He only wanted to bring a bit of sweet, sugary happiness to a cold northern world..




 




hapter Thirty Nine


herry Coke Chronicles

Prior to the days of the game store founding, The Gord had a friend whose taste in beverages was curious. For this friend enjoyed Cherry Coke and Mr. Pibb. While this in and of itself was not out of the ordinary, one must consider that Cherry Coke nor Mr. Pibb were sold in Canada at the time, and as such required traveling a great distance to acquire the said products.

In wanting to address his urge to have these drinks, the friend enlisted The Gord on occasion to drive the two of them down across the border into the U.S. with The Gord's truck and purchase a few cans of the drink.

By a few cans, we are referring to four hundred on average. More than thirty boxes of Cherry Coke purchased from a grocery store a few kilometers south of the border.

While that proved to be entertaining to the staff at the establishment, more fun was had upon returning to Canada. Customs found great humour in having two young men returning with nothing more than truckload of Cherry Coke. The declaration forms were filled, the GST was paid, and everyone was happy.

This exercise would repeat more than once. For the friend sought to enlighten all he knew with Cherry Coke and distributed the drink to all who knew him.

On the fateful day The Gord open the game store, he purchased a large stand-up cooler. Into this cooler would be stocked Cherry Coke and many other drinks only available in the U.S. For this would be a novelty of the store!

Across the border The Gord went with a loyal aid to purchase the product. But instead of 30 cases, The Gord would purchase at least 150 cases at a time. Have you ever seen a red Mazda 4x4 pickup of death burdened with a load of 150 cases of soda? 1800 cans at a minimum, and this was well beyond the transport design limit. The Japanese had not meant the vehicle to be used for such madness!

During the next several months, Customs did not pay much attention to The Gord's visits across the border every 3 weeks on average, despite the size of the product. The GST was paid, and all was happy.

Until one dark day…The day of... the new agent…

Upon pulling up the customs building with the vehicle over laden with drinks, the female customs agent asked if The Gord had anything to declare.

"I have nothing to declare" spoke The Gord, knowing full well that the mass of boxes that exceeded the recommended load limit of the vehicle in the back of the truck was in plain sight. An attempt at humour with the new agent.

The new agent failed to see the humour and spoke again.

"Are you sure you have nothing to declare?"

"Well, I did purchase a cheeseburger which I have consumed."

"Perhaps some Cherry Coke?"

<Dramatic pause>

"Your silence in exchange for a can?"

<Dramatic pause>

"Pull ahead and park please."

Now so far, besides suggesting a poor sense of humour, nothing was out of the ordinary. Pulling and parking was nothing new. For this is when The Gord would walk inside to pay the GST on the product being brought across. Under Canadian tax laws, all GST paid out by a business are refunded to the business, so The Gord gets it all back anyway.

But unexpectedly, a different agent walked through the door to meet The Gord after he had parked. After a brief hello, the agent spoke of ill news.

 "I'm afraid that a complete strip and search of your vehicle has been ordered."

"That's unfortunate."

"So, smuggling anything or transporting anything illegal?"

"Nope."

"That's good. Search over. So, my game in yet? That new Final Fantasy one?"

"The restock was shipped out on Monday, they should arrive today or tomorrow. Still coming in on Saturday to pick it up?"

"Yep."

Fate struck down an intervention into the new evil agents plan to spite The Gord for a couple hours with an exhaustive search. The Gord went inside, paid the GST, and went about his day.

Unsuppressed, the new agent would have her revenge. She concluded that the drinks in the back of truck were for commercial use. Not an overly long reach, given that The Gord gave the address of his business on the GST forms and cited they were for business use in the declaration form. The call was made… to Canadian Food and Agriculture Agency.

Part 2 – Once again, the heat would come down on the operation.

<One week later>

Two agents of "the man" approach The Gord in his store.

"Are you Gord?"

If only The Gord had worn black that day…he could have simply stood up against the black walls and blended into the black paint as though camouflaged. Sadly, wearing bright blue shirt with a Japanese kamikaze headband served only to draw more attention to himself.

"Depends, do I owe you money? That, or I swear I met her in a bar. She said she was nineteen."

Short version of events from this point: Canada has rules about food labelling; specifically all packaged items must list all ingredients in English and in French. The Gord was served notice he must repackage the cans with ingredient lists in both official languages. Further, a few of the drinks were not sanctioned for sale in Canada due to the compounds used in the production of some drinks. Caffeine in the American Mountain Dew, a dye used in of the other drinks, and a preservative not sanctioned for use in non-dry foods.

The Gord decided it was not worth continuing on the exhaustive journey to the continental United States for a reduced number of products to sell. Actually, that’s a big lie. It was the thought of having to re-label every can to be sold while Canadian soda was already cheaper to sell anyway.

Whatever became of the stock that remained? It was sold off during an afternoon of “take my black market soda! I can’t take cash, but I’ll take anything else! All offers considered!” The most curious trade-in towards the substantial pile of the now black-market soda was a PlayStation lighted display panel from Wal-Mart. The Gord was going to ask how the individual had acquired such a novelty, but thought it wiser to not know.

A couple months later the first and last “Cherry Coke Tournament of hope” was held. The winner, the last saved carton of Cherry Coke and a new game.