Charles E. Richardson

The big guns of retail will swoop in and I’m OK with that

No bank would ever lend me the money to do what I’ve always wanted to do. It would be a colossal failure, but it would solve so many problems and make my heart glad.

You see, Santa has his elves making the toys and gifts (stay with me here, I’m just going with the flow. I know most toys and gifts are assembled in China), but the elves sometimes forget a bolt here and a nut there. So parents, like me, who are trying to perpetuate a ruse on their children by hiding their presents to keep the Santa myth alive assemble these contraptions in the wee hours of Christmas morning and find ourselves — stuck.

Oh I get the Old Saint Nick thing, but it’s a fable we try to let our children carry for as long as we can. Fantasy is good. Reality will hit them upside the head soon enough. So here we are, a gaggle of parents putting together bikes and trikes and all sorts of things from backyard swing sets to trampolines — things that would never fit on a sleigh, much less down a chimney and we’re missing something — a bolt, a screw or a nut or several of the aforementioned. We’d cuss, but it’s Christmas. We cuss anyway.

I head to my special drawer where I keep all sorts of totally useless items that should have been thrown away eons ago looking for that needle in a haystack — that one piece, or several, that would make Christmas morning a success — and keep the back tire on the bike.

But alas, there’s no hardware store open at 2 a.m. And that’s my idea. A hardware store that would only open once a year, 24 to 36 hours, from Christmas Eve until Christmas Day. And now you’d have to expand what a one-day-a-year hardware store would do anyway.

For example, aside form the nuts and bolts and screws you’d have to carry to fit just about anything imaginable, you would also have to have an electronics section where technicians would work who could repair screens on that new whiz-bang phone you dropped as you were wrapping it, or diagnose why that &@*? Playstation isn’t working.

Granted, for one long night, I would make a ton of money, but not enough to last the next 364. My friendly banker, Craig Ross at SunMark, would look at me and smile, but have to say “sorry.” Shucks, I only wanted to borrow $20 million to get started. I’d put my truck up for collateral — if I had to. And oh, did I mention that I would open one of these one night wonders in every major city in the U.S.?

OK, there, I’ve gone and let the secret out. Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, I know one of those big box fellas will steal my idea. Before next Christmas rolls around, they’ll have a special shop in their stores to do just what I’ve described. I’m OK with that. Remember, you read about it first right here in The Telegraph. That’s all the credit I need. No royalties necessary.

I know you’re wondering why I’d be so calm about big business swooping down and stealing my little idea? I can’t really get upset. Heck, Craig would be flat out crazy to give me $20 million. He’d be fired before they could wipe the stupid look off his face (as long as the check is good I’m alright with that, too). Janice, his wife, however, I would not want to face.

I really don’t care who makes the money with my idea. I do have an ulterior motive. I have seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. That means I’m going to be putting things together for quite some time, Lord willing, and one thing I can count on is Santa’s elves forgetting a bolt, screw or nut — or more appropriate for this younger generation, can I just hand the tech guy, or gal, a box at 2 a.m. Christmas morning and ask, does this work? Or, more pointedly, how the hell do I get this thingamabob to work? There, I feel better already.