“The Office” Experience

Ava Pollock, Staff Writer

The image of Dwight Schrute from “The Office Experience” that attendees will see before they leave. (Photo by Ava Pollock)

It was 11 am on a cold Saturday morning in Chicago. My family and I sought warmth in the building where this experience was going to be held after briefly popping into a nearby store.

Prior to this day, my mother had scheduled us to go to “The Office Experience”. Coincidentally, it was the last weekend “The Office Experience” would ever be held. One might even call it a stroke of luck that my parents scheduled us on the day that they did to experience it.

I should say this now- I don’t watch “The Office”. I was going into this event completely and totally clueless about the lore and story of the show.

On the first floor, you would see the gift shop. Walking into the gift shop gave off the vibes of walking into a warehouse. There were Dunder Mifflin paper stacks in place of normal shelves and a toppled over crane as a display. Looking over by the escalator where the second floor was, there was a collage of pictures of several scenes where an iconic quote, said throughout the show, “That’s what she said”, was written.

My family and I spent a little bit of time in the gift shop while waiting for our designated time to arrive – 11 am. Once it was close to that time, we made the journey up the escalator and towards the photo op where you can get your picture taken for your personal Dunder Mifflin Inc. lanyard.

There was a long line that navigated to another photo opportunity by Scranton, Pennsylvania’s Welcome Sign. To those of you like me who don’t watch “The Office”, that’s where the show takes place. Once people got the pictures they wanted, we waited in front of a room for the experience to begin.

The tour guide welcomed us inside to a dark room and instructed us to socially distance ourselves. Once our little group did, we were greeted with a welcome video instructing us on the proper etiquette.

Once it was done, the experience began. We were instructed to slowly walk down the aisle and look at all of the props. To start, there was the car owned by the character Dwight Schrute parked in a faux carpet parking lot with hedges on the side. Once my family and I took some pictures, one with my little sister by it, we slowly headed towards the next room.

The next room had a dark blue wall with different motivation posters on it featuring a quote from the character. For instance, the one with the character Jim Halpert on it said ‘Innovation.’ Below it, it said, ‘“I am about to do something very bold in this job that I’ve never done before: try.’ – Jim Halpert.” Next to it was the character Michael Scott’s poster, which said ‘Communication’ and then “‘I understand nothing.’ – Michael Scott.”

The next room was quite big in size, with murals on the walls of each and every ‘The Office’ character. There was a section that featured their name, their job experiences, their noteworthy quotes, and their skills and facts. Around each character’s mural section, there were pictures and their Dunder Miffilin ID card. There were little fun facts about the character on “post-it notes”.

At the center of the room are the costumes of Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, and Pam Beesly. It featured their own job experiences, noteworthy quotes, and skills and facts. There is a case on the side of the room with every award the characters have ever received, as well as the iconic stapler within the jello.

The next room was what I would consider the main course of the experience. This particular room is an exact replica of the main office. People would be able to look at and interact with the various desks, as well as take pictures in various locations such as Michael’s office, Dwight’s office, the front desk, and the conference room. There were other props such as the vending machines and the ‘Finer Things Club’ table.

The room after that had iconic scenes from the show such as the lava walking scene and when the character Kevin Malone spills chili. The pot is hovered midair with the fake chili, which enables guests to take pictures with it.

After that room, the guests would then walk into the Schrute Farms room where guests can see a fake beet stand, the Schrute family rules, and the main building. The next room after that had a giant “The Office” crossword with references from the show. The crossword was answered, so guests couldn’t interact with that.

In one room, the story of Jim and Pam’s romance was displayed on the wall. In the next room after, guests would be able to dance down the wedding aisle where Jim and Pam had their wedding.

After that, the experience had come to an end. My family and I head down to the gift shop to do some last-minute merchandise shopping.

Even though as I said prior, I’m not a fan of “The Office”, I still found myself enjoying “The Office Experience”. Each and every part of it was immersive and fun to look at, and I found myself learning a lot more about “The Office” that day. For me, what makes an experience relating to a TV Show, movie, or video game worth going through is whether or not you have to be a fan of the series to fully enjoy it. Since I fully enjoyed “The Office Experience” without being a fan of “The Office” myself, it’s definitely an experience worth checking out.