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PingWi-Fi Thunder Gets Its Scrant-ON!

October 16th, 2011 · Tags:Cities · Wi-Fi

Columbus Monument, Lackawanna County Courthouse

Columbus Monument, Lackawanna County Courthouse

The Dunder-Mifflin tour of 2011 continues … It has been a little over a week since I made the drive to Scranton, Penn., … so I will recount the events as best I can.

I am not going to say that the trip to Scranton was a disappointment, but I expected more. (“That’s what she said.”) There are more hardcore fans of The Office than me, but when I realized the regional office of the most popular mythical paper company on earth was within striking distance … well … I got my Scrant-on!

The Best Paper In The World


Hmmm … it’s a wonder the branch of D-M is doing so well on the show. Without mincing words, downtown Scrantown seemed a little depressed. Within one block of the biggest mall in town, there were scores of empty storefronts. One of the retailers that was open — an Army surplus store — never really a good sign for a downtown retail district … no offense to my friends in the camo business.

Actually, I think I have a new friend in Scranton’s military surplus circles because I went in and made a purchase.  I would venture to say it probably was one of the few purchases of the day in that establishment on a slow Sunday afternoon. I hope it was memorable for them. For me … this was the takeaway. I took away a new black military backpack for the trusty laptop, and I talked shop with the proprietor. First up, we discussed that a large portion of his other clothing line was workwear from Dickies … Dickies of Fort Worth … the mythical home of PingWi-Fi.com. Next topic … another homer … The Dallas Cowboys. The owner of the store showed me his line of tie-dyed NFL gear sans anything with the silver star. He told me every other team allows his supplier to market a version of their merchandise … except our Dallas Cowboys. I guess you don’t get to be one of the biggest brands in the world without a little protectionism.

Dang, I digress …

So as stated, not much going on in Scrant-On. I decided to do a quick souvenir hunt and be on my way. I thought surely there would be a plethora of Dunder-Mifflin Office stores on every other corner in Scranton. There weren’t! I was shocked. After a little poking around, I found one kiosk in the mall with t-shirts sporting the tv show’s best wisdom: “Get your Scrant-On,” “That’s what she said,” and “Shrute Beet Farm.” Alas … it wasn’t that the selection was lacking … more of a case of the sizes I needed were lacking.

I settled. I hate to settle. But I settled for a shirt that is printed with “Scranton Electric City.” Despite its slow pulse rate today, Scranton apparently was a mover and shaker — early adopters — for electrical energy.

Scranton Electric City Heritage

And of course the electric heritage of the place has become legend, largely due to the rap laid down by Michael and Dwight:

Dope & Pretty Electric City Rap

My Other Brother Dwight

My Other Brother Dwight

So here’s the deal, Scranton. I am shaking my bobblehead in amazement.  You have a potential goldmine in the attention provided by The Office. Why are you not capitalizing on it? As I wondered the downtown area, with my new backpack and Electric City t-shirt there were few signs that a major TV show fictitiously is based there. I saw one chamber of commerce graphic in a storefront with a likeness of Dwight Shrute. So, I tried to break in and steal it … but couldn’t, so I took a photo instead. Passersby asked me if Dwight and I were related … Anywho … Other than that, only a few The Office graffiti sightings. Come on people, this is not rocket surgery. Represent! (The Internet tells me there are The Office tours … but little evidence during my visit.)

No Wi-Fi

No Wi-Fi, No Office Supplies

Oh … about Wi-Fi … I stuck my head in Starbucks at the mall to see if they might have a Starbucks mug with Scranton … Nope … actually I think Bux has stopped selling city mugs. (The last one I saw was in a torched Starbucks … the debris of a mall in Sacramento …) Disappointed, I didn’t even get on the Scranton Starbucks Wi-Fi hotspot. Across town, I tried to break out of my mold a little and went to a Krispy Kreme donuts joint. No Wi-Fi … no Krispy Kreme Scranton paraphernalia. No nothing. At Scanton U — where I theorize Dwight probably took some night classes to study salesmanship, I struck out. The bookstore was closed. No t-shirts and no Wi-Fi for me …

And still no Dwight Shrute sightings! But I charged on looking for celebrities.

At last … SCORE! Just outside of the huge, huge, palatial Scottish Rite Temple in Scranton I observed three or four suspicious looking brown tour buses with all darked-out windows. Could this be one of those famous Michael Scott/Dunder-Mifflin company parties for cheap? (You know like the discount drinking retreat for his employees … “The Booze Cruise.”)

Ha! Even better. After a few cleverly worded questions posed to the Irish guy smoking in the street, out in front of the tour buses, who just happened to be wearing a “Celtic Thunder” t-shirt … I deduced these buses encapsulated the touring cast of the sheer creative genius/magic that is Celtic Thunder. Ha! Quickly I tested my hypothesis on Google. Yes CT was playing a gig that very night in Scranton at the Cultural Center …. formerly a Scottish Rite Temple.

Celtic Thunder
I will always wonder if Dwight, Michael, Andy, Jim, Pam, Kevin, Stanley and the like caught the show. I wonder which one of the Celtic Thunder cast Dwight might most like to be … or meet … or stalk … or all of the above.

Know what I sayin?