Thursday, October 04, 2012

Carrion on at work

The smell of something rotting has been greeting me at the door of the workshop for days. This happens regularly. For some reason, with all the options available to them in this rambling edifice, mice seem to choose this particular spot in the structure of the building to lay down their mortal bodies. The little corpse is in a wall or under the floor where we can't do anything but endure its slow march of decay.

Of all the smells with which business experts suggest greeting customers, "death" is way down the list. At best it evokes images of tenements redolent of boiling cabbage. Maybe the incoming clientele thinks they've walked into the immediate aftermath of a fart. But when the smell does not dissipate it provides plenty of time for the newcomer to analyze its origin. It's something dead, man.

Given the state of our corporate finances, carrion might not be a bad metaphor. We've compared some of our more ruthless bargain hunters to vultures in the past. They circle and circle, waiting for "clearance" to land. As with real vultures, they're no more than an annoyance to a healthy creature. Get a little weak and dehydrated, however, start to stagger and their wings stiffen as their beady little eyes focus. Weakness! Prepare to FEED!

Our Oktoberfest sale is coming up this weekend. It has never involved beer, seldom included food and generally fails to qualify as a Fest in nearly any category. We gamely go through the motions, though. Back in the 1990s, when we outfitted whole families with mountain bikes and had plenty of closeout merchandise from a cross-country ski industry that was learning its limitations the hard way we could fill a 20 by 30 tent impressively. We even threw out some coffee, cider and doughnuts for the early birds. We would finish the third long day with a pleasantly burnt-out feeling. In these times of small inventories even at the manufacturer level and fragmented consumer interest in anything but handheld electronics, it's hard to get excited ourselves, let alone generate excitement in the buying public.

I've generally preferred to be a calming influence, regardless of what my actual effect has proved to be.

The mouse - to whom nothing matters anymore - withdraws its last influence slowly from our world. Its cheese has been moved for the last time.

We need some fresh-baked cookies.


Steve A said...

Cookies - well that explains the mice!

cafiend said...

The main part of the building is more than 150 years old, built in 1856. The mice go back farther than I do. I'm surprised they didn't make me get a visa to live in their country.

greatpumpkin said...

It's not a great greeting for home buyers either. We've had a recurring mouse problem at my office, though it seems to have subsided. Of course the same mouse never recurs. The habit of some of my colleagues of keeping food in their desks didn't help. I learned from the pest control guy that mice are not especially attracted to cheese. The traps are baited with peanut butter, which they find irresistible.