I wheeled into the gravel parking lot of the Cavendish Boardwalk shopping complex and was delighted to find a parking spot next to a massive Hummer. I love parking next to Hummers, because it's always better to park in the shade on a hot summer's day. The Hummer cut an impressive shadow, blotting out the sky and much of PEI. I still remember seeing my first Hummer years ago...I was in awe of such a Gulf War behemoth. Now I think, who would drive such a beast? Why would anyone other than a SWAT team drive such a leviathan?
I walked away from my car and the neighbouring Hummer, then proceeded to shop for a set of fiery red Anne of Green Gables pigtails. I was thwarted in my pursuit of a hairpiece, but my 'day at the mall' was not for naught. I spotted my dream vehicle in the parking lot, and I took a slew of pictures, one of which I've included above. There was much to love about this vehicle.
The paint job caught my attention. It was almost a perfect reproduction of the stylized wave motif that I painted on the interior of my boathouse walls. Warm yellow sand and Cayman Island blue. Bang on! The pile of fire wood on the roof was endearing, in the manner that an 'I Love My Grandma' bumper sticker makes me feel. What sealed the deal, though, was the 'What Would Scooby Doo' window sticker. I was smitten. I want a personalized VW Camper van with a WWSD window sticker. I want one! I want one! I want one!
Clearly he wants one.
If this Volkswagon Camper isn't the ultimate leisurologistmobile, then I don't know what is. I was ready to swap my 2007 Kiwi Green Ford Focus wagon and two kilos of Scooby snacks for that most groovy of vehicles. I never did see the owners of the van, but I imagine that they were shaggy and unkempt, but unbelievably friendly and affable.
Almost everyone on PEI has been ridiculously friendly, and sincere. I can think of a few businesses, one in particular, in my Cambridge-Narrows neighbourhood that could prosper by being friendly to their customers. Everyone knows who I'm talking about in particular. It's a painful exercise in retail letdown every time I darken their doorstep. I don't actually darken the doorstep, because there's already a grey cloud hanging over the business. I just walk through the dreary fog. It's a showcase, the showcase, in how not to build loyal customers, let alone rabid fans.
Yesterday I pulled up to a gas station and had a pleasant chat with the sixty year old female gas attendant. We spoke of surfing, the Magdalen Islands, windsurfing and much more, all during the course of a fill-up. She was smiling the entire time, and genuinely interested in me. I'll gas up at her Shell station again, because she made me feel welcome.
I was listening to conversations all over PEI yesterday. People here are happy...it's been a real treat to share some red soil, or golden sand, with them. They really know the importance of customer service in Anne's land. Perhaps some New Brunswick business owners should come here and look around, take notes, pay attention.
I don't know what Scooby would do, but I'd be happy to load up my happy van and drive them here.