Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A True Story From One Of My Jobs

Hey, kids, it's time for a True Story From One Of My Jobs!

For this one we go back to the days when I worked in a comic shop. My shop was the only one in our city; the next nearest ones were in Moncton, a larger city a couple of hours drive away (that matters for purposes of this story).

On this particular day, a boy, age in the very low double digits, was in the shop. His mom was there as well, waiting patiently while he browsed. Nothing unusual about that, but things took a bit of an odd turn after he selected what he wanted (the Bone Volume 1: Out From Boneville trade paperback - an excellent choice). Mom brought it over to the counter, and things got weird.

She said, "We're going to take this - he'll pay for it next time he's in." Not a question, but a statement.

I told Mom, being as meek and polite as I could, that that would not be a workable arrangement.

She began protesting. "But you know him! He's in here all the time!"

First up, in the words of my favourite line ever from Newsradio, "Even if what you're saying is true, then I still don't care." Even my regulars didn't take merchandise home without paying for it. I kept that thought to myself, though, and went to the second thought that occurred to me.

"I do recognize him. I think he's been in here a couple of times before, but I don't even know his name."

"But he's in here all the time!"

My store was small, and pretty much a one-man show in those days. If he had been in more than a couple of times, I would have known him. He hadn't, and I didn't. I apologized to Mom for the inconvenience (How Canadian is that? She apparently doesn't get the "store" concept, and I'm the one apologizing), but stood firm.

She got huffy. She stomped over to the shelf where the book had been, put it back, and said loudly to her son, "Come on, let's go! We're going to Moncton next week, and we'll get it there!"

I couldn't resist. As she stormed for the door in self-righteous indignation, her son sheepishly following, I said, "Ma'am? None of the stores there will let you take it without paying either."

The boy was in several more times over the following months. He picked up an occasional comic here and there, but never became a real regular. I never saw Mom again.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of fingertips.

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