Free Clam Chowder from the Corner Deli
Garrett was a small business owner. After years behind the confines of the “cubicle” he decided to start his own business so after getting a loan, and making that big leap of faith, he started his dream deli. However, business wasn’t moving as well as he thought it would. Although he was sure the quality of his food was great, he needed to entice customers to pass by the store and try out all the tasty sandwiches he would make. It occurred to him, that he needed to create some kind of buzz around the joint. “Free Chowder!” It just popped into his mind. He’d offer free soup and that will get him a good flow of customers. He could now imagine the numbers rolling in and his clientele growing to a decent number.
Early in the morning, Garrett was working with a few of his friends, putting up the new sign outside the store. It was written in bright red cursive, and clearly stating “free chowder.” Well, it was November in Boston, and the wind was picking up and the weather was turning chilly. People could use a nice warm bowl of clam chowder. And actually customers were happy to come in and try the “free” soup. Although it was a dark and dreary day in Boston, the sun of success was finally shining on Garrett’s store up on Boylston Street. He was finally beginning to feel that things were moving in the right direction.
There was this one customer, a plump old fellow in his fifties. He’d come in every day with his newspaper and piece of bread. Sammy wasn’t your typical Bostonian. Notwithstanding his non-New England accent, his face would never show any signs of emotion or reaction whatsoever. Garrett didn’t pay much attention to him at first, but things were getting a bit weird. You see, Sammy kept coming in every day since Garrett’s offer went live. He would come in and only ask for the “free soup” where’s the “free clam chowdah,” he’d scream. And Garrett soon realized that in his eagerness to move his business along, he never did put any stipulations on the offer. So he had nothing to do except to offer Sammy the soup every time he came in. Now if clam chowder was cheap, Garrett wouldn’t have minded. But the guy was having soup every day and asking for seconds and thirds. Garrett realized he was in a fix, because he didn’t expect people to come in and only order the free chowder! Almost every single person would come in and try the chowder, and at the same time they would order other stuff.
Garrett had to do something about Sammy. He couldn’t stand watching him come in every day, and slurp the clam chowder of the day. Garrett would get annoyed just looking at Sammy’s checkered red and black shirt as he walked in day after day. Something had to be done and quickly. After yet another sleepless night, Garrett decided to put his morals and integrity aside in order to teach this guy a lesson. He passed the nearest CVS and bought the strongest over the counter laxative he could get his hands on. When his poor victim walked in that day, Garrett broke a half sinister smile, as he welcomed Sammy in and poured a special concoction of clam chowder and ultra-powerful laxative in the same bowl. Garrett laughed in his mind and thought if only the board of health were there to see him now. He promised himself it would just be this one time he would do such a thing. He would be careful in the future when coming up with promotions for his store.
Sammy, now in his usual daily routine, was enjoying the clam chowder immensely. He even ordered seconds, again that was no surprise. The first bowl had quite a bit of laxative mixed into to it, but it was obviously not enough. Garrett was thinking the same thing, since he couldn’t notice any affect whatsoever. When he gave Sammy the next portion, he made sure almost two thirds of the bowl was pure laxative. He even added a bit of extra garnishing on top to make sure Sammy wouldn’t taste the difference.
Sammy was eating the clam chowder like a baby having ice cream. His face seemed to be turning red now. Garrett was pleasantly surprised. He could have sworn he heard Sammy burp, although he didn’t see Sammy open his mouth. He guessed it was one of those internal burps that never get a chance to surface. Sammy got up off the stool he was on and wandered over to Garrett. “Where’s your toilet buddy?” he asked Garrett in a quiet sort of way. Garrett just point to the back of the deli and Sammy waddled over. There was a loud noise and lots of commotion but Garrett either out of spite or out of guilt or both, did not go and check what was going on. “Aaaaah! Eeeeooohh!” was some of what he heard. Some of his customers were getting worried as well. They were curious about what was going on.
Garrett just stood there at the counter almost like those street performers who sit still in the park and would only move if you throw a coin in the hat sitting in front of them. There was silence for a brief moment.
Sammy was walking slowly out of the restroom area. As he walked, he’d tilt left and then slowly he would tilt the other way. It didn’t look like things were in good shape.
Like someone who’d been drinking all night, Sammy stood at an angle. He was leaning on the counter as he whispered to Garrett. “Man, your bathroom won’t be enough for me I gotta go home!”
He said this as he ran out of the store holding his stomach and whimpering in pain. He walked and walked for a few minutes until he reached a stop light. As he waited for the light to turn green, a young man asked, “Excuse me sir, do you know where they’re offering free clam chowder?”
“Yes!” Sammy answered, “Just follow this brown line!”
Moral of the story, Nothing in life is free.