My experience being the selected inventor in the HSN/The Guilt Trip Live Product Search
“THE CALL,” as I now often refer to it, was one of the most exciting, amazing experiences of my life and a one I will never forget. Since the date for the HSN Florida trip was fast approaching, my husband, Craig, and I knew that a decision was due any day; so every time the phone rang my heart would skip a beat and I’d hold my breath thinking “this could be it!” I’d break my neck to pick up the phone quickly only to find that it was usually one of my friends or family members calling to see if I’d heard anything.
After days of false alarms, the phone rang, and this time I finally heard Scott Dromms’ voice on the other end. I yelled “THIS IS IT!” to my husband, who quickly rushed to my side. Scott began, “HSN and Nora Dunn have made their decision and I’m calling to tell you the results [short pause], unfortunately…” and then he paused again for what was only a moment, but felt like an eternity. During that eternal moment, the word “unfortunately” registered and when I looked up into my husband’s eyes, I could tell “unfortunately” had registered with him, too. Then Scott continued, “unfortunately… you’re going to have to go to Florida on Sunday!” I think I screamed. I looked back into my husband’s eyes and what I saw was pride, relief, devotion, love and again relief… and then he said quietly, almost silently, “You did it!” And I said just as quietly, “No – WE did it!”
After we hung up the phone, I looked at my husband and said, “Now the other five finalists are about to get the call that we had been dreading.” With this in mind, the other five finalists were never far from my thoughts throughout this journey.
Next came the hardest challenge of the entire adventure – no, not the whirlwind trip to Florida (although my husband later calculated that I was away from home for 30 hours and in that time I only got about 3 hours of sleep!) – the hardest part was that I couldn’t tell a soul that I’d been selected, not even my mother! I wanted to stop strangers in the street and tell them this wonderful news, but I was sworn to secrecy!
Over the next few days, I prepared for the trip and my to-do list was as follows:
- Keep the secret! Don’t respond to emails, texts or phone calls! Let Craig run interference for me (check)
- Get hair cut and colored and go shopping for a new outfit (check)
- Get nails done… (oops, I forgot – I’ll do them in the morning before I leave for the airport)
- Lose 60 pounds by Sunday… (oops, I shouldn’t have eaten those potato chips!)
- Do phone interview that HSN set up with the Sacramento Bee (check)
- Lose 40 pounds by Sunday….Ummmm… are those salt and vinegar chips?
- Lose 20 pounds… by Sunday… I wonder if we have any more chips?
- Pack for a one day trip and don’t forget THE FROSTINGO! (check)
- Set alarm for 3 am and do nails in the morning
- Hit the snooze bar every nine minutes until 4 am… (Forget the nails; I’ll do them in the green room!)
When my flight arrived in St. Petersburg, Florida, a driver picked me up at the airport in a beautiful black Lincoln Town Car with tinted windows. He was holding a sign with my name on it and I felt like a celebrity!
HSN had a detailed itinerary for me and instructed the driver to take me to my hotel where I could relax for an hour and a half. The room was gorgeous; I was on the sixth floor of the Hilton Carillon Park. I sat on the balcony overlooking a beautiful man-made lake, and directly across the lake from my room was a beautiful bell tower.
At the appointed time the car arrived to pick me up again and took me to the HSN studios. I was very nervous – but it wasn’t about being on national TV – I was on American Inventor in 2007, so I already knew about the pressure of the cameras and lights. What I WAS nervous about and the foremost thing on my mind was that I had to do my best to represent Edison Nation, the other five finalists, and all of the other EN members. I knew that so many of my fellow inventors would have given anything for the opportunity that I was given and it was important to me that I keep that in my heart throughout the entire journey. I also wanted to represent for Edison Nation so much because I know I could NEVER have done it without them and I thank my lucky stars every day that I finally found them.
As I headed off to HSN Headquarters I kept telling myself “represent, represent, represent.” There was also one more thing I kept reminding myself of: to tug on my earlobe! For those of you who didn’t follow the “HSN/The Guilt Trip” topic in the Edison Nation Forums, I had promised that if I was the selected inventor that I’d tug on my earlobe, ala Carol Burnett’s famous ear tug at the end of her show each week to say ‘I love you’ to her grandmother. This was going to be my secret signal to all of my EN friends that I was thinking of them.
See what happens when I arrive at HSN HQ in Part 2 of my story!