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Chuckie Finn

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Scented Candles and Sugar Cookies
By Chuckie Finn
Sunday, December 19, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Where's that detective Columbo when you need him?

The fresh sweet aroma of vanilla candles and freshly baked pumpkin pie and you’ll realize the holiday season is here once again. Treacherous road conditions, the consequences from erroneous weather forecasts and over extended credit card notices are the preludes to the laughter of family gatherings. It is also a time where many of us involved in the theater volunteer our efforts to decorate the arena in order to make patrons and performers alike feel welcome.

Lobby entrances were draped with colorful garland and lighted display ornaments were strategically placed around the stage. As tradition would have it, each of us selected a name at random and we would purchase a small gift for that particular person. However, this year the stagehands enthusiastically agreed to pool their dollars and buy George, our foreman, a new microwave oven. I volunteered my services to research the department stores for the best deal available.

With so many brand names and models of the appliance to choose from, I enlisted the services of my wife to assist in shopping. After some consultation and perusing the sales flyers, I selected a suitable one in our price range at one of the more popular chain stores.

Brenda, one of our staff associates beautifully gift wrapped the sealed box and attached a colorful ribbon and red bow. She placed the gift under the quite antiquated 1962 Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil tree with a festive holiday card with George’s name until the big day.

“Hurry up and open your big present, George. Chuck picked it out special just for you!” Brenda shouted from the audience of stagehands. “He said you are worth every penny of it,” she added with a hearty laugh.

George took center stage and was nearly brought to emotional tears as he was handed the large beautifully wrapped Christmas present. Smiles abound and our prompting to open his gift increased at his procrastination while he thanked each of us for our thoughtfulness. George took his pen knife and cut through the clear seal taped box and removed the contents. As he raised the microwave oven to show us, our generous smiles washed from our shocked faces like melting slush down a catch basin.

“Is this another one of your practical jokes, Chuck?” George shouted. “This is somebody’s old beat up used microwave oven! The only thing holding the door on is silver duct tape!”

Angry eyes of the stagehands trained on me for some sort of explanation. Everyone had good reason, for they had all contributed their hard earned money for a brand NEW microwave. However, I was as stunned as the rest of my co-workers. It appeared someone had previously purchased the item, removed it from the original box, and then substituted their old one before returning the item to the store for a refund! For reasons unknown, the store personnel just placed the item back on the shelf for resale without opening it and checking the contents.

I was embarrassed to say the least and returned to the store where I had purchased the oven. After pleading my case with customer service representatives, the management of the store, then signing several documents, much to their scoffing laughter, they reluctantly provided me with a NEW microwave. Thank goodness the holiday season is over. Next year I think I’ll just volunteer to bake the sugar cookies.

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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/19/2004
excellent write, chuckie! well done!

merry christmas to you and yours! happy new year too!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in tx., karen lynn. :D
Reviewed by Tami Ryan 12/19/2004
OMG. As an eighteen-year retail veteran, I've experienced some instances of retail theft such as this, but never this grandiose. How embarrasing! Um, but it did provide a humorous story for sharing - and, certainly, a memory you'll never forget.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Reviewed by Cynthia Borris 12/19/2004

Horrors! This is MORE common that a joke. My son works management in a large retailer and people exchange higher price products for lower ones - right there in the store - and return like yours: used junk.

I better go unwrap and rewrap my holiday presents. I don't want to be called Chuck on Christmas morning! Happy Holidays!


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