A “Big Lebowski” promotion at Green Top Grocery was meant to make customers smile and maybe buy some milk. Instead, it’s gone viral and spawned two spinoff events this weekend.
The staff at the Bloomington grocery store cooperative recently put up a sticker on the milk cooler: “10% Off Milk When You Shop In Your Bathrobe.” It’s a nod to “The Big Lebowski” and lead character Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, who had an affinity for White Russians (made with cream). In the cult classic's opening scene the robe-clad Dude shops for half-and-half at a Ralph’s grocery store.
One of Green Top's farmers, Jeff Hake from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains, posted a photo of the sticker on Facebook. The image has since gone viral online, popping up on Lebowski fan pages and making the coveted front page on Reddit.
And yes, it’s a real promotion. The store has had “quite a few people” show up in their bathrobes to get the discount, said Michael Talley, marketing coordinator at Green Top Grocery.
“We had one woman who drove an hour to come and buy milk in her bathrobe. And she doesn’t even drink milk. She just wanted to be part of it,” Talley said.
One guy even sent in a photo of himself trying to buy milk in his bathrobe at his local grocery store—in Italy. (They did not honor the discount.)
After the big response to the promotion, Green Top Grocery is hosting a Dude Abides Robe Contest this weekend. Shoppers are encouraged to post photos of themselves (in robes, at the store), and the public will vote for a winner who will get a $50 gift card and a bag of Green Top goodies.
Green Top is also co-sponsoring a Dude Abides Road Party on Saturday at Fat Jack’s. White Russians (of course) will be $3.50.
The promotion may be silly, but the thinking behind it is very real, said Talley. Ever since new general manager Christa Kramer arrived in 2018, Talley said the store has increased sales, owners, and the number of local farmers it works with. Most importantly, he said, prices have decreased.
“I think people have the opinion that we’re this fancy grocery store,” Talley said. “But we’re really just a community-owned coop who wants to provide good, healthy food to our community, whether you’re wearing a bathrobe or a suit.”
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