In the wee hours of Sunday, September 29, 2013, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf fans from Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego counties converged on the streets of Anaheim awaiting the opening of the Angels Stadium parking lot. Traffic backed up for miles on the 57 freeway in both directions as cars got off of Katella and Orangewood Avenues. Fans that had been there since midnight had parked on the street illegally to save their place in line when the gates finally opened. Mayhem ensued as others started parking on the street in disorderly fashion treating it like a parking lot and blocking traffic. Sleep and caffeine-deprived fans started yelling at stadium parking staff. As arguments started to get heated, the Anaheim Police and CHP (California Highway Patrol) arrived on the scene to clear traffic. Some fans had the nerve to argue with the police officers as well. I’m surprised they didn’t get arrested. The police told fans that if they were not waiting in the right-hand lane to get into the parking lot, they would be ticketed or towed. Some fans were stubborn and left their cars unattended anyway and actually got towed.
The parties broke up into drivers and walkers. As the gates opened at 6am, walkers turned into runners, even though they were told to walk, and raced to get in line. Cars peeled out as the gates opened, like they were at a drag race. My mom was with me and told her to just look straight ahead and walk really fast as I didn’t want her to get trampled. The only thing I can equate this to was a store opening on Black Friday. It was a little scary as people seemed completely oblivious as to how unsafe they were being. The mad dash to be first in line was because the first 250 people would also receive a free CBTL® Milk Frother. As we finally made it in line, it seemed to calm down a bit. CBTL staff came around with orange juice, bottled water, and pastries. Unfortunately, the coffee never made it down to the end of the line. Fans were accosting the staff as they left the refill station and they ran out before they even stepped onto the asphalt. We brought some extra snacks with us get through the morning. We got our wristbands and stood/sat on the asphalt for over 2 hours before the trade up started. It was interesting seeing all of the different varieties of coffee makers people brought in from old Mr. Coffee’s from the 60s and 70s to brand new coffee makers still sealed in boxes. It probably should have been limited to 1 per household as there adults who brought their 13 year or older children with them to trade in coffee makers too. Why would one family need 4 new coffee makers?
At 8am, the line opened as the trade up started. This was pretty organized – you handed your old coffee maker over (coffee makers were donated to Goodwill and will be distributed across Southern California), they cut your wristband off, and handed you a card for the new CBTL Americano Machine. Located under one of the gigantic Angels helmets, boxes and boxes of brand new CBTL Americano Machines were being handed out. Once we had our machines, we stood in line under the other Angels helmet to buy the capsules for the machine – espresso, flavored coffees, hot chocolate, and tea flavors were available at a special price of 3 boxes for $20. A note for next time, I would put up a sign or have handouts of the flavors so people could decide while standing in line. The line took a long time as most people were deciding at the register.
Once we loaded up on coffee capsules, we noticed a couple tents serving coffee. I wish we had seen these before as it would have helped us with our decision of capsules to buy. But we were just happy to finally get a cup of coffee.
There were also games that people could play – Connect Four of sorts. We were tired of standing in lines so we passed on that. But, we did stop at the CBTL truck for a sample of the Ice Blended Pumpkin Spice. If you love pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream on top, you gotta try this! It’s wonderful!
This event was a great way to celebrate National Coffee Day, just needs to be a little more organized next time.
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