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December 22, 2017

The Most Spectacular Thing


The Blue Q holiday parties aren't just a party, they're an amazing spectacle that we push way over the top.

This year we noticed the fine writing of Felix Carroll in our local paper, The Berkshire Eagle. He's so good. So we hired him to join us, observe, and tell us what he saw.

Let's take stock. The most spectacular thing about the epic annual 2017 Blue Q Holiday Party was not the cheerleaders coiffed in glow-stick mohawks waving pom-poms with a vigor typically reserved for one who has accidently struck a thumb with a ball-peen hammer.

It wasn't the guy in antlers handing out hard-earned trophies while wearing an ensemble resembling something Margaret Thatcher might've worn on the night she lost her virginity.

It wasn't all those wonderfully thoughtful raffle items, including the Pennzoil Self-Lubrication sign, the seven sausages and the can of garbanzo beans.

It wasn't the photo booth either, where all were invited to sit upon sawhorses set against a Wild West backdrop while wearing lampshades upon their heads, clearly a law-and-order crowd.

It wasn't the food itself — the scrumptious suitcase shrimp, charcuterie, smoked brisket, spicy lentils, root veggie lasagna, mushroom rice pilaf and Tess Diamond's groovy greens, followed up with assorted pastries so authentically Italian you expected Louis Prima's apron-wearing mama to come cartwheeling through an open doorway to claim credit.

It wasn't the fact that a mere 30 minutes into the open bar no one seemed capable of spelling the warehouse manager's last name.

"It's 'Bencivenga': B-e-n — something-something-something-something …"

"No, it's 'Bencivenga': B-e-n-j-a — no wait. B-e-n-s … No, that's not it."

Of course, asking the warehouse manager himself would have been simpler had he not been thoroughly conquered by the opportunities for self-reinvention proffered by the photo booth — at the moment, he's there galloping upon a sawhorse, waving a chainsaw over his head.

It wasn't the skits put on by the staff either, including one involving mainlining beef jerky with a hydroponics syringe. Another one involved what one might consider a precise historical reenactment of the time last spring when new hire Patrick Connors backed into the boss's new car.

It wasn't the response from the matriarch of this operation, Suzanne Nash, when asked to explain her sons' madcap assault upon everything taught at modern business schools. "They didn't get it from me," she shrugged.

It wasn't the song chronicling the manufacturing struggles and teamwork triumphs written and performed by customer service employee Chris Vecchia and product developer Steven Wardlaw to the tune of Tom Petty's "The Waiting."

It wasn't all those hallucinogenic projections on the walls either, put together by best-friend-of-Blue Q, the sculptor and feeder of the homeless, Joe Weaton, who was wearing an odd sort of lapel of some sort, wasn't he? A lapel attached with scotch tape, right? A lapel consisting of an eight-inch tall, red plastic action figure of a bullet-riddled cowboy writhing in pain. The projections including Blue Q products and staff, fine art, a spotted fawn and (for whatever reason) botanical images from the U.K.

It wasn't the short film put together by Mitch and Joe, either — even if Joe hadn't accidently cut the footage of the two guys riding motorcycles down an aisle in the warehouse as employees sucked down whipped cream.

Hey look at that: Steven Wardlaw has just been presented with the 2017 You Motherfucker Award! And even that's not most spectacular thing about the epic annual 2017 Blue Q Holiday Party.

Like all things Blue Q that contain the root word "fuck" (its Carpe The Fuck Out Of This Diem Socks, its Fuck Me Like The Government Minty Gum and its This Is Fucking Delicious Oven Mitts, for example) there's a purity of intention to this award. You see, earlier in the year Steven (probably just tired) had sent out an email that contained the words "mother fucker" (two words) rather than "motherfucker" (one word).

Mitch, the receiver of the email, took one look at "mother" and "fucker" and the wide, empty, get-me-my-binoculars space separating the two words and, of course, he (because he wasn't raised by wolves) winced. But ever the mentor, he tenderly informed Steven at the time that in this world (the world we all share), "motherfucker" is one word (always) not two (ever).

Just another beautiful moment from the past year, really. And to remember it forever, Steven was presented with a trophy topped with a golf ball.

Yet was that even the most spectacular award?

