Internet 1, Provincial Bigotry 0

Testing his new kicks. JCPshopinHoly smokes, Internet. You took a trickle of an idea and turned it into a flash flood of open-minded, open-hearted, open-walleted commercial fantasticality. You saw a damsel tied to the tracks and (just a tad under) One Million Moms twirling their moustaches, and you rode in on your steed and shouted, “Aw, hay-ell no!”

OK, it’s not that clear-cut. One Million Moms aren’t evil-hearted. They’re just on the wrong side of progress, and their narrow-minded keening grows fainter every moment.

And Ellen DeGeneres is not a doe-eyed naif. Underneath those pale-blue eyes beats the heart of a stand-up comedian who could probably take you down with a riposte at 20 paces.

But Internet, you definitely rode high in the saddle today.

Every time I refreshed the Facebook page, there was always someone knew climbing aboard, or posing in front of a JCPenney (or, for the shut-ins, In three and a half days, almost 2,800 people signed on for the #JCPshopin to thank JCPenney for judging Ellen DeGeneres as a powerful marketing partner, regardless of whether she digs on the menfolk.

Today, Moxie and I met at Briarwood Mall to get our boys some new shoes. The boys and I got there first, so we took some time browsing through the “graphic” T-shirts with wacky cartoons on them. Robert took a shine to a shocked cow exclaiming “Hamburgers are made of WHAT?!?,” but they were all too big. We looked up and saw we were in the men’s department, and my nine-year-old curmudgeon said, “You mean, MEN are supposed to wear that?”

When the kids found shoes they liked, we flagged down Reneé, the young saleswoman who came across at first like she was having a bad day. While the boys were lacing up their new kicks, I asked her if she knew about the shop-in. She didn’t, but when I showed her the FB page on my phone, her face lit up.  Moxie and I talked a bit about social media, and Twitter (“I don’t get Twitter, man. It’s just so noisy”), and the blogging gigs we have, and how even a pair of divorced parents could show up together and give JCP some cashlove. And she said, “That is completely cool.”

The shoes passed muster. Robert liked the black color, which he said looked “sinister,” and TwoBert tested them out by doing a few dozen wind sprints into ladies’ loungewear (see above). We spent $90, and I like to think Reneé spent the rest of her afternoon shelving sandals with a smile on her face.

If all 2,800 participants averaged the same amount we did (and I think that’s possible, because some of you spent until your credit cards started smoking), that’s over $250,000 of activism. In one day. All because of a spark in Tracey‘s fertile brain that you fanned into a bonfire.

(OK. I know I began with a water metaphor, but the fire thing works, too.)

Read more of Doug’s writing on Laid-Off Dad.
Follow Doug on Twitter @LOD.


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