Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Parable of Will Mart

This post was inspired by this contest that a retail giant is currently having and that the folks in my city have become enamoured with.  (We currently stand at #2 in the contest.)

There once lived a Shop Keep that lived in a wondrous and magical land. His name was Will Mart.

Will Mart sold potions, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and infant diapers at reasonable prices.  People from across the land would drive their chariots minutes on end to purchase fairy dust in bulk or a new George Foreman Grill.  The parking lot was always a mess.

Will was both hated and beloved in his mythical land.  Yes, he employed many poor peasants, but he paid them all but 3 farthings a week and offered them no benefits.  (I'm not sure what a "farthing" is, but it made sense for this story.  I'm sure 3 of them is about minimum wage.) 

Mr. Mart never once sold herbs and sorcery equipment produced by the local craftsmen, for he had connections to cheap suppliers across the sea in Never-Never Land and China.  The local craftsmen despised Will Mart and called him names like "Fart-Knocker" and other cruel terms that are too offensive to include in a parable or on a family blog.

Nevertheless, many of the townsfolk flocked to Will Mart's shop to obtain discounted medicines for their ill-torn children and those stretchy workout bands for their basement Rec Rooms. Others in the town refused to frequent Will's shop, for the crowds were irksome, the noise was plentyful and there were HDTV's hanging from the ceiling, blaring commercials for the merchandise.  Folks hated those TVs.

Some of the townsfolk even built a new bulletin board in the Town Square.  They would draw pictures of strange looking people with freakish features, going in and out of Will's Mart and post them for others to mock and harass.  They called this bulletin board "People of Will's Mart Dot Board."  People loved to laugh at the ugliness of those that shopped at Will's Mart.

Will's Mart became so popular, he eventually placed a Blacksmith at the front of his store, as well as a Subway. They were soon joined by a bank and some magical coin slots that make the children beg their parents for farthings.  Folks loved the ability to get their horse re-shoed while ordering a six inch meatball with American cheese.

Yes, Will Mart's Mart was a magically fantastical place; or an evil, soul crushing cold sore on the community, depending on how you look at it.

Will was a corrupt but smart man and he knew he was not well beloved in all spheres of the land.  His influence stretched from the badlands in the East to the wetlands in the West.  He knew that because of his business model and the fact that he paid the peasants he employed mere farthings, his shop's public image was suffering. It was in the winter of the ninth year of the rein of King Foxenberg, that the sinister Will Mart hatched his wicked plan.

On the sixth day of December, a decree went forth across the land.   Trumpet were sounded and the centurions were sent to declare the tidings.  Mr. Mart had thus stated: "I, WILL MART HEREBY DECREE THAT I WILL GIVE THE SUM TOTAL OF ONE MILLION FARTHINGS TO THE POOR FAMILY THAT TELLS ME THAT THEY LIKE ME THE MOST OFTEN!  YOU HAVE UNTIL THE END OF THE FORTNIGHT.  SO LET IT BE SAID."

Many signs were posted of the decree throughout the forests.

The townsfolk were flabbergasted by this news.  One million farthings was enough farthings to buy a lifetime supply of magical potions and disease ridden cows to supply the family with milk!  They wondered about Mr. Mart's true intentions.  They contemplated if he had somehow turned kind-hearted.  Certainly, one million farthings was nothing to Mr. Mart.  He could give every family in the kingdom one million farthings and still have thirty million farthings to himself if he wanted.

Many of the families sang about this unforeseen news using their best opera voices while dancing around the town square, holding buckets of water and looking towards the clouds.  (This seemed fitting for this story.)

A long line soon formed in front of Will Mart's Mart. Thousands of peasants from the Orangutan Forests in the West to the Huckleberry Cottages in the South came to tell Mr. Mart that they liked him as many times as they could.

Soon, arguments began to arise from the crowd.  Each family thought they were more deserving than the others.  One man yelled, "My boy, Tiny Tim uses a cane and talks all weepy like.  Surely, we are deserving of the one million farthings!"  A woman responded, "What about my family?  I live with seven grubby dwarfs and not a one of them has found a damn thing in those mines for ages!"

The evil Mr. Mart simply sat back in his chair and soaked in the attention.  Not only did he have a long line of people telling him how much they liked him, but now he had the entire kingdom talking about his "generous" offer and quarrelling over the farthings.

Mr. Mart, being the treacherous genius that he was, understood that he was still hated by many of the townsfolk and that they would never, ever tell him "I like you" to his face.  He decided to send out a new decree.

"YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SAY 'I LIKE YOU' TO MR. MART TO GET CREDIT FOR YOUR LIKE.  YOU ONLY HAVE TO SAY YOU LIKE WHAT HE IS DOING TO HELP THE POOR FAMILY."

This new decree was hung in the trees of the forest next to the first decree, which were still hanging.

And so it was.  Just about every man, woman and child in the kingdom was pressured by their loved ones to pay visit Will Mart and tell him what a great man he is.  Will even allowed the "likes" to be counted through the mail and by carrier pigeon.  Even giving him a simple "thumbs up" sign warranted a vote for your family.

