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Inauguration Day 2009: Retail Freebies, Sales, Discounts, Specials & Promotions

The Retail Industry Gets a Bailout From Inauguration Day Spending Frenzy


Inauguration Day is the new Black Friday in the U.S. After a devastating holiday shopping season, the U.S. retail industry is seizing the opportunity to cash in on Inauguration Day euphoria by creating an inaugural shopping frenzy with inaugural-themed sales, discounts, specials, and promotions. Just by showing up and taking an oath, Barack Obama will be giving the retail industry some of the bailout it has already requested.

This is a comprehensive list of freebies, sales, discounts, specials and promotions from the U.S. retail industry designed to help Americans celebrate Inaguration Day, January 20, 2009. Whether regional, local, national, or global, Inauguration Day 2009 specials are some of the most creative and carefree promotions that troubled consumers have seen in many months.

Agraria Restaurant
Georgetown, D.C.

The lucky get luckier on Inauguration Day at Agraria Restaurant in Georgetown. Those who flash their inauguration event ticket will get a complimentary glass of bubbly to toast the event. And to thaw event goers out, Agraria will also be serving a special chili made from President Obama's family recipe.


The e-commerce monolith is featuring products that are marginally related to the inauguration on its home page. (A Colonial Lady Wig? Persol James Bond 007 Sunglasses? A faux fur honey fox shoulder shawl? Are those supposed to be worn together?)

To its credit, Amazon did make a credible connection to the historic day with its specially created “Inauguration 2009 Bookstore.” This special niche page features the four books authored by the president-elect, Obama’s favorite books, and biographies of Obama’s White House predecessors. Amazon did the searching for its customers, and by gathering all the relevant titles together, demonstrated why it consistently gets such high customer satisfaction ratings. Of course, all those chosen patriotic books are discounted too.

Bakers Square

Partially in celebration of the inauguration and partially in celebration to National Pie Day on January 23rd, Bakers Square restaurants will give away a free slice of pie with any purchase beginning on Wednesday, January 21st. Reportedly you can receive a coupon for free pie by signing up for the free e-newsletter, although there is no mention of it on the company website.

The BalMar Restaurant

Those in the proximity of the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle can toast the new president with a specially priced Baraktail after 5 p.m. at the BalMar Restaurant. Customers are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item, and to wander upstairs for a lively game of inauguration-themed trivia.

Ben & Jerry's

The overtly political sellers of scrumptious scoops are continuing their long tradition of activism with their inaugural flavor, "Yes Pecan!" Ben and Jerry describe the historic treat as "amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans," and they've pledged to donate all the proceeds from its sale in January to the Common Cause Education Fund. To clearly demonstrate their commitment, which they so often do, Ben and Jerry also donated $1 for each of the 10,000 people who joined Common Cause or donated $1 to the charity from the Ben & Jerry's facebook page. Ben & Jerry are philanthropic capitalists that make the new president proud.

Berry Chill

For one day only, the new president is also a tasty treat called the "Berry Obama." Berry Chill restaurants will share their American spirit in the form of frozen yogurt with the best red, white and blue toppings: fresh pomegranate, coconut, and blueberries. Berry Chill will do its part to make Inauguration Day sweeter for Chicagolanders by giving away the special Berry Obamas for free.

Bliss Spa
New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, San Francisco

Bliss Spa is encouraging its customers to say “Good-bye to Bush” with a discount on its signature brazilian wax. (For those who don’t understand the reference, please consult a trusted female friend or family member.) A 20% discount is also available for waxing and post waxing products purchased on the bliss.com website when customers enter the coupon code “BUSH.” For many the removal of the current president won’t be nearly as painful as the removal of hair, but Bliss gets publicity bonus points for the creative connection.

California Tortilla

Customers who “dance, shake, or shimmy” on Inauguration Day will earn a free taco at any of the 40 California Tortilla locations. Your celebratory moves will also earn you coupons for free chips with purchase, and a buy-one-get-one-free entrée.

Duffy’s Sports Grill
19 Florida Locations

Duffy's Sports Grill restaurants will host inauguration parties, and presumably have all TVs tuned to the event. Customers who attend will receive a coupon for a 44% discount on an entrée that they can use on their next visit.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Select Locations

Not quite as generous as its Krispy Kreme competitor, Dunkin’ Donuts will sell its Stars & Stripes donut for 44 cents with the purchase of a medium coffee or hot chocolate. The promotion is reportedly only available in select locations, although there is no indication on its website about which locations will be participating.

George’s Garage & G Loft Lounge
Durham, NC

A free celebration sponsored by Durham for Obama and the Durham County Democratic Party will be staged at George’s Garage and next-door neighbor, G-Loft Lounge. The requested food donation for the event is in alignment with the name of the event, the “Yes We Cans Celebration.”

Harvard Book Store

The first 60 people who arrive at Harvard Boo Store for a live screening of the inauguration ceremony will receive a free glass of champagne or mimosa to toast the historic event in the stacks.

More Inauguration Day Freebies, Sales, Discounts, Specials and Promotions
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