“Who was that?” Dan asked looking at her and then the other staff.
“Jeremy Moxham.” one of them said.
“Yes, I know that from his credit card. But who is that?”
He cell phone rang. It was from an unknown caller. He answered.
“Dan, I just wanted to thank you for treating us like normal, annoying customers.”
“My pleasure, Mr. Moxham.” He recognized the voice.
“I also wanted to make sure you’d given me the right cell number too, for that private tutoring. Bye for now.”
“Just say when. Bye.”
“Jeremy Moxham, happens to be one of the richest men, non-oil, non-tech, in the world.” Linda explained.
“I see. That explains why he only asked what the price included.”
“Little brother, he could probably afford to buy Lyphend. You should have pushed the custom model in the window.”
“The Newsman is the same price. You know …” He almost said I think Jeremy was flirting with me. “I’ve had quite a week. I think I’ll head for home.”
“I can get Hamid to drive you. A bike in this traffic isn’t going to be easy going.”
“Thanks I’ll take you up on that. That is if you don’t mind, Hamid?”
“Not at all sir. It would be my pleasure.” They went through the back of the store to the car. “You were amazing, sir. You could have sold him anything.” Hamid started the car.
“Thanks Hamid. I guess it pays not to know what’s going on the big world.”
“You have a busy life. That is good, to be too busy to not know what is going on. You must relish the opportunity to take a vacation.”
“I can’t remember the last time I really had a vacation Hamid. I guess it was when I visited India with Sanjay to see his family in Mumbai.”
“Ah, ha.” Hamid shook his head laughing. “I bet that was not the relaxing sort of vacation.”
“You got that right. I’d met his parents here a few years earlier. They’d didn’t quite grasp that Sanjay and I were a couple. They just thought it was great two bachelors were sharing expenses.”
“I know that too well. Did they introduce you to lots of cousins?”
“Oh yeah. Half our time in Mumbai was spent dining with various family friends who had marriageable daughters.”
“You see how everyone wants a Canadian husband. Even one who is not so perfect.”
“Not so perfect?”
“I mean … gay. Rest assured I’m am sure they know what is going on between the two of you but they live in hope. They do not see why you cannot be one thing in public and quite another not in public.”
The next morning there was already a line up in front the James Family Photography Depot when Dan let himself in through the back door at nine a.m. He’d forgotten that this was the weekend of their semi-annual ‘trade in and up sale.’ Customers could bring in old cameras, dvd players, and trade them in for up to a whopping 20% off on any similar item.
The old equipment had to be working order and the bulk of it ended up donated to Goodwill in return for a tax receipt for charitable donations. The company always made money of these sales. The public was none the wiser about the tax break they were creating for the Depot.
“Looks like we’ll have a busy Saturday.” He said to Ushio who had also come in the back way.
“Yes!” Ushio grinned. “No time to fix things today.”
“Not even time to fix a sandwich.”
“You have broken a sandwich?” Ushio scratched his head.
“Sorry. One of those expressions that doesn’t translate well I guess.”
When Sandy arrived they opened the shop twenty minutes earlier than usual to deal with the crowd. While the first dozen were being dealt with Dan went outside to look over what the others had to weed out things that weren’t what they were accepting for trade in. VCR’s were no longer wanted and even though the promo flyers made that clear people still brought them in. Unless it was a VHS to DVD converter and even then that market was disappearing.
The size of the discount depended on the age, condition and serviceability of what was brought in. Often brands even Sandy had never heard of would show up.
The morning went by quickly. Dan was happy to see more stock leaving than was brought in. People spent more when they felt they were getting a real deal. If they were hesitant, the customer would be offered a discount on the whole purchase, not just the equivalent item.
“I’ll do a run to Classic.” Dan said. “You two can hold the fort.”
“Okay Boss man,” Sandy said. As he was leaving she announced. “There’ll be an addition 5% off all purchases over two hundred bucks while the boss is out of the store and can’t stop us.”
Dan was happy so see some of his customers at tables in the Cafe.
“You should have reminded me the sale was this weekend.” Jill said as she put bagels for him and his staff into the toaster.
“How could you forget.” He pointed to the pile of flyers by her front door. Looking out the front window he saw that the windows in one of the bottom retail stores of the office complex across the street had been covered – floor to ceiling – with brown paper. The paper was covered with the EconoCuppa logo – a hand holding a coffee cup up to the sun so the sun rays radiated around it. “Opening Soon” a sign on the front door announced.
“That was up this morning when I arrived.” Jill said from behind him.
“That was the Happiness Nail Salon when I left here Thursday.”
“It was Happiness when I locked up here last night, too. I guess they weren’t so happy to get nailed so quickly.” Jill handed him a bag with the bagels and a tray with four coffee’s. “The extra is for Sandy.”
Most days Sandy drank two to one for the him or Ushio.
“I didn’t know about this.” Dan nodded at the store across the street.
“Don’t sweat it. At least it proves they aren’t taking over here. Besides we bake fresh on the premises. They reheat only.”
“Then we’ll add that to your sign asap. Fresh baked daily. How about a vent that blows the smell of fresh baking out into the street?”
“How about getting those to your store before they cool off much more.” Jill nudged him toward the door and held it open for him. “Drop by this afternoon if you have chance, for the book launch.”
“Poetry or prose?”
“Actually I think it’s one of each.”
One if the ways Classic had made itself felt in the area was to host frequent literary events along with two weekly ‘spoken-word’ shows. One was a slam, which as far as Dan could tell, was poetry spoken faster than usual; the other was lower key delivery. The cafe often featured photo exhibits which sometimes lead to a bigger show for the photographer at Silver Gallery.
He and Jill had discussed the possibility of adding a book store to her second floor performance space but between them they decided it was better to stick to what she knew best. Books meant stock, storage space, extra staff. He did share the cost of making the second floor fully accessible.
When he got back to the Depot the line up was gone. There were still several customers in the store but no one was waiting to have their trade-in’s looked over. This spring sale wasn’t as busy as the Pre-Christmas one.
“Anything interesting come in?” He asked Ushio.
“A steam powered VCR.” Ushio answered.
“Not another one.” Dan trolled his eyes.
He remembered the year when the VCR was being faded out in favour of DVD. People couldn’t accept that their old machines were practically worthless and would ague at the low trade-in value they were being offered.
The same issue arose when the Depot stopped looking at Play Stations, Wii’s or any other gaming consoles. These were being so rapidly updated they no longer dealt in them at all.
When people arrived with them he sent them to Stationville a few blocks west of them. Stationville dealt in new and used gaming equipment.
There was the expected lull around one p.m. then a new influx of customers at one-thirty.
Dan was dealing with and older gentleman who wanted a camera with a display that had buttons and lettering large enough for his hands to cope with. This was something Dan had never thought of and was as dismayed as the man to find none of the digital cameras they carried fit that bill.
“Let me just check on line.” He went over to one of the computers. After quickly checking their online catalogue and finding nothing he typed in ‘camera with large font.’ To his surprise there was one in Lyphend’s Everyman collection.
“I’ll order one,” he said the the man. “If it suits you fine. If not, such is life, right. It’ll be here by Wednesday of next week.”
He knew it would probably be there Monday morning but wanted a day to familiarize himself with its functions.
“Thank you. The other places I went weren’t helpful at all.”
As the man was leaving Inspector Warszawa came in.
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