Or would that be the coveted 2017 Speaks the Most Amount of Words a Minute Award, which went to Kathy Clark? When asked to comment, she said, "Ah-LOVit!"


"I. Love. It," she repeated, slowly. "Ah-LOVit!"

Yet, even with all that, the most spectacular thing about the epic party involves two rectangle-shaped receptacles, no more than three-by-four inches each. Two rectangles that, in their own, unassuming, "well-grounded" way, serve to define this company of good-spirited misfits who are set free and held safe to engage in a radical experiment of collaboration, hard work and hard play.

The most spectacular thing about the epic annual 2017 Blue Q Holiday Party was the fact this entire bash, held on the oh-what-the-fuck, worst-possible-week — Blue Q's busiest week… this whole party, celebrating the conclusion of Blue Q's 29th year of selling a ton of shit that makes people smile (and giving a shit ton to good causes)…  this whole friggin party, the lights, the music, the everything, was all powered on a mere two electrical wall outlets, because that's all the room had.

Two electrical outlets, and orange extension cords draped from the ceiling every way like silly string.

That, dear friends, is Blue Q.

(Hey, they'll deal with it.)

Joy to the world and giddy-up!

Thanks a Bunch!

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So I bought some of your socks today at a shop near my house in San Francisco and then I got a hankering for a few more pairs. Checked out your website top to bottom...and landed on this...hmmm what could those 3x4 rectangles be. Down the rabbit hole I went to find out. Second sentence in and I read the motherfucking Berkshire Eagle!!! This North Adams girl could not believe her eyes! Well, it looks like your having a wicked fun time out there and god fucking bless you for it. My family in Richmond, MA are going to get a big laugh out of the fact that I'm shipping them a bunch of Blue Q gifts from California. P.S. The cherry on top is I'm a lighting designer and no one ever gives thanks to the 2x 20 amp circuits that made it all possible- you guys are officially the coolest.
Comment By: Leslie2 years ago 
Y'all are my tribe! I want to work with you motherfuckers. If there are no openings for a profane admin with tattoo, ukulele and knitting addictions, can I at least wrangle an invite to your 2018 holiday party? (Please note the proper spelling of motherfuckers. I'm not an animal, FFS)
Comment By: Sally3 years ago 
That looks like a fucking good time with a bunch of fucking cool people! Damn, my disability checks don't pay the rent anymore, ya know, because in the last 7 years, I've gotten all of 1.7% cost of living raise, SO ....... If you ever need another cool fuckin person to work for you, just let me know! India
Comment By: India3 years ago 
You can’t really be having THAT much fun ........can you? DAMN. I wish I worked there!
Comment By: Tammie3 years ago 
you guys just got on my naughty,but nice list! very cold here in MN,do you guys make BlueQ hand warmerzzzzzzzzzzz... sorry,fell azzzzzleep dare din
Comment By: santa3 years ago 
Love this site, the blog, the WRITING is super awesome, the photos and especially the products. Will be doing all my Christmas shopping here now that I've discovered this place.
Comment By: Reese3 years ago 
Great products great staff awesome lampshades! I think you all are going to receive a ton of resumes this week!
Comment By: Elisa3 years ago 
new category: party planning. Ours was snowed out and has been replanned for January. I think you need to come and help us out! After all ASHEVILLE was just named top city in the WORLD by Forbes (the only US city to make the list)..
Comment By: Susan3 years ago 
I’d be green with envy, but I’ve just spent most of the last 10 days partying at monumental Todd Rundgren shows! Be well, live peace, respect all beings, and have a sparkling New Year, y’all!
Comment By: Meg3 years ago 
So ... Just where is this magical place? I too want to "work" there.
Comment By: Laura3 years ago 
I SO want to be you all when I grow up except I doubt I will but I still want to be you. Y'all keep the light lit. Never not be wacky ... you are BIG medicine and I for one am imbibing your elixir til I am utterly smashed. Viva this kinda weirdness! Love and happy new year from your eternal fan and fellow family, Debra
Comment By: Debra3 years ago 
Do you have an open RN position? email me please if you need someone certified in CPR and basic life saving skills...dream job!!!!!!!!!
Comment By: Donna3 years ago 
Fuckin awesome!!!!! I WANNA WORK THERE!
Comment By: Debbie3 years ago 

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