“Wow. I wish I could do it all over again,” said Heather Green, as she wrapped up a feverish shopping day like none the Langley City woman had ever experienced before.
For the third year running, the Langley Advance held its annual shopping spree contest, where one lucky reader won a $1,000-, one-thousand-second shopping spree.
In this case, Green’s lone entry was randomly picked from thousands, entitling her to go shopping at a minimum of 10 participating Langley businesses in the time and with the funds alloted.
“When the phone call came in, she was quite excited and all smiles,” Keith recounted, noting she wasn’t much for sleep the night before the spree.
“She walked around for three days like the cat who swallowed the canary,” he added.
Now, admittedly some reconnaissance at each of the stores during the days leading up to the spree definitely helped Green in picking out all the items she wanted in the 1,000 seconds provided.
In fact, she acknowledged she hadn’t been in a few before, but will be a regular from now on – saying she’s always anxious to shop local.
It was what she called an “experience of a lifetime,” for Green and her hubby, Keith, who tagged along to watch and offer moral support.
“Better people could not have won,” said Advance publisher Lisa Farquharson, who chauffeured the couple around from store to store Thursday in search of all their treasures. “I have new friends,” she said, giving them hugs as they loaded up their car with all the self-selected prizes that included a windchime, specialty coffee, wine, a coffee grinder, New York steaks, clothes, a dart chalkboard, coolers, meat and fruit pies, beer, a spa treatment, and card making supplies.
They also packed in a pair of pool cues, but those were not bound for the Green household. They were dropping those off to Stepping Stones Community Services Society. It will be a gift for the centre’s lounge in their neighbourhood, where individuals and families living with mental illness can go to socialize and seek help, Green explained.
“I guess in life, it’s not so much what you get. It’s what you give that makes you feel good about yourself,” she said, anxious to pay forward a bit of her windfall.
Admittedly, winning the contest came at a great time for the Greens, she elaborated.
“What a blessing and a real gift this was for us, because we need some work done outside on our patio. We just didn’t know where we were going to get the money from, and it was going to be about $1,000,” she said. .
“So, when I won this, I thought ‘oh, God’s got a sense of humour.’ God’s given us this so we can afford that.”
While most of what she picked would be classified as “luxury” items, Green said it will definitely help them out a little financially.
Visiting some of the businesses, Green was welcomed “almost like royalty” with handmade signs, balloons, and even a few hugs.
“It was really fun spending someone else’s money, and to be welcomed into those stores like a celebrity, it was so much fun.”
At Army & Navy, for instance, staff had a shopping cart decorated up for her. At Mary’s British Home, there were numerous balloons and a sign on the door wished her well and saying “Shop til you drop (or run out of time).”
And with literally a few seconds left on the clock, Green showed up at Clipper Street to make her final purchases – the same place, it just so happens, that she entered the contest.
“It’s my favourite…” she said, noting she’s been a customer and student there for at least two decades – pretty much as long as she’s lived in Langley.
While she makes the occasional album and does some scrapbooking, Green said card making is her calling.
“I’ve found my passion,” she said, noting she doesn’t typically sell her cards, rather giving some to family and friends. But in making hundreds a year, most are actually donated to her church group or community organizations for distribution.
“I try to be generous with them,” she said as the she pulled up in front of Clipper Street, almost leaping from the car before it came to a stop.
“I love this store, its the best shop in Langley,” she said, hugs, a card, balloons, and a chalkboard congratulatory sign at the door welcoming her in.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” Green said, noting she’s never won anything this big before.
Bidding adieu, she said that she and Keith would likely be enjoying a romantic dinner – if not that night, then very soon – to devour some of the steaks, wine, and coffee they’d picked. The rest of the bounty would be enjoyed over time.
“This has been just fantastic!”