As the popular local ad says, skydiving without a parachute is a once in a lifetime experience. You may be surprised to know that is one of the very few choices that can’t be reversed here in Canada.
For example, Monday was the NHL trade deadline. Before you start yawning, I have it on good authority that, at any given moment on deadline day, more than 300,000 people are watching on two TV networks, and heaps of people call in sick so they don’t miss any of the excitement. So what’s the big deal? Well, it goes like this. If one of the guys on your favourite hockey team skates a bit slow because he broke both his legs on the last fight, the head coach might decide to permanently trade him to another team. In theory, it means your team gets stronger, but it’s a bit of a bummer if you’re a fan who has just outlaid a hundred bucks for a team jersey with the guy’s name across the back.
This national pastime of swapping things isn’t limited to the sports field. Buy anything at all from Walmart. Don’t like it in two months time? No problem. They’ll take it back no questions asked. Starting to snow? Time to return that lawnmower I bought last spring.
Of course this great system does have its little glitches, like the time a rumour got around that the local hospital was allowing parents to exchange small children as long as they were under three and still had the original birth certificate – traffic was gridlocked for six blocks! And then there’s that guy in the coffee line. You know the one. He orders the super cheap special combo of the day, and then wants to swap the regular coffee for a decaf skim soy latte, “oh, can I also swap out the donut for a mega-burger and large fries?” “What? But the sign says it’s only a buck thirty!”
And then, there’s my own sad customer service story. I had promised Kirsty that I would repaint the main bathroom in her house. Apparently the teenage daughters of the previous owner had down the last job themselves, and they had thought that intense aquamarine would show off their eyes in the mirror. Anyways, I spent all yesterday filling, taping, brushing, rolling and doing those weird contortions you do to paint behind the various exposed bits of plumbing. The transformation was amazing, and made the past sixteen hours of hard slog all worthwhile. Kirsty’s reaction? “Ah, I thought that the wall colour was going to be a bit more, well, coloury.” My uncharitable mind was recalling that she had, in fact, picked these colours from about a zillion sample charts, but I knew what was coming next. “Can we maybe swap the wall colour for this one?” “Sure. No problem.”