Up the Creek With Too Many Paddles (Top 10 Finalist)

Several Christmas seasons ago a frequent customer came in to buy the perfect gift for his wife (canoe, paddles, and pfd's). He was glad to finally have his shopping for the big surprise over, and we arranged for delivery when help would be available to hide the presents at his home.
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Several Christmas seasons ago a frequent customer came in to buy the perfect gift for his wife (canoe, paddles, and pfd's). He was glad to finally have his shopping for the big surprise over, and we arranged for delivery when help would be available to hide the presents at his home.

In the next couple of days his wife shows up and says, "Gil, show me what you have in canoes for my husband, John. I have known both customers for many years, and knew I couldn't spoil the surprise for either of them. Yes, you guessed it, I sold Emily the same canoe, paddles, and pfd's. I arranged the secret delivery time, and she left with a smile on her face, confident John would love his Christmas morning surprise.

 I arrived with the first delivery and helped to hide it in the shed where Emily wouldn't find it. The next delivery was to be the following day. When I arrived with canoe number two, I was met by Emily's brother. He had a smile and said "You know both of them bought canoes, don't you."

We laughed as we unloaded John's canoe and hid it behind the house. I told him I would return to pick up the extra surprise after the Christmas Holiday.

I am told it was a large family gathering and a Christmas to remember for all who were there.

The next time I saw John and Emily in our store they were still laughing. I said "Great minds do think alike," (even if they're up a creek with too many paddles).

by Gil Hines

Through July 1, retail sales staff answered the contest call to submit a story of survival and perseverance in the face of challenging customers. The story titles with summaries that made the first round of qualifications are listed below, and each is now in the hands of our judges to decide on the top 10. You can read each story in its entirety by going to the contest landing page -- click here.

Ten lucky story writers will each win over $1,000 in product prizes based on the contest judges' votes. Here is where you come in! Of those 10, one will be named the grand prizewinner, cashing in on a trip for two to Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007. Three others will be named official "honorable mentions," and in addition to the valuable prizes, each will receive a gift certificate that can be redeemed toward attendance at an Outdoor Industry Association-sponsored event, such as Outdoor University, Mountain Sports Festival or the OIA Rendezvous. The grand prize winner will be announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006. We will determine the grand prize winner and the three runner up winners based on popular vote (sorry judges) -- those among the top ten receiving the most votes win, it's that simple. This is for store pride, for knowing you have a winner amongst you, so vote as often as you like. Tell your friends. Tell your friends friends. Tell your dog -- but only if he can work a computer keyboard.

Deadline for voting is August 1, 2006.Click here to register your vote now!

Did you miss out on this year's contest? Bummer, but no worries. If you haven't already done so, outdoor retail staff can get ready for next year by activating a subscription now at www.snewsnet.com/freeretail/snewsarticle-contest.html. Then, watch your SNEWS® for announcements calling for our next contest entries and get ready to be a winner.

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