After only three weeks of owning her nice, new black parka with the faux fur lined hood, little six year old (we’ll just call her six for short) puts it on one morning to find that the zipper is broken. Now, the day when Wire Monkey purchases said parka was a blustery, rainy day and the bags at the store are paper. The bag dissolves into paper maché and Wire Monkey stuffs it into a bin on the way to the bus. Alas for Wire Monkey, the receipt was in the bag…and so begins the terrible unfolding of events that will lead Wire Monkey to find out what she is really made of and that she will stop at nothing to ensure her daughter gets the coat she wants.
Act 1-Last Thursday- at home
After discovering that the coat’s zipper was indeed bust, Wire Monkey phones the store from the number she finds in the online yellow pages. This does not happen to be the store in question but the Montreal office. Thinking it was the actual store she bought it from (the address looked right) she proceeds to explain the zipper dilemna. The young little vixen at the other end tells her that it is not her problem and that she should just go to the store in question.Wire Monkey begins to protest loudly. The girl interrupts hurriedly, telling her that she can transfer WM’s call to the store.
A young man answers the phone and WM explains one again her dilemna. (Dubbed for an English audience)
WM- yes, hello? Yes. I bought a coat for my daughter at your store on November 26th (Wire Monkey being the good librarian looked it up in her bank statement) and the zipper has broken. Unfortunately, I cannot find the receipt. Can I still exchange it?
Nice young man- No, but if you bring the coat back to the store, we can send it to our tailor to repair it.
WM- Even without a receipt?
Nice young man- Yes! No problem!
Click. And here lies WM second mistake. She did not get the name of the nice young man but just trusted his information because, well, that is what she wanted to hear.
Act 2- Tuesday, December 18th- Down town Montreal -13:15
After braving the packed, stuffy metros and the throngs of Christmas shoppers scattered like spilled smarties on Sainte-Catherine, WM finally makes it to the store in question, parka in a plastic bag in her right hand.
Of course there is a line up. WM waits patiently as one woman buys a pair of pink knee high boots that would be the envy of any girl from the age of 4-10. Another woman is returning what looks like a mini tuxedo.
Finally it is her turn. She gets the coat out and explains the situation once again to the assistant manager.
AM- I’m afraid there is nothing we can do without the receipt.
WM-But the guy on the phone told me I didn’t need one!
AM-Do you know who you talked to?
AM-Well, perhaps you could come back when the manager is in- because there is nothing I can do…
At this point, WM decides it is time to put into action the lesson her dear sister has taught her: if you make a scene, you are more likely to get the results you desire. I know, I know, it is contrary to everything we have been taught as children, as well as being the opposite of WM’s nature (not that she doesn’t make a fuss-but usually it is never in public and never with sales people.) But these are desperate times with desperately unhelpful people, so WM sucks it up and prepares for the performance of a life time.
WM (taking a deep breath and letting the panic rise in her voice)- So there is nothing you can do? It was really hard for me to get down here- I don’t live or work near here and this is my lunch break and it is almost over and this is my kid’s winter coat…and it was really expensive and I … (by this time WM eyes are moist around the edges with the sheer dramatic force of her performance)
AM- Just wait a minute
And she leaves to go rummage at the rack of parkas. She comes back, bringing the exact same model with her .
AM- Here. We’ll just exchange it.
WM(all sweetness and grace)- That is very kind of you. Thank you very much.
WM waits her turn to exchange the coat at the cash register, as a man in an expensive suit who has obviously just witnessed this interaction, proceeds to pay for what looks like two new wardrobes for his children. Slightly ashamed and slightly awed by the amounnt of money the man was spending on children’s clothing, WM waited in line, trying not to catch anyone’s eye. She exchanges the coat and then hurries back onto the busy street slaloming her way back to the metro and back to work, new parka in tow.