Accusations of cheating swarmed through the air like the miniature dragons and butterflies that circled the valley skies.

Alas, the judgement day arrived and Mr. Mart stood on the roof of his shop to make the announcement. Thousands of townsfolk gathered round to hear word of who would be taking home the one million farthings to their starving children.  Mr. Mart wore his coat of many colors and stood tall to make the announcement.

"AND THE WINNER OF THE ONE MILLION FARTHINGS, WITH 372, 599 LIKES IS... THE GRUFFINGTON FAMILY FROM THE PROVINCE OF FRAGGLE ROCK!"

A lowly moan of disapproval fell over the audience.  Pitch forks were raised and fictitious swear words were yelled.  Poor Will Mart's usual smile melted into a growling frown.  His realization was complete and swift.  In his greed, he had saved his image for a time, but disappointed thousands in the process.  Surely, the Gruffington clan would be well pleased with their sudden fortune, but other's would forever curse his name.

And so it was that the townsfolk boo'd and whistled and turned their backs in shame.  And so it was that the contest was soon forgotten and Mr. Mart went on being both loved and hated in his own community.

A month later, Mr. Mart added a pedicure place to the front of his shop.

Thus lived and died, Mr. Mart - a man who would do anything to be liked, except offer his employees health insurance.
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If you have read this far, kudos to you.  I did not intend for this post to be this long, but I hope you enjoyed it.  Just a couple news items... 
1. If you have not yet read my top ten posts of the year and voted, check the post just below this one and vote it the poll on the right hand side.
2. If you need more Cheeseboy in your everyday life, as I am sure most of you do, I am now on Twitter at @Cheeseboy22

48 comments:

Saimi said...

First in line.....That's a first!

Pearl said...

Cheesy, insightful, and containing the words "fart-knocker".

I give it two cheap-ass-products up.

Or something like that.

:-)

Pearl

Lene said...

Any post that includes "fart-knocker" is a winner in my opinion.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If it were a movie, the DVD would be at a reduced cost of $17.39 - just because it's an odd number.

Esther said...

Best post so far! Ever.

T said...

the pedicure place might make all the difference in the world :)

(although confidentially, between just you me and the rest of your readers... I refuse to go to the Walmart pedi place... I don't want my toes on display for all those shoppers!)

Melinda said...

So I'm getting the feeling you're not a fan of Walmart...your loyalty lies with Target am I right? Farthing...FARTHING...farthing. What a great word, just rolls off the tongue!

Brittney said...

bahahahaha!!! love it!

Connie said...

My mind is reeling with the fictitious swear words!

I'm sure the Gruffington's cheated!

Pat Tillett said...

Really, really good! One of your best, me thinks! I wonder if the place is secretly owned by a Chinese company. I'll bet you a farthing it is...

Mamma has spoken said...

Took my son to Walmart just this week. He hadn't been to the new one here since he left 4 years ago. Once he stepped inside his first words were,
"Mom I see why you don't like this place."
And hence I now know I don't ever have to go there again.
Contest or no contest.

Oilfield Trash said...

A very good post.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I really enjoyed this story, and the appropriate photos (especially "end world hunger"). Somehow, I don't feel sorry for Will. If everyone would just start poking him!
xoRobyn

Holly said...

LOL!! Entertaining, as usual! ;D

I have been playing along with the game... Only because I figure if he's going to GIVE AWAY money to a community, it may as well be OURS! So if for no other reason... click "LIKE" for the community and never shop there. You could even state it when you post it if you want. Just sayin'... Hehehe!! ;p

Teachinfourth said...

I don't know if I should admit that I patronized a form of the store in said story this week...however, I do have to claim, in my defense, that it was peanut M&Ms on sale.

Guilty...as charged.

Emmy said...

Lol! This post is so timely. I am getting slammed on Facebook by people wanting me to vote for their state. Well for Utah. Funny, I live in CA but none of my CA friends have said anything. Hmmmmm

tammy said...

So does that mean you didn't click "like"?.

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

Love it!

TesoriTrovati said...

Now that was a bedtime story worthy of the Grimm's (and not the Disneyfied version either). Thank you for sharing that. I had not heard of ye olde contest, but I will not be casting my votes. Farthings or no.

Enjoy the day!
Erin

P.S. my daughter especially liked the word "fart-knocker". I do hope that doesn't get shouted at ye olde brother. ;-)

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

Would have loved to have been at your family dinner discussions this week I think! You never know though -- WillMart might have a cream for that under-eye rash that you'll never know about! Bwahaha! Very funny post Abe! We're not in 2nd place anymore though! And like the rest of your fans said -- Fart-knocker takes the cake! Thanks for the good laugh.

Lisa Loo said...

I'm so confused...

Our "Will Fart" is 40 minutes away and what is this thing called p-e-d-i-c-u-r-e?

Corrina Terry said...

Ha!!! Loved this one!!! (P.S. There isn't a Target Greatland near me and Smith's is too expensive, so I'm stuck w/Walmart.) ;o)

Jillybean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jillybean said...

Awesome story!

