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My last customer the other night has been a regular irregular for twenty-five years. He was a boisterous teen who we ejected from the pool hall every day for being a punk and behaving like one. He was not a dumb Kid, just too full of himself and wanting recognition any which way he could get it. Flash forward a few years and his attitude landed him in provincial jail after a deadly bar fight. He served his time and emerged no worse for wear – older but still the smart ass punk Kid teetering on the edge. Our society gives everyone the opportunity to excel and to destroy themselves and this Kid tried every way to become the archetypical loser.
The Kid who came in last night was very different from the Kid I have known for a quarter century. He talked about his two-year old son and what he wanted him to become. He talked about how life was about family and doing the right thing and he also talked about stress and managing the issues. He took me over to the window to show me his method of conveyance. I expected to see some muscle car or decrepit vehicle. Instead it was an E-Bike with a kazoo-like helmet sitting on the seat. He went on about saving on insurance and the environment I was genuinely floored by the metamorphosis in this Kid. He was acting adult-like – a truly strange phenomenon for one in the morning.
As the old adage goes if it sounds to good to be true it probably is. The Kid reached into his pocket to retrieve his wallet and came out empty. He claimed to have lost his wallet out of his pocket while riding the E-Bike to the pool hall. He lamented the loss of his baby’s newly issued health card and how his own father was going to tear him a new one for being and idiot. He left owing me for two pints and the ten bucks I loaned him for dinner. Has he changed? Certainly a little but at the heart he is still the Kid.
A few days back another great acquaintance and genuinely fine person phoned me up and said he a had a great deal – a surround sound system with a screen and digital projector. Bells started going off but I chose to ignore them. I said I would look at it and he rushed right over in the cab of his semi. I went down to the parking lot with him and he opened up the truck’s door and I hauled myself up into the cab to take a look. There it was, a complete system in three shiny boxes with lots of printing extolling power, wattage, and superior sound and video quality. The brand names were unknown to me and so I knew the gig was up.
I inquired as to the origin of the boxes and my buddy assured me they were not stolen and that he was splitting the profit with another person. We returned to the bar where I quickly googled the name brands of the equipment and confirmed my suspicions. My energetic friend had been taken. He had genuine electronic waste in his box all neatly boxed and labelled. He was heartbroken and told me he was not out any money but I suspect he got taken. Buyer beware. If it sounds to good to be true it is.
My friend left dejected but had learned a lesson. Short cuts can sometimes lead to precipitous pathways. It will be a long time before he trusts a “good deal”.