Have you ever watched The Shopping Channel? Ever wondered what it would be like to meet one of the hosts?
Well, a little over a week ago, host Norm Murray set out on a cross country adventure to see the country and meet customers and fans.
But, there was a catch! As his bio on Twitter stated: “Norm is as proudly Canadian as The Shopping Channel...follow Norm's Great Canadian Adventure - you never know where he'll show up...and neither does he!”
His two travelling companions from TSC, Mary (Public Relations Coordinator) and Lia (Promotions & PR Manager) were the ones holding all the secrets – and the plane tickets!
Norm packed his Hey’s luggage, grabbed his pal the Travelocity gnome and headed for the airport. His first destinations turned out to be Halifax and Peggy’s Cove. Then, back to Toronto before heading to Winnipeg, Calgary, Lake Louise, Edmonton and finally to Vancouver. He tweeted his adventures and posted pics as he went. Updates were also posted on TSC’s website, Twitter and their Facebook Fan Page.
Sunday afternoon, Norm was wondering where his next destination was. All he knew was to be at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Terminal 3 at a certain time! Later that afternoon he tweeted “WINNIPEG!!!!”
I should point out here, that I’d been following his updates over the previous days and replied to several of his tweets. I was hoping that Winnipeg would be one of the stops. When I saw he was indeed headed to my city, I wondered what would be the chances of meeting him?
Norm asked his tweeps where to find good places to eat in The ‘Peg and I replied that there were a LOT of great places - even supplied him with links to a couple that were near where I lived. He did pass through my area that evening and even posted a pic of himself and the gnome – but where they finally ended up eating was too far for me to get to on foot that night. I sent my regrets and said maybe Monday I’d get to meet him.
Oh, I guess I should also mention here that I’d offered to bring him some of my homemade chocolates if we did cross paths.
Well, after a few more tweets from The Forks and The Royal Canadian Mint on Monday morning, he tweeted that he would be at Moxie’s at the MTS Centre around noon – and specifically suggested that I come and bring the chocolate!
Now, I’m not sure if he really wanted to meet this crazy woman who had been tweeting him with smart remarks or just wanted the chocolate. After all, if you have ever watched any of TSC’s cooking shows where Norm is the host, you’ve seen how that man loves to eat - and yet never gains a pound! But, I thought – why not? I’ll go say hi and maybe get a pic or a gift card that they were handing out to the fans.
I tweeted that I’d be there and to watch for a 50-ish gal with a white cane. I arrived a few minutes before Norm & Co got there so waited by the entrance. When they walked in, Norm immediately came over to me, gave me a big hug and said he was really glad that I’d made it! Mary and Lia introduced themselves and they asked me to come sit with them and chat for a bit.
Before we sat down, they asked if they could take a pic of me with Norm and the gnome. Um, I’ve never posted my pic online and I really wasn’t comfortable putting my pic out on the web ... but, what if I held the gnome in front of my face!?! Sure why not! So Norm held the chocolate ... and I held the gnome!
Norm posted this comment with the photo:
"Meeting our favourite fan in Winnipeg.. @dnsyl57.. thank you for spending time with us,it was a pleasure!"
We ordered beverages and started chatting. They asked where I was from, how long I’d been in the city, my family, work and more. They asked about my vision loss and I showed them my magnifying lenses that I use for reading. They thought that was cool!
I assumed I would only stay a few minutes, but time flies when you are enjoying the company you are with and before I knew it, I was being asked to join them for lunch – their treat! Surprised and flattered to be asked, I said yes! Come on, who wouldn’t want to spend some time with this great group? We ordered lunch and quickly resumed chatting.
Not surprisingly, they wanted to know how long I’d been shopping with TSC (13 years this August) and what lines I bought from. Well, let’s see... I’ve bought from Westex, Hey’s; Orange Clean (wish they’d bring that line back!); Ott-Lite; Kitchen Aid; Foreman Grill (am now on my third!). I’ve bought: a Body Break Bike; some resistance fitness equipment and two Tony Little Gazelle’s! I filled them in on some of my weight struggles and blogging about it.
There have been several jewellery lines that I’ve bought from – a few gold at first, but almost exclusively sterling silver for the last few years. By far the most I’ve bought though are from Himalayan Gems and Silver By Sajen collections. I didn’t admit to how many pieces I had from those two collections alone but if I wore only one piece/day, I could go several months without a repeat!
I’ve gotten a couple of friends hooked on TSC. One of my pals even refers to me as “The Jewellery Devil” as I email her when I see something I know she would love!
We talked about writing, cooking/baking, food, Winnipeg and more! Turns out we are all fans of Y&R so dished about the storylines, characters and actors. Several of the cast have visited TSC over the years to promote product lines – most recently Tracey Bregman (Lauren Fenmore Baldwin) with her jewellery line. She is also the new spokesperson for the Jabot Cosmetics line.
The ladies asked me who my favourite host(s) were and I said that I enjoyed Norm and Richard the most, but also liked BJ, Greta and several others! I follow TSC through social media and shop way more than I should!
I also got to ask lots of questions about products, hosts (past and present) and the goings on behind the scenes. We talked about the technical changes in the 18 years Norm has been there. I also asked, if he truly didn’t know where he was headed next on this trip and he swore he had no clue! He had tried a few times to get the ladies to tell him or slip up but no way! I razzed him that the women having the power was as it should be. Norm was smart enough to know that he was outnumbered by us women, so agreed!
The time flew by as we ate and talked. It was both entertaining and relaxing to spend the time with Norm, Mary and Lia. I honestly did not expect such friendly, open, genuine people! It was a true pleasure and honour to spend the time with them - especially when they were on a schedule.
Before I left, Norm signed a photo and gave me gifts for a good friend who is a huge fan of his and TSC! (She was over the moon excited and grateful when I gave them to her!) I was also given an autographed photo and gift cards.
But, by far the most surprising gift I received, was a very limited edition TSC apron signed by the on-air hosts and models!! Only a handful of these were done and one would be given in each town/city they travelled to. Norm signed a personal message on mine! I’m kicking myself that I didn’t have Mary and Lia sign it as well!
They asked if I would wear it?
I love to cook/bake and spend a lot of time in the kitchen - wearing an apron ... BUT, a legally blind woman wearing an autographed white apron? I think not!
The apron and the time I got to spend with my new friends Norm, Mary, Lia (and the gnome!) is truly a gift to be treasured!
You can also read more on The Shopping Channel Blog
July 10 2011 - "The Shopping Channel"
July 17 2011 - "TSC And Me"