first two weeks of February we all get bombarded with radio ads, billboards, and ValPak flyers about a local company's special Valentine's Day sale. The local company is Pure Romance, and they are one of those retailers who sells their goods through home parties, kinda like Pampered Chef or Partylite Candles. However, Pampered Chef doesn't have quite the kind of tools that Pure Romance does. They specialize in adult toys and potions. For women and couples. For the bedroom. You catch my drift.
For years, I've heard the ads for the warehouse sale held up at the company's Loveland headquarters where you can go in and shop without having to organize or find a party. I've always wanted to go and see what the fuss was about. After attending my very first PR party this time a year ago, I've been more intrigued. I'm a mature 30-something happily married woman, so why not? So when yesterday found me with yet another snow day, but with Ainsley's school in session, I decided to have an uncharacteristic adventure and go on a pilgrimage. As a famous explorer once said about Everest, it was there.
This place is 45 minutes from my house. Plus, I went at 10am. On a weekday. My assumption was that I could shop without worrying about being spotted.
As I entered the warehouse, I literally ran into another parent from Ainsley's school who was running out to her car to get her ID. Awk-ward! I know this lady quite well; she was a team captain for a Relay team last summer, and she helped me with the luminaria lighting. She's present at every school function I've ever been to, and we're on a first-name basis.
I tried to play it cool when we met back up at one of the demo tables (!) at the sale. See, I'm no prude or anything, but I am a little shy-ish. When I went to my first Pure Romance party last year, I didn't even want to let my close girfriend see what all was in my little black bag.
Not so much with this lady.
"Oh, have you ever been here before? This is my second time coming here in a week. Oh, and did you know for your free gift you get a Silver Bullet?"
If you don't know what that is, go check out the website. I'm too embarrassed to tell you.
She then proceeded to tell me that she was so happy that that was the free gift because she had worn her old one out. That may have been more that I needed to know from a woman who calls me from time to time to ask me to bring something up for a school bake sale.
While I was sneaking around the aisles trying to not stand out, I spied all kinds of people. There were couples there. There were lots of individual women of all ages. There were two women my own mother's age exploring the, um, toy bins as casually as if they were picking out socks.
It's a little amazing to me that in a city as notoriously conservative as Cincinnati that there's an adult business like this that does so well and that so many "normal" people are open about patronizing. I suppose it helps that they market themselves as a company for committed and monogamous couples, but it seems ironic that there was such an uproar a few years ago about Larry Flynt and the Hustler Superstore when the Pure Romance Warehouse Sale is a quiet little Cincinnati tradition.
It was a fun way to waste a snowy morning, I suppose. It's something I might do again next year.
Though next time, I might wear a disguise.