At least that’s what my father told me when I was little. He drove lots of different cars, ruining the family finances in the process. But his word of advice stuck to me, and I’ve finally yielded, and gone and bought meself a car. Not just any car though. It’s a 2007 classic Marchand SEA BLASTER amphibious vehicle.
Now you may have, as I do, moral qualms about buying a car at this day and age. Think about the children. The children in the rain forests, more specifically. And then you realize that whatever car you buy it better be an electrical car. There are many other considerations as well. I mean, What Would Jesus Do? He wouldn’t just hop on the first oil-driven BMW that had the right bling. Jesus was an all-around fellow, enjoying a little off road R&R with ye multitudes. It comes as no surprise, then that the Bible votes for a car that walks on water, heals the poor and ultimately defies death by resurrection on the third day.
The Marchand Sea Blaster does the first, but who knows? Maybe one day it will prove to be the Messiah two thirds of the world are still waiting for..
In addition, it runs well on "floor, dirt, pavement, ice, snow, water, sand & land", as the instructions say. It goes on to specify that it’s a true amphibious vehicle that works well in any pool, pond or lake. Except for salt water. But Jesus hates salt water anyway, so it doesn’t matter. It also includes a rechargeable, waterproof battery and two guys hanging out the window because they’re awesome!
Now, you might feel that this isn’t the kind of purchase to be made in a time of economical crisis. In a time, true, when even Jesus would lock away the free fish, bread and wine in a shed for tougher times. And you would be right given the price tag of this motorized monster, namely One Thousand Two Hundred crowners (ca. $170USD)!
But you aren’t right because you’re wrong. Duh.
I was standing outside my workplace having a cigarette today when a co-worker came along with a grin of satisfaction on his face. "That Christmas presents," I asked, nodding towards the two big bags he was carrying. "Maybe" he said pulling out an amateur radio car. "I don’t know just yet. They’re having a sale at Gunerius downtown Oslo, and I got these real cheap. Thought I’d stock ’em until I need them."
I smirked self-righteously. Funny thing to spend money on in a time of economical crisis. In a time, true, when even Jesus would lock away the free fish, bread and wine in a shed for tougher times.
He leaned closer, putting the radio car back in the box.
– They’ve done something wrong in the store when they put the reduced price in the system. I know, because a friend of mine bought exactly one of these to his son, and he paid 1,200 NOK. They’re selling them with a 25% discount, but they’ve got it all wrong somehow, because that would be 900 NOK.
– And what did you pay?
His reply made my jaw drop.
– WHAT A BARGAIN!
And I couldn’t let go of the thought the rest of the day.
So I finished up as early as I could and headed for that particular store in Gunerius. I didn’t know exactly where the store was, or whether it was inside Gunerius or somewhere close, but it was on my way to the bus stop so it was worth a quick detour. I also remembered the store name from the shopping bags my coworker had with him earlier.
Walking over there, I made up a small, plausible story for me to use in order to prod the price and check whether any of the employees had grown suspicious and corrected the error, because I didn’t want to end up actually paying 900 NOK for a radio car. Or look like a fool.
I was relieved to find that the store was in the Gunerius mall, and headed inside. I quickly scanned the 40% and 30% discount shelves but the only toys they had were for three years and below. And they weren’t very cheap.
At the back however things began to go my way. There were out-of-fashion LEGO sets and plastic pink dollhouses, but no radio cars. I was close to giving up when I spotted it, and dangerously close to a father and his son that had entered the scene. I took the Marchand radio car in my hands, securing it out of the child’s reach and his father’s attention. I quickly read the labels. It certainly could run on water like my co-worker had said, and the only other radio car was a bat mobile-lookalike which cost around 600. It was the last two cars in store. I took the Marchand SEA Blaster under my arm and headed for the counter.
There was a queue forming behind a lady who didn’t know how to use a cafetière (coffee maker) and standing there I practiced my nonchalant air of indifference. I was someone important doing something important and although I had the time to wait, I would rather not. A young girl caught my drift and opened up the other counter.
– Are these things on sale as well?
– I might need it for a science project
– Oh. They’re very popular. That’s the last one
– How much is it after the discount?
She ran the scan and there was no denying she flinched for a moment, probably thinking: "This can’t be right" allthewhile denying herself any questioning of the matter. Good but you better act fast! She gave me the price and I nodded.
– Yeah, I guess that will do.
You see, it’s not like I really wanted this particular car, I just needed some car, and the price she’d given me seemed doable to the character I was performing at that moment. That’s the impression.
– You take card?
Having paid and put it in a bag I said my thanks and smiled, then I hurried towards the exit. It’s not that I had done a crime. I haven’t. Advertised price – being that she advertised it to me across the counter – is legally binding. And, being that they’ve entered the wrong price tag into their system as opposed to just a typo on the tag will make it near impossible for them to understand where the loss lies. But she did say that they had sold an awful lot of them lately, to which I didn’t give any significant remark. Anyway, the responsibility lies at the shop and not the customer. I mean, I was just there to complete "my science project", completely unaware of their little mixup. Right? With a satisfied smugness of perfect crime I jumped on the bus headed home, making up plans of what I could use it for. Ideas are welcome!
And the price? Well, it was a real bargain. I paid 76.42 NOK.