Sunday, June 12, 2011


Walter walked through the front door of Spears Department Store and made his way to the sports department.

Once there, he found his way to the bicycle section of that same department. He came upon a lady standing behind a counter . She appeared to be busily thumbing through a stack of papers piled on the counter in front of her.

“Ummm, excuse me.”-Walter spoke quietly he didn’t want to be too obtrusive.
There was no reaction from the be-speckled lady. She continued to search through the stack of papers. Walter- upon closer inspection, could see that the stack of papers appeared to be invoices of some description.

“Pardon Me.”- trying again. “Ma’am?”- he spoke a bit louder.

“First of all...”- the lady said, startling Walter just a bit. “You must see that I am busy- don’t you?”

“Well...”- Walter stumbled just a bit, “Yes. Yes. Of course, I can see that but Ma’am I just have a quick question.”

“Young Man I am not a Ma’am I happen to be a Ms. and I am proud of it.”

“Oh, Gee. I am sorry I didn’t mean to...”

“Of course you didn’t but you did didn’t you?”

Walter was quiet. He had no idea what to say to the lady…Uh...Ms.
Then, he smiled sweetly at her and said-
“Oh gosh, I am sorry. I can see you are quite busy and I should have just stood here and waited quietly until you were able to help me. I am an idiot.”

“Oh, never mind that now. You’ve disturbed me already and as for being an idiot it is the policy of Spears Department Store to never judge our customers.”

“I am very glad of that indeed.”- said Walter.

“Young Man. I am Ms. Carnegie, your Spears Department Store co-department Supervisor for Sports. It says that right here on my name tag.” She pointed to the tag.

Walter looked at her name tag. Sure enough. That’s what it said.

Ms. Carnegie began again- “How can I help you then, sir?”

“Oh. It’s my turn?”

Ms. Carnegie nodded.

Now that it was Walter’s turn, he was a little shell-shocked and it took him a second or two to say what he had come to say. He continued after a deep breath.
“Well, Ms. Carnegie”- he emphasized the ‘Ms.’ part. “You see, I bought a bicycle at your store a few days ago and I was just wondering, shouldn't a bicycle have a wheel or two?”

Ms.Carnegie stared for a moment. Walter felt a little uncomfortable.
“Young man did your bicycle come with wheels? In the box I mean.”

“Well,, actually, when I took the bicycle out of the box once I got home, I would have to say that quite precisely and without prior cause, I did not see one tire in the box. I would like to add- at this point, that I didn’t see two tires in the box. Ms. Carnegie, I have a bicycle without not one- but two tires!”

Walter waited for her answer.
Ms. Carnegie stared blankly over her glasses for a moment or two. She checked her nails and sucked in her breath once or twice. Then she looked Walter square in the eye and sputtered-
“Young man, perhaps your bicycle wasn’t supposed to have tires in the first place!”

“Ms.” Walter stopped. He thought for a moment. How he would continue?
He eventually did continue.
“Ms. Carnegie, how can I possibly ride a bicycle without one tire, let alone two?”

“I dunno,”- says Ms. Carnegie, “Have you tried?”


“Yes tried.”

“You’re asking me if I have tried to ride my bicycle that came in a box from Spears Department Store- without wheels?”

“Yes.” She paused. “So have you?”

“To answer truthfully. No. I did not try to ride my bicycle without tires. I mean why would I even try?”

“Well…” Ms. Carnegie seemed to be grabbing at straws. “If that is the way your bicycle came right out of the box, perhaps that is how it was meant to be ridden. Honestly young Man, how can you stand there in front of me and try to tell me that something is wrong with your bicycle when you continue to tell me that you haven’t even tried to ride your bike in a box- without tires.”

“But Ms. Carnegie. It’s impossible to do what you ask. How would I move along the street without wheels?”

“I don’t know, Sir. Honestly maybe you should just read the instructions.”

“Maybe I should just bring that bike back to the store in its box and get my money back!”

Walter was becoming a bit perturbed!

“Well Sir, if that’s what you feel you would like to do, Spears Department Store would be more than happy to comply with your request- no matter how unreasonable it may be.”

“Okay. Now that’s what I wanted to hear. However, maybe I could exchange the bicycle I have in that box at home- the one lacking wheels, exchanging it for one of those bicycles over there…”  Walter pointed to a row of bikes standing against the wall. “… that actually have wheels!”

“Yes Sir but let’s not put the cart before the horse as it were…”

“Walter smirked- “Would that be the cart with wheels?”

“Amusing Sir. Quite amusing. Yes that would be the cart with the wheels.”

“Great!” Walter was smiling now.
“I’ll go home. Get the box- with the bike, bring my bill and the box to the store and get another bike. Right?”

“It’s that easy young man!” Ms. Carnegie seemed happy to have solved the problem for the young man.

“Thank you for your time Ms. Carnegie and have a good day.”

“It can only get better from this point on.” Ms. Carnegie returned to her pile of papers.
Walter spun on his heels and headed for the front door of Spears Department Store confident in the knowledge that he could return the wheel-less bike and choose a new one.

He was satisfied to say the least!