Thanks to my editor job, I’m fairly in-the-know when it comes to family-friendly activities in the greater LA area. Last week I received a press release announcing a fancy cupcake bakery’s intention to give away free cupcakes to every customer on the anniversary of their store’s opening. I knew the opportunity for Angelenos to save $3.75 per person would be taken very seriously, so I drove to the bakery’s closest location so I could ask the store manager more questions. This is the kind of hard-hitting, sacrificial journalism I’m committed to bringing to Los Angeles.

When I arrived at the store, I said to the manager, “So, what can you tell me about Free Cupcake Day?” And she gave me a side-eye and replied, “How do you know about that?” I hadn’t realized Free Cupcake Day was such a heavily guarded secret. I said, “From…an email? From your PR?” I find answering questions with questions makes me seem non-threatening. The manager accepted this answer and relaxed. She told me that they’d be handing out full-sized cupcakes all day long to every single person who came to the store. That sounded like a lot of gluten. I then bought four full-sized cupcakes and a dozen mini-cupcakes, for research.

Yesterday was the day of the event, and when Mike arrived home from work he said, “Hey, isn’t today the day they’re giving away free cupcakes?” Both kids were like, “CUPCAKES! YES! LET’S GO!” Rookie move, Spohr.

Our second rookie move was parking the car before we drove by the store. If we’d done a drive-by, we’d have seen the line for a free cupcake stretched from the front of the store all the way to Arizona. It was insane.

"It's so much people!"

“It’s so much people!”

Now I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but it wasn’t a line hundreds of people deep. I said to one of the people ahead of us, “Is this line for a free cupcake, or a hundred dollar bill?” She looked at me like I was insane. “A free cupcake,” she said in a tone that implied she’d find anything else disappointing. Excuuuuuuse me.

Realizing we were going to be stuck in that line a loooong time unless I did something, I nodded at a Starbucks next door.  “Annabel, how about we go to that Starbucks and I buy you literally anything you want RIGHT NOW so we don’t have to wait in this line?”

“But…the frosting,” she said, making a sad-puppy face.

I looked to Mike for backup.

“The frosting is pretty good,” he chimed in, making a sad-puppy face.

I looked at James.



Things that happened while we waited for a free cupcake (retail value $3.75):

~Annabel started and completed kindergarten

~The 2016 election came and went

~James got his driver’s license

~I cut bangs but decided they weren’t flattering, so I grew them out

Not one to give up hope, I occasionally mentioned leaving the line in favor of buying another sweet treat somewhere else. I was constantly rejected. “Mom, I think you should stop asking, it’s never gonna go your way.” Oh, ok.

When it was finally our turn – fifty-eight minutes later – the hype turned out to be true: we had our choice of full-size cupcake. Mike and the kids carefully picked their flavors, and then we headed out. That’s right, I didn’t get a cupcake. Feel free to start my sainthood application because I’ve clearly performed a willpower miracle.

We made the kids wait until we were back home to eat their cupcakes. One of them ate off the frosting and was finished. The other spread cupcake all over every surface within arms’ reach. Total percentage of ingested cupcakes? 13%.

At least we saved $11.25.