It was 5:30 in the morning, and my world as I knew it was about to come crashing down. Everyone, including the cat and the fish, was still asleep; I was on my own.
Through puffy eyes I watched the news, and something the newscaster said woke me up faster than 10 cups of coffee.
The hardware store, Canadian Tire – a part of Canadian history - is getting rid of Canadian Tire money.
WHAT?? How could they do this to me?
I love Canadian Tire money. I mean, I LOVE IT.
For those of you who don’t know, Canadian Tire first opened in Toronto, Ontario in 1922. In 1961, as a customer loyalty incentive, ‘paper money’ was handed out - in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, as well as 1 dollar bills – the amount distributed based on a percentage of the purchase. The intention was to draw customers back to the store and use the money as ‘cash’ towards their next purchase. The incentive is still going strong.
But the company has decided to uproot this Canadian currency icon, and gear towards an electronic loyalty program – same thing, different method. And their decision sent me into a tizzy.
I thought about it all day; those coloured bills corrupted my every action. I poked out my eye with the mascara brush. I almost left the coffee shop with my coffee - black! While slicing paper in the paper-cutter at work – you know the kind with the big-arm blade – I cut my employee ID tag in half. In HALF, I tell you!
The bills were still clouding my senses much later as I tried riding the bus using my library card instead of my bus pass.
Oh, I cannot, CANNOT take much more of this.
So I had a plan. I had to find out if this - this ATROCITY - was true. I mean, newscasters CAN get things wrong. Right?
Lucky for me, a Canadian Tire store is at the bus stop where I get off. Mentally urging the bus driver to go faster, I knew that all I had to do was confirm the absurdity of this NEWS with the store manager, and all would be right in my world. See? Easy.
I did not run. I serenely and sedately walked into the store, and just as serenely and sedately, walked up and down the aisles looking for the manager. AHA! Found him!
I calmly and casually walked up to him, and asked him my burning question.
“Tell me – TELL me it isn’t SO! Are you really getting rid of Canadian Tire money?” I crumpled to the floor, sobbing and wailing – he ended up calling the paramedics.
Sorry, I got a bit carried away. What I actually asked was:
“Excuse me sir, but is it true that your fine company is eliminating Canadian Tire money in favour of a new electronic customer loyalty program?” I batted my eyelashes a few times, just in case.
He blankly said, “Yes.”
I stumbled out of the store without buying anything. He must be wrong, HE MUST BE WRONG! JUST because HE’S the manager cannot POSSIBLY mean he knows everything, right? I’ll show him. I’ll email the company – take it straight to the top!
And I did.
And the kind lady in somewhere-Canada promptly wrote me back - with the same answer.
It’s true. IT’S ALL TRUE! Why are they doing this to me?
I save the ‘dollars,’ hoarding them like chocolate. Like a miser I hide them, fearful that (gasp!) another family member will steal them. I am not greedy; truly I am not. I am just saving them for a rainy day.
For a day when funds are low and a summer toy (squirt gun, badminton birdies, etc) is desperately needed for a bored kid, or for a day when a bottle of motor oil will surely fix a sputtering car. Or what if I need something to cheer me and FINALLY cash in and get the 10-in-one hammer I have dreamed about for ages?
But those days never came.
I squirrel away ‘special things’ to save for a rainy day – just in case. And more often than not, I realize, those days never come, and it’s too late to enjoy.
I save things to use only on special occasions. I moved in the summer and found a velveteen dress I bought about 15 years ago with the pricetag still on it. I was saving it for a something special – a special occasion. Why didn’t I just wear it, and enjoy it, then? If I wore it now, I’d look like an idiot – out of date and out of style. And my good china? It has so much dust on it from 'saving' it, I don't know what it looks like anymore.
I save everything for various reasons; for a 'special occasion,' for a 'rainy day,' or 'just in case.' The reasons are endless, and I never enjoy the NOW. Just use IT (whatever it is) NOW and don’t wait for seasons/styles/trends to pass before it gets too late.
So I ate a pound (or two) of chocolate to calm down, and after rolling around in the piles of great wealth I worked so hard to save, I pocketed my $9.15 (comprised partly of 58, 5 cent bills), and skipped back to the store with a new found intention – enjoy it NOW!
And bought kitty litter.
(oh, and I saved a few bills – just in case)