“How did you score one of these?” the bookseller asked, obviously impressed.
“He got it by spending a fortune at your Oakville store,” my wife blurted out in response.
The clerk at the mall bookstore had glanced at the back of my Chapters card, to see if the discount card was still valid. It was, though I hadn’t used it in nine years. Search a man’s wallet and you’ll be amazed at what you might find.
The clerk’s surprise was the “lifetime membership” sticker affixed to the back of the card. These, apparently, are only slightly less rare than unicorns, according to staff at the Chapters bookstore in my old hometown of Oakville where I used it with some frequency.
I had a library at home of more than 8,000 books: a symptom of the voracious reading habit I inherited from my father. He had so many books in our home the floors sagged under the weight of them.
Most of my library was bought at my neighbourhood Chapters store in Glen Abbey. I was a frequent customer. Every clerk in the sprawling store knew my name and the kind of books I liked; mainly history and politics.
The Christmas before we moved back to Sarnia, Heather Reisman even sent me a book in the mail as a Christmas gift. Ms. Reisman, owner of the Indigo Books and Music chain of stores that includes Chapters and Coles, had apparently noticed the substantial sums I spent at her Oakville store.
The “Lifetime” Chapters discount card followed in the mail.
One of Canada’s most successful and influential businesswomen and a well-known philanthropist, Heather Reisman was recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. She also appears to have one additional, terrifying claim to fame.
She knows when I’m going to die.
I discovered this recently when a clerk in a London Chapters store inspected my card, looked up and uttered the following words: “Did you know that your Lifetime Chapters card has an expiry date attached to it?”
I was stunned. Lifetime, after all, means lifetime. Yet Heather Reisman apparently knew exactly when my Lifetime card would no longer be any of use to me.
Possibly amused by my speechless response, the clerk blurted out the date. As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might say, it is “imminent.”
In other words, somewhere down the road.
I have a wife, two sons, and the feelings of eight brothers and sisters to protect — so I will not reveal the date here.
But I know. And so, incredibly, does Heather.