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Goody, goody: Three yogis bag best of NYC with open hips, open minds


Dear Hilton NYC Cleaning Staff,

Please feel free to take home the six full-size bottles of lotion and face wash, plus the unopened Bai drinks I left on the dresser. I think you’ll particularly like the blueberry-flavored tea. Time ran out and I was only able to down three of the 24-ounce drinks, and I left you the ones I didn’t like.

The reason for deserting the lotion and face wash was because I could only get five of them in my suitcase and still zip it. My credit card and I hit the yoga bazaar pretty hard the day before and I had to fit a pair of yoga pants and wrap jacket in it, as well as the other jacket I got at Gap for 50 percent off the sale price.

The extra bottles in my suitcase took up so much space I was forced to wear both a sweater and jacket under my raincoat to the airport. As if this wasn’t uncomfortably warm enough, I topped it off by lugging my new yoga mat sticking out of my new yoga bag, filled with seven three-ounce tubes of coconut bath wash and the myriad vitamin packs and beef and chicken jerky samples I collected.

Just in case you’re starting to think I’m a hoarder, I want to explain how I came to be in possession of all this free healthy stuff.

The weekend started out innocently enough. My two daughters, Sarah and Becca, and I attended the Yoga Journal conference in New York City as a bonding experience. Becca, who is in marketing, was reading a book about how to feel rich by having less. Sarah, a college professor of American studies, is just naturally thrifty.

We learned to open our hips and our hearts (two different classes) and hiked and practiced partner yoga in Central Park. We discovered Karma yoga where you give instead of receive (which is what I was practicing when I left the full-size samples for you). On the streets of NYC, we learned if you stop to talk to anyone handing out their CDs, you’re buying that “free” CD, because they’ve signed “To Nancy” on it with a felt pen, before you realize you’re being scammed. (Please note the freebies I left you in my room have no strings attached.)

So here we were just three yogis out on the town having fun. As always, I was on the lookout for franchise references because that’s what my boss requires for this column. I pointed out to the girls a Pop-a-Lock car and told them I’d talked to the owners of the franchise at the IFE here a couple of years ago. “Your grandfather was a locksmith late in life,” I told them.  “You’re kidding,” Sarah said. “You mean we could have called him Papa Lock, instead of Papa Gar?”

Sarah then pointed out that her cab driver told her The Halal Guys food cart (franchise), right outside our hotel, had a line a full block long late at night. Ironically, stores in Times Square stay open until 1 a.m. on Sundays. It’s ironic, because Becca had a $10 coupon for H&M that expired at midnight that very night. We had gone to a play, eaten dinner and still were able to make it to H&M at two minutes to midnight so Becca didn’t waste $10 of free money. How she found a pair of sandals to buy in that amount of time is a credit to my nurturing as her spiritual and shopping guide.

So now that you know the players, you’ll understand how all that lotion and face wash came into my possession. During a painful demonstration of hip openers where I swear the instructor had a fake limb that she was putting behind her head, I got up to go to the restroom. It was then that I spotted staff hauling out the very goody bags we had received when we registered. “Go ahead, take one,” the man said. “Is it OK if I take one for my daughter, too?” I asked. “Take one for your sister,” he answered. (FYI, Sandy, don’t expect a goodie bag, I gave it to Sarah.)

Becca was so delighted that she went out and returned with two bags. Simultaneously,  we decided we’d had enough yoga and wanted to take our booty (both of them) up to her room to divide. We went back down to meet Sarah after her class, where we scored three more bags. We now had eight bags, plus our original three. Sarah took all the headsets to pass out to her yoga students as a “who’s your favorite teacher?” gift. Becca, who decided she too would now check a bag, filled her suitcase with lotion, cashew and almond milk, chicken jerky (we shamelessly made Sarah, the vegan, pick up extra samples at the show in addition to what was in the goody bags) and water bottles. She has two sons, 6 and 4, and what kid wouldn’t want their mom to bring them a water bottle as a gift?

Nancy Weingartner

Nancy Weingartner
Reach Nancy at 612-767-3207 or nancyw@franchisetimes.com. Follow her on Twitter
at http://twitter.com/nanweingartner

What wouldn’t fit in my suitcase, I stuffed in my yoga bag. My husband, who was there for the first two days, left behind a shirt and I debated whether to pretend I didn’t see it, but in the end, I packed it in the suitcase at the expense of one of the face washes.

So here I was at the airport, sweating in my extra clothes, hauling a yoga bag filled with freebies I really didn’t need, and my purse with my laptop, iPad and notebooks. Sarah and I were flying out of the same terminal so we parted ways so I could zoom through TSA Precheck, while she went through the lines for shoe-taker-offers.

So karma had a bit more fun with me. TSA precheck didn’t come up on my boarding pass, so I was forced to rummage through my yoga bag filled with liquid shower gel to place into a bin. Plus, take off all the extra outerwear.

I may have free lotion for a year, but it came with a hefty price tag. Please, dear cleaning staff, don’t throw it in the garbage. I’d hate to think that all that endorphin-producing freebie scoring was for naught.

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