I can walk around Wal Mart for about 30 minutes subjecting myself to flourescent lighting mixed with the subliminal messages in the Muzak before my left eye starts twitching and I start to mumble incoherently.....
Plus, my kids start dancing in front of the security cameras in hopes of making it to peopleofwalmartdotcom.

And yet, I continue to go back because they are the only store who sells my favorite butter.

Ms Bibi said...

Oh, Cheeseboy, I can smell the lawyer letter,lol.If you get one press the delete button like I did.

Alittlesprite said...

There were rumors Walmart was coming to Australia. Everyone threw up their hands in horror!
Loved the story. How many farthings for a George Forman?
I don't get the health plan thing, but then over here we have free health..lol..

baygirl32 said...

"fart knocker" awsome

Jenn said...

LOL.. I love that you know what Fraggle Rock is!!!
Love your stories Cheeseboy..can't wait to see what you have waiting for us next year!
Happy New Year to you and your family!

dbs said...

You've gone too farthing now!

Joann Mannix said...

I was one of those people buying the stretchy bands.

I love and despise the Will Mart. I love the fact that you can buy both Funfetti cake mix and tires at 2:00 a.m.

I hate everything else about that place filled with the cretins of the Earth.

Twitter boy, you're killing me, you know. I thought we would stand Twitter-less together. I have a feeling I'll be seeing you sooner than later over there in another virtual world.

MiMi said...

Oh Mr Cheese...you are so smart...Will Mart is an evil man. I went into a similar store to the Will Mart today...and pointed and laughed at people. And then I noticed they too were pointing and laughing at me.
And if I see one more FB post about Will Mart and his hunger thing I will scream.

Flea said...

I squishy heart Fraggle Rock. I boo-hiss Will Mart. Excellent parable.

Kelley said...

That was hilarious, as usual! Very good story, very creative... I'll always think of Will when I go to Wal-M... Hold on, I don't go to Wal-Mart. RIP, Will.

BTW, I tweeted out this post but you probably knew that. So glad you are on Twitter now! I know you are a super smart man and will probably figure this out on your own, but it's easier tweeting out posts with either www.bit.ly or Tweetdeck. There are other websites you can use, but those two will shorten your link so that you have more space for your hilarious commentary. :)

Xmas Dolly said...

Fart-Knocker? Well, all I can say that's one hell of a story you've got there. Thanks for stopping at my blog and following me on Twitter. I follow you now on your Networked Blog. ~hehehe~ Your turn. Happy New Year!

The Empress said...

wootwoot.

Here's to a beautiful relationship on twitter.

You will love it.

Quick, easy, no strings attached.

Unknown Mami said...

Thanks for reminding me I need a pedicure.

Happy New Year!

SueLovesCherries said...

Dear, dear Cheese Boy - you brought tears to my eyes. Such a heart wrenching story. I'm sure this will be the New Year's classic story for generations to come!

I was never crazy about our local Wally World, and then about a year or so ago they "remodeled" and streamlined. Now, they offer nothing that interests me. Mister raves over it, though. It just makes me want to puke.

Impulsive Addict said...

Oh I personally know Will Mart. He is evil. I try to avoid his stupid a$$ store like the plague but I always get sucked back in because I need something stupid like toothpaste or diapers that his competitor doesn't carry.

Happy New Year, Cheeseboy!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Best yet... I can't imagine how you will top 2010 in Blogdom, but I am sure you will. Happy New Year's Cheeseboy.

Shrinky said...

What a brilliant piece of writing, I love how your mind works - and I truly hope it wins, it deserves to!

Btw, I am ashamed to admit I not only KNOW what a farthing is, I'm even old enough to have spent a fair few in my youth - it's a quarter value of an OLD penny - twelve pennies made a shilling (today, five NEW pence would make up the value of a shilling. So now you know (grin)!

Missy said...

This is an awesome post!!!!

See Mom Smile said...

We affectionately call it Hell-Mart. We can say that because my hubby actually worked in management for them for a couple of years. After his spirit and will to live was successfully crushed, he quit. Also I believe that SLC is in a race with my lovely, impoverished hometown of Fresno. Good luck with that.

Chris Phillips said...

I agree with Alex that it needs to be a movie and I'm waiting to buy it until it is in the $5 movie bin next to The Postman and Biodome.

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Well Cheeseboy I so agreed with your story - and yet I felt I needed to vote for my nearby town of Fresno when so many are going hungry. I voted/thumbed up but now I feel kind of dirty. Wasn't it all so ridiculous? I don't know if SLC local news talked about it as much as ours did, but really? For a month we've been liking Will Mart? Uh oh - I think I started to rant! I'll stop there and let's just hope Will Mart comes to his senses and gives $1 million to ALL of the cities in this "competition."

Happy New Year and I'm looking forward to more 1st grade/1st rate productions from you!

mintifresh said...

I am so glad that contest is over!!! And I am so glad this story was written! I'm gonna use it in my Sunday School class next week!

Lourie said...

I haven't voted yet...but then I am still fairly new here.

I have a love hate relationship with the box. Mostly the hate part has to do with me spending money every time I go there.

Lourie said...

PS "Fart-Knocker" *snickers*

Marla said...

If Bob ever reads this I will never hear the end of fart-knocker.