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Chick-Fil-A Preps for Opening as 110 Camp Out

by ARLnow.com November 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm 4,406 24 Comments

If Chick-fil-A wanted an owner committed to the company’s family values, they couldn’t have done much better than Natalie Yang.

The mother of four brought 30 family members in from various parts of the country for tomorrow’s opening of her Crystal City store. Of her nine brothers and sisters, eight made the trip.

The family members were joined in the store this afternoon by many of Yang’s 46 employees. Also among the crowd were nearly 30 corporate employees and fellow store owners, who were here to train employees and help out with the marketing.

Chick-fil-A’s marketing is primarily based around giving away lots and lots of food. Yang estimated that the store has given away at least 4,000 chicken sandwiches in the past couple of days, in addition to countless biscuits and chicken nuggets.

As the family members and employees sat around inside the shiny new store on Crystal Drive today, 110 campers were lounging around in the park across the street. They arrived with tents and cold weather gear early this morning to get in line for the First 100 promotion — a time-tested marketing gimmick which promises a year’s supply of Chick-fil-A meals for the first 100 people in line at store openings.

At least 30 people had to be turned away at the crack of dawn, after the queue reached capacity, according to a company spokesperson.

What motivated the campers to spend more than 24 hours in the cold in Crystal City, awaiting tomorrow’s 6:00 a.m. opening?

“My husband used all the Chick-fil-A coupons that I had from last time, so I had to come and get more,” said Anna Matson, a stay-at-home mom from Lynchburg, Va. Matson was joined by her 17 month old son Judah, who has already attended five Chick-fil-A openings (if you count the two or three while Matson was pregnant with him).

Matson said the openings are also fun, with music, games, free food and, of course, the guy in a cow costume.

Towson University student Femi Gbangblasa, a grand opening first-timer, said he was also here for the free food. He and his six friends were trying to stay warm while chatting around one of the park’s picnic benches. Gbangblasa said he has been spending most of his time studying, but has been enjoying the experience, for the most part. Would he do it again?

“I would do it again in warmer weather, probably,” he said.

  • MikeyinCrystalC

    All the way from Lynchburg? 17 month old has been to 5 openings? I’m all for the CFA in my ‘hood…but man, this is why we are an obese country. 😛

    • Zack

      You also have to wonder who has time to do this. I work in CC and witnessed the shantytown myself. Pretty bizarre sight indeed. Lets hope for rain tonight, make ’em earn it.

  • Mark

    2 things: 1) it’s actually a free sandwich a week for a year. 2) Chick fil-a has said that if there are more than 100 people than a raffle will be held. Not the first 100 in line.

  • Mark also

    man, people need to get a life. I know this is easy copy to feed the beast, ARLnow, but who cares??

  • DT

    Sleeping out in order to have a “chance” at a free sandwich a week for a year? I don’t think we can any longer consider humans superior to other species.

    • Katie

      Who does that?

      • DT

        Humans with three digit IQ’s who do not camp out for fast food.

        • Katie

          We’re a horrible species, the scourge of the planet–high IQ or no IQ.

  • Jimmy Gramm

    This is truly depressing news. I weep for America.

    • Lou

      Have you tried their Spicy Chicken Sandwich???

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    This is one of the silliest things I’ve ever read. Like the commentor above says, these people need to get a life.

  • Katie

    The family should not eat so much free Chik-Fil-A.

  • MC

    This is straight out of the Simpsons — a CFA leading executive is actually named “Bubba”, the stuff they sell is actually described as a “bread chicken product” on their website. Springfield comes to Arlington.

  • Tom

    You folks obviously don’t appreciate Southern comfort. Camping out for $300 worth of free food? Doesn’t sound that ridiculous to me. Can’t wait for the new one in Springfield to open next year.

    • MOT

      You don’t need to wait til next year to camp out.

  • Stfu

    Yes…I agree some people need to get a life. And it is not the folks camping out.

    Just reading the comments on this board, yes, we can no longer consider ourselves the superior species. Whatever happen to Respect? When was the last time any one of you actually stepped out of your house and did anything? At least the campers are out doing something they enjoy and not hiding behind the Internet like cowards!

    • DT

      You should heed your name.

    • Katie

      I’m posting from the purple tent by the fountain.

      • DT

        Of course you are. The rest of us horrible species have jobs.

    • Mark also

      OMG, so driving 200 miles to camp out in the city to get a year’s worth of junk food that will raise your risk of colon cancer and obesity is having a life? It’s called being sucked in by stupid commercialism. Turn off the tV and the ads and take your tent to the woods if you want to do something worthwhile with your family.

      I guess if it floats your boat. But i reserve the right to make fun of your boat.

  • Black Flag

    More fast food, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • MikeyinCrystalC

    Just came back from there. Massive amounts of staff on hand and friendliness abounds. Got in and out pretty quick…now, what that place will be like around noon is probably a whole other story!

  • kirat

    Anyone know where to find the pictures from last night? I was hula hooping!

  • I ate there earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised to find carrot & raisin salad as a side item. It seems like a healthier alternative to other sides such as fries and coleslaw. The Chick-Fil-A website lists the nutritional information of all their menu items. The carrot and raisin salad shows as having 390 calories, but the portion is quite large. There is plenty to share with another person or take as a leftover.

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