Tuesday. Dave sends me an email to introduce me to the fellow that’s going to take his place this year and dress both Mink stores for Christmas. Dave will be in Toronto with Fred, running a million dollar warehouse sample sale and is willing to forego the hundred bucks and all the cappuccinos he can drink and let someone else hang finials and snowflakes from the Cafés ceilings.
I feign understanding and reply that I wish him much success back east. I do notice though, his email signature has changed. It used to be just Dave Newson. Now it’s Dave Newson, at large.
He is a man of talent, but without any professional accreditation. Wikipedia would define him as a fugitive, but I think this moniker gives him a certain air of global legitimacy that only a bon vivant can have. I wonder if he went all the way and got embossed business cards.
Wednesday. We get a postcard in the mail, addressed to all the staff at the Café. It’s from Latte Mike, an executive in the financial services industry who works across the street, and a very good and loyal latte drinking customer of ours. He recently opted out of modern life by eschewing all technology post 1969. His card was addressed “To the most masterful barista team in the 604: You guys rock!. I’m good to my word – no tech… see you this afternoon.” On the front is a picture of a guy pointing at a UFO.
I’m not sure if he came in the day the card was delivered, but I thought he should have signed it Latte Mike, really, truly, at large.
Thurday. I’ve just spent a couple of hundred bucks on iTunes loading Christmas music onto the Café playlist. There is a dearth this year of festive releases, so I’m buying again older songs I once ripped from Napster, but since deleted for fear of spending the holidays with Bernie Madoff in the old Graybar hotel.
There’s no consensus in retail as to when it’s appropriate to start playing Christmas music, but it’s increasingly evident that it gets earlier every year. I decide to call Dave and ask for his advice.
“It’s just my opinion,” he says, “but no decorations, no music, and no seasonal inventory until Black Friday.”
“Why does the biggest shopping day of the year have such an ominous name?” I ask him.
“Because everyone realizes they’re buying this year’s gifts with next year’s money.” Dave says, “and it’s just a passageway into the black hole that is life.”
“Could you not mince words and just say what you mean?” I ask.
“I’m in Toronto. Cut me some slack.”
I hang up with the man-at-large and go make myself a coffee. Sitting on the couch, I think back to a time when Christmas cards came in the mail, holiday music came from a hi-fi and the tree didn’t go up until Christmas Eve. We may all be fugitives fleeing our collective pasts, but it’s still about getting in the spirit of things.
Peace on Earth, and Chocolate for All.
Mink Chocolates Inc.,
Mink A Chocolate Cafe Ltd.
Call the store: 604.633.2451
Call my mobile: 604.376.3464
Call toll free: 1.866.283.5181
Watch: youtube.com search mink chocolates
In Person: 863 Hastings Street West, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N9
Nine out of every ten persons say they love chocolate. The tenth lies.
– Anthelme Brillat-Savarin