Burton — Three employees headquartered at Service New Brunswick were focused this morning on one critical goal — an upcoming cross-border expedition to Maine. Completely ignoring the lineup of customers that stretched nearly a kilometre out the door, the dedicated civil servants hashed out a complex strategy for their Christmas/Boxing Day shopping trip to Maine, 2014-15.
“Okay, ladies; we missed Black Friday because we didn’t plan ahead, but we’re not — I repeat not — going to be caught unprepared for this one,” declared the team’s ring leader, Wanda Moore, while spreading out a strategically plotted map she’d been preparing during every lunch break since April. “If we stay only 1 night we’ll just do Bangor, but if we stay 2 we could do Portland, too. And we’ll need to leave immediately after work in case the weather’s bad, so we can gas up and stop at Tim’s. What am I forgetting?” she inquired, gesturing with her laser-pointer toward her second-in-command, Brenda Philips.
“Well … I have some gift certificates that are going to expire soon, so we may even need to leave Thursday to squeeze in dinner,” offered Philips, with unforeseen innovation. “Red Lobster — sound good? I think we can all afford to use our remaining vacation day for the cause. Plus anything we eat while there doesn’t count toward our $100 duty-free expenditures, so we might as well go all out.”
Moore agreed reluctantly, clearly dismayed that she hadn’t come up with the groundbreaking idea. “Okay, we’ll leave Thursday night, but we’ll be too late to check into our hotel, so we’ll just sleep in the car in the parking lot outside Crate & Barrel and be first at the door when they open at 8 a.m. Then we’ll go to Designer Shoe Warehouse, Christmas Tree Shops, and another shoe store — there are some boots I need that I can easily get in Fredericton, but for $5 more — then we’ll check into the hotel,” she dictated in one fevered breath. “Rhonda, have you prepared anything at all for this, or are you going to let us down again?” she spat with an accusatory tone in the direction of the third co-worker, Rhonda McGee.
“This is going to sound insane … but why don’t we not only hit up Bangor and Portland, but also Calais?” McGee ventured with a sly grin spreading across her face. “They have Mardens, and if we don’t go there, then what is this all even for? And if we leave Thursday night, cross the border, go straight to Bangor, then go to Calais and Portland the next day, we can visit the holy grail of all Maine expeditions — Pottery Barn.”
With that, Moore shoved her carefully designed blueprint into the trash can and relinquished control of the entire mission to McGee, the unanticipated leader. The 3 of them, satisfied with a full morning of work, marched out of SNB to Philips’ car to go pick up their matching embroidered “SNB Maine Mission 2014-15” coats from the tailor shop, still ignoring the line of customers there to update their driver’s licence photos.