Saturday, October 06, 2012

Strange Dreams of Haggling with an Asshole

Having some bizarrely detailed, realistic dreams lately, dreams which highlight mundane, daily life activities. I had one elaborate dream a couple weeks ago where I was picking my nose deeply and happily, then getting bits in my beard, which I had to pick out; given the fantastic, conflict-oriented scenarios I usually dream - battling faceless evils - to highlight such a banal detail in a dream seems strange indeed. What could my subconscious be trying to tell me? I even dreamt a dream that was located in my own apartment, the other night - I can't remember what the rest of it entailed, but I so rarely have dreams that are set in the actual spaces I presently live that it makes it sort of a landmark moment; I've lived here three years now, and never once before, to my memory, had a dream actually located here.

The dream I relay here - from a couple of nights ago - involved a quest for a Dr. Who collectible. I had finished working at a bookstore I sometimes work at, and was on my way to a party, where I was supposed to give someone a Dr. Who-themed gift; I've held back from publishing this post until today because there was actually such a party that I was to go to, actually such an assignment, giftwise (a cold is keeping me home). Anyhow, in the dream, I hadn't found anything in any shop I'd been to - there was a strange deficit in Dr. Who-themed merch out there - so I made a special trip by bus to Golden Age Collectibles on Granville Street - the actual shop, which my sleeping brain more or less accurately recreated (though I haven't been in there for years). I *think* I sold them something, and had $15 credit to spend. I went through the entire shop, trying to find something appropriately Dr. Who-related: comic books, t-shirts, action figures, you name it. The kid behind the counter - a dark haired, obnoxious youth named Gareth Wrigley, completely manufactured for the purposes of this dream but entirely credible as a character - helped me look a bit, but in so doing, was rude in such a way that I ended up off my balance, insecure, trying not to lose my cool. I'd comment on the absence of cool Dr. Who memorabilia out there and he'd say something just slightly cutting and sarcastic, about how it might have something to do with how hip and current Dr. Who was, meaning just the opposite; but he continued to field my requests to show me stuff, so he was nonetheless doing his job. In the course of my shopping, Gareth showed me one book that had a Tardis photo in it, but it was too small a part of the book to count. Instead, I found three copies of a hardcover art book relating to Vancouver punk, with Jim Cummins' (I, Braineater's) painting for the Pointed Sticks' Perfect Youth on the front cover; they were $30 books at least, but selling for $1 apiece (with red and white sale stickers akin to the ones Oscar's Art Books uses). I decided to buy all three: I could give one as a gift in lieu of the Dr. Who item, keep one for myself, and give another to someone else I knew who was also going to the party (in the dream and in life - there's a bizarre amount of real-life stuff worked in, here).

Problem: the two guys behind the counter, Gareth and this other fella - vastly less sharp - wouldn't sell me all three art books, but nor would they share that fact with me; they just wrapped up one copy of the book in newspaper so I couldn't see what was in the package and rang me through as if I'd paid and gave me a receipt. I completely forgot that they owed me money, but I noticed that they forgot to actually take any money from me; I put the package in my backpack and left the store, feeling like I'd gotten away with something, then got outside, checked what they'd given me - tearing aside a corner of the newspaper - and realized that it was only one copy of the three books. No wonder it was so thin! I went back into the store and commenced to give them shit, but Gareth held firm: it was store policy, when they had a sale item, not to sell multiple copies to one customer, so other bookdealers couldn't take advantage of their sales. But I wasn't actually trying to do that, I assured him; they were gifts for friends at this party! Frustrated, but finding them adamant - and still needing a gift - I went on one last scour of the store, looking for Dr. Who stuff; I encountered a girl in the back room who was making realistic, super-sized sculptures based on insects, and asked Gareth if he had t-shirts with insects on them, as I recalled the store had sold at one point; I thought a cool beetle t-shirt might suffice as a gift, but alas, none were in stock. Look, I explained; I've tried like hell to find a gift to buy for my friend, and the only thing you have in the store that I like, and that my friend might like, is this one dollar artbook. Let me buy one for myself, and one for my friend! We haggled for awhile, me threatening to lose my cool, and finally we arrived at the agreement that he would sell me ONE extra copy of the book; I would keep another for myself, give one to my friend (being sure to remove the pricetag - you can't just spend $1 on a gift for someone), and I'd just TELL my other friend about the item, to get him into the store. Somewhere in there Gareth tried to jack up the price of one of the books - "I'll sell it to you, but not for a buck" - but he could tell that made me really angry, so gave it up.

In the end, I got two out of three of the books, at $1 each - except I continued to forget that they owed me $15, and they weren't about to remind me. In contrast, I'd explained to them that they'd forgot to charge me for the book I bought previously, and gave them money for both copies I was buying. I made some sort of peacemaking gesture with Gareth, shaking his hand and getting his name, congratulating him on driving a hard bargain, and left the store feeling like I'd won the fight. It was only after I got out and was on my way to the party that I realized that I'd screwed myself - that they owed me $15 that I now realized I hadn't a hope in hell of collecting. Besides, I had no time left; I'd have to live with it, I'd been screwed.

Note, in case anyone  wants to sue my dreaming brain, in no way does the above reflect my experience of shopping at Golden Age Collectibles. They're a great little store with a lot of cool stuff and doubtlessly helpful and professional staff, none of whom do I presently know or mean to impugn. For that matter, nor do I mean to impugn anyone named Gareth Wrigley - I know of no such person, although a Google search of the name reveals that several people by that name actually exist. Weird when a dream is so specific to a place and to people that you end up worried you might get sued for telling it, eh?

1 comment:

Allan MacInnis said...

Do note: