The toys. The T-shirts. The inside jokes. The geek! Today we were among the lucky few to get a tour of the ThinkGeek offices here in northern Virginia. The friendly and gracious Jamie Grove, friend of GeekDad, was nice enough to give us a behind-the-scenes tour to see where the real work is done. The office isn’t open to the public or anything, so we were really fortunate to get to see where the magic happens. We saw the offices and met the people who write the copy for the website, take the photos, produce the videos, make the products, purchase the other products, and everything else that goes into such a fantastic company that employs about 70 people. I also got to meet Shane, the guy whom I’ve corresponded with there the most, and see the famous “fun rooms” where the employees hang out when they aren’t working. The video games, foosball, and comfy chairs, the cookie jars in the kitchen (Darth Vader, the Death Star, and Spock), the Wall of Awesome Happiness. We met a couple of office dogs and saw the costume closet where they keep the costumes that people wear for photo and video shoots. Every desk was so filled with various toys that there was little desk space left for papers.
We even saw the mutant Jell-O! It’s still stuck to the window. And I don’t think it will ever leave. It’s a permanent part of the structure now. We also saw Timmy, of course, and much of his custom-made wardrobe.
ThinkGeek looks like a fantastic place to work. The place is filled with geekiness, of which I probably only understood a fraction (especially since I have not yet played Portal or Minecraft). It reminded me of a Silicon Valley internet startup, except in northern Virginia, and in a very unassuming office park. ThinkGeek has been growing steadily for a while, but their growth has increased dramatically during the past couple of years. So has geek culture, so it’s no big surprise. I know that I can always find things I want on their website. It’s never a challenge to fill a Christmas wish list when ThinkGeek is an option.
At the end of our tour, Jamie let us each pick out a parting gift. My son chose a plush sushi pairing of wasabi and ginger (which he declared was a married couple), my daughter picked the zombie plush (whom she quickly named Frederick), and I picked the Black Knight (who does not say, “Ni!”).
Don’t even think of dropping by, though. Their office is definitely not set up for the general public. Show your support by buying their stuff!
We had originally planned to go tour the Manassas Battlefield after our ThinkGeek tour, to do another chapter in our Civil War lesson. But the 95+ degree weather and waning interest from the kids made me scrap that plan. Instead we went to Tysons Corner Mall and did a little bit of shopping and had lunch. The mall has a Levenger store, which I really like, and I picked up a couple of things without having to pay shipping. We also visited the Lego store, and we all had our first ever visit to an Apple store. I drooled over some pants at L.L. Bean (but the $69 price tag kept me from buying them), and shook my head over the high prices at West Elm (though I like many of their things). I also stopped at Teavana, on Jess’s recommendation, but the sales lady was so pushy that she guaranteed that I wouldn’t buy anything. I don’t respond well to that kind of sales tactic.
Back “home” at Jess’s house, we all went out for free Slurpies at 7/11 (being July 11th and all), and the kids and Jess watched the latest Shrek movie. Tonight I pack up and tomorrow we move on to another friend’s house!
Drove: Around town.
Weather: Hot and miserable.
Best Parts of the Day: ThinkGeek! A free Coke-flavored Slurpie at 7/11.
Worst Part of the Day: The 95 degree humid weather.
Total GeekDads and GeekMoms Visited: 8.