Polaroid & Urban Outfitters: An Email to In-Store Photo Odyssey

This past hursday I received an email from Urban Outfitters made me positively giddy with excitement.

Much to my delight, the email explained that Urban Outfitters was promoting an exclusive partnership with The Impossible Project, a group dedicated to preserving the legacy of Polaroid film. Best of all, the email explained that the two entities’ interests would culminate in a series of limited in-store sales of the last remaining Polaroid cameras and film, rescued from the last Polaroid factory in the Netherlands. What a coup! Best of all, I learned that the somewhat secret sale was taking place the following day, just across the Charles River in nearby Cambridge.

And thus my fate had been decided: I would use the information gleaned from this informative in-store promotion email, venture towards Harvard Square during my lunch break, and return only after acquiring my very own special edition Polaroid camera and film.

But why describe a memorable experience in simple words when a set of photos could explain it even better? Let’s see how it all went down!

Approaching Harvard Square from JFK Street. Who knew Harvard had a proprietary mail carrier service? Their logo looks suspiciously like the old CheetahMail logo. I wonder if they do email too…hmmm….

What could possibly motivate someone to leave an air-conditioned room for the sweltering streets of Harvard Square on the most disgustingly humid day of the year? In-store promotional email, of course!

Aha! The store has been easily located thanks to the original email, which clearly listed the store locations, hours of sale, and exact addresses.

Getting closer…I can feel it. (If this event had taken place during the popular 1980′s computer game “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” at this point a man in a trenchcoat would have appeared, announced himself to be a V.I.L.E. Henchman, and told me that I was on the right track)

Jackpot! After a bit of searching, I discovered a stack of untouched Polaroid boxes behind the checkout in the home furnishings section. Amazingly, most of the customers ahead of me in line were families stocking up on dorm room decorations – not über-geeks like me searching for obscure film technology. Then, just before I got to the front of the line, a man two spots ahead of me bought ten packs of film right on the spot with a big grin on his face. Ten! I guess the secret is out! A few other photo enthusiasts in line were also clearly waiting to get their hands on one of their own, indicating to me that this experiment had clearly gone viral.

Home sweet home and mission accomplished! I now have my very own limited edition Polaroid camera. Long live analog technology! (And the digital technology that tells us where and when to buy it!)