Monday, November 13, 2006

Come on in, we're OPEN

Ahhh, the wonderful ritual of a Sunday. Get out of bed, make a large batch of fluffy pancakes and smother them in maple syrup (the real stuff, not the Aunt Jemima crap), take a long hot shower and dress in my Sunday finest. Then it's off to meet the rest of the devotees in the congregation.... at Costco.
Yes, some folk go to church on Sundays; I take my kids (in matching outfits) to retail heaven. It's our ritual and we love it.
Costco opens at 10am sharp and if you're not there on time, (with the goal of getting in and out in an hour) it becomes so swamped with the after-church crowd that heaven turns quickly into hell. One time I overslept and didn't make it to Costco until 11:30. I could barely move my cart, the free-sample ladies couldn't keep up with the demand so I had to forego the ethereal pleasure of tasting the feta & spinach sausage AND the freshly baked short breads, then I was faced with the 25 minute pergatory of a check-out line, with my two and six year old boys (which is its own special form of hell).
So yesterday, with my visiting in-laws in tow, (I had been urging them to get dressed since 9am lest we arrive late and miss the sermon, *ahem*, samples), I made the weekly jaunt with mile long shopping list and applicable coupons. Headed straight to the office supply aisle for batteries (48 Kirkland double A's only $16.00!!!) and noticed an item that caught my eye; an 'OPEN' sign. It was beautiful. The letters were in bright red neon, encircled in a vibrant electric blue oval. I wanted it. I wanted it bad.
I couldn't believe that just anybody, ANYBODY, could waltz in a buy an OPEN sign. Would I have to prove I was a business owner to the check-out clerk? Would the manager come and question my intentions? "What will you do with it?" he/she would ask with furrowed brow. "An OPEN sign bears a significant amount of responsibility. You must turn it on only when you're open and remember to turn it off when you're closed. Do you understand? You mustn't mislead the public with such a powerful device. It's not fair to the general population to advertise OPEN when you are indeed CLOSED."
But alas, I'm not a business owner. Would it cause any harm if I just put it in my living room window and turned it on occassionally? Would people stop their cars and knock on my front door? Would I be obliged to keep my door unlocked?
I could offer tea. I could just listen to people's problems. I could present them with a bill. I could let them browse my eclectic collection of paperbacks. Would it offend them if I first made them take off their shoes?
I'm going to mull this over a bit -- before next Sunday when I'll be forced to look at the enticing OPEN sign once more. Maybe I should call Andy Rooney. He's good with stuff like this.

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