Char jokes about dream store

Here’s a store I’m thinking of opening, it will be called Closed. There will be a big sign in the window, preferably neon, saying, “Closed.” And so when a customer tries the door and finds it unlocked and comes in and says, “I thought you were closed!” I can say, “Yes.”

My store will stock important signs such as “Trespassers will be Prosecuted” and “Do not Enter” and “Entry Forbidden By Order of the Management.” These will all be displayed prominently in the front window.

Inside my store I will stock lids of many sizes, lids for empty margarine containers, lids for Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and all other (TM) containers with lost or missing or broken, cracked lids you might have already thrown away. Do not chuck those valuable containers, glass jars, or gaping bowls: there will be lids for them at my place.

There will be bathtub plugs of all the usual shapes and sizes, and more besides. I can guarantee not only that you will find the bath stopper to fit, but to suit your decor: there will be beige tub stoppers, of course, but also blue, green, and blue-green. I cannot guarantee that the blue-green tub-stopper I carry will be the exact teal or aqua you need, mine may be too blue or too green, but I can say for certain there will be a selection of all sizes in at least one blue-green.

If you have an old-fashioned kitchen sink where no new modern metal stopper will fit, I can assure you I will have those round rubbery flat one-size-fits-all sink-stoppers, and they will be available in all thicknesses and strengths.

I wish to spare my customers the experience I had one time in Halifax where I entered a Shoppers Zel-Mart and found only one young man to ask a question, and we were in the feminine-baby-hygiene aisle. Before I could complete my query regarding round rubbery things, he had fled, red-faced, to refer me to a manager, or possibly to a female or a baby.

There will, of course, be felt-pen caps of various widths and depths, from thick-marker to fine-point, mainly in black. I will also endeavour to carry all the prime colours, as well as the modern hues of Brights, Neon, Pastel and Other.

I may not have in stock all the felt-tip-pen-cap shades that are “in” this school year, who knows what they will come up with. Scented, for example, or Totally Unscented, or Looming Federal Election, or Global Warming. I can tell you I will endeavour to keep up with all the trends.

I will be buying your used and useless eco-water-bottle-lid or cap, if your bottle is long gone but the remaining cap is still good. I am, at the same time, trying to find a supplier for eco-bottle caps: this will take time, as I know it is not bloody likely that one size will fit all. In addition, your choice of colours and patterns are important to me, and to my well-trained, reliable and friendly staff.

There will be wine bottle stoppers for those who do not enjoy wine after it tastes like refrigerator vegetables the next day, and they will be available for all interests and hobbies. Do you need a wine stopper shaped like a moose, for the moose-hunter in your life? I will have it. A garden elf? Got it. A wine-stopper in the shape of the head of a truffle-sniffing wild boar? No problem: white truffle or black? The variety is astounding, or will be. Guaranteed.

Did you know, it is bad to boil water lidless, it takes more carbon, whether wood-pellet-fired, propane or nuclear? Always have a lid when boiling pasta, spuds, or any steamed veg. I can help you with this as well, as we are all ‘green’ at Closed. “Put a Lid on It” might be our catch-phrase, our slogan, our logo, our raison d’etre, our mission and our mutual community goal.

I’ll tell you now, and will remind you again when you come in, that you may want to cross the street to my other store if you need a container. If you, as a valued customer, find the lids and caps you need, but want a matching vessel as well, I will have to say, “Go to our sister store, for pots or bowls or jars or bottles.”

That store will be called “What?” so that I – and my helpful, congenial staff – can answer the phone just like that.

This column originally ran in the September 3, 2008 issue of the Terrace Standard.