Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s finding everything in the store just fine, thank you.’Tis the time of year when we’re all running around like the proverbial decapitated fowl – somehow “peace on earth” seems to disappear as quickly as parking spots at the retail stores that, if you’re like us, you’re raiding like a rabid pirate to finish up the holiday gift shopping.Fortunately, however, there are plenty of sales clerks to help us. And, oh, how helpful they are, aren’t they?Now we’ve been called a scrooge for taking such a hard line on this, so at the risk of sounding like a total curmudgeon, we’ll just come out with it: Shopping is not that complicated, retailers; we’ll come to you if we really need the help.We bring this up after an exciting experience at one of the factory stores: Shopping for a gift for a friend, we were asked, in the space of 10 minutes, three times by two different people, “Are you finding everything OK?”The store, mind you, couldn’t have been more than 25 feet by 25 feet. So each time we were asked, we had to look around, scanning the room carefully to make sure we were still in the same store as the last time the clerk interrupted our train of thought, and double-checking the floor and ceiling for trap doors.”Uh, do you hide stuff in here? Is this like an Easter egg hunt?”We didn’t really reply that way, of course. But we wanted to. Salespeople seem to ask the “are you finding everything OK” question as if they’ve hidden things – maybe the really good deals – so that people can’t find them. And we can’t imagine that we look any more dazed and confused than the rest of the shopping hordes, so they couldn’t have been just checking to see if we were still conscious or anything like that.The biggest offenders are the clothing stores. We love nothing better than to walk into a Gap or a Levi’s store, wait for a clerk to ask if we’re finding everything OK and then ask them, “Uh, yeah, do you guys have jeans in here? We can’t seem to find any.”We understand when we get a question like this, say, if we were wandering around Victoria’s Secret. We just don’t look like we belong there, if you get our drift. But even then, most of the salespeople don’t ask us if we need help finding anything, they just call the police.***O, come all ye faithful, and listen to yet more Scum Alerts!! Scum Alerts!!Our first tale of misfortune comes to us from Candace Warren. She says her husband, Tim, and their two sons were skiing at Copper. Then went into a shop to get some gear adjusted and when they came out – ta-da! – Tim’s new X-Scream skis had been stolen. Plus, two young teenage girls were standing there, crying, because their boards had been stolen.”Scum! Scum! Scum!” Candace said. “And right before Christmas.”Candace also wondered if the resorts couldn’t put some people around the racks to keep an eye on things (and when the thieves approach, the employees can ask them if they’re “finding everything OK?” and that’ll scare ’em off).The next miserable missive comes from Jane Hamilton, who writes: “Merry Christmas to the total scum who stole a red toolbox out of the back of a pickup. You have probably found that the box you stole is filled with items that can be purchased cheaply at a Home Depot or Wal-Mart – except for the hand-painted hammer that a sister made, or the one screw that needed to be matched to complete a project or the paint chart that is used as a future reference or the simple tools that a father purchased for a daughter he thought she may need if ever in a bind.”All things that you or a Dumpster possess that are worthless to the filth who stole it! Not only is stealing wrong, you, perhaps, have no idea how you have affected the ones you have stolen from! It’s not just stolen ‘stuff.’ You stole moments at home, good moods of houseguests, happy faces of kids, the favor of a relative – all by taking a toolbox! Feel good?”Phew! We know we wouldn’t if we had stolen that box, which we didn’t! Such scum. May you drop the hammer on your toe, get a cut from the paint chart and step on the screw! Return the toolbox so the gods of carpentry don’t vent their nail guns upon thee!***It’s Wednesday, good readers. Do what you feel. Let us know how it goes at email@example.com, fax at (970) 668-0755 or just ask the voicemail at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, if we’re finding everything OK.We’re out teaching the cats in the alley a few holiday carols …
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