The Friendly Island???


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Yesterday I was reminiscing about my arrival on Prince Edward Island in 1969 and talking about the friendly people and the beauty of the tiny Province. Then I had another thought! not all people were so friendly or welcoming. My reason for coming to PEI was my job, I worked for Uniroyal Tire Co and we ran the K Mart auto centres. A new K Mart was about to open in Charlottetown and was getting mixed reviews. On one hand many Islanders were pleased to see the competition and the variety of new and lowered priced products available. The Island businesses were not so excited about the competition and it showed!. Once K Mart was up and running some of the management trainees were sent out to price check in the local dept stores. Holman’s was probably the biggest store in town and sold just about everything from underwear to furniture. Obviously they were the first store to be priced checked. It didn’t go well and the Kmart trainees were kicked out. At the time I was busy getting the auto centre up and running and not really aware of the pricing war going on with the other stores. On my day off I wandered into the Stedman’s Store at Royalty Oaks shopping centre. In those days I was young single and keenly interested in the large selection of pretty girls working in the various Kmart depts. My mission to the Stedman store was to look for a new shirt. I came across one displayed on the counter with a nice tie attached. I bought it on the spot and headed for home pleased with my purchase. The next day Jim Duckworth the KMart store manager sent for me. I was mystified. why would he want to see me, after all I wasn’t a Kmart employee. In his office he introduced me to the manager from the Stedman store. He had a complaint, apparently the shirt and tie on display were not for sale as a set. He accused me of taking advance of his inexperienced sales girl, of being a smart ass and of cheating the store. I was astounded, but equally angered, I had done nothing wrong, I wasn’t a price checker, which is what he actually believed, I told him in a clear and firm voice what he could do with his shirt and tie. I would bring it back for a complete refund. Jim backed me up explaining that I was in the automotive centre and had nothing to do with price checking. If I had bought the shirt and tie it had been done in good faith. The Stedman manager now somewhat embarrassed, apologized to me and hoped I would understand his mistake. My reply was to tell him I would return his shirt and tie today after work and promised never to set foot in his store again. I don’t suppose he ever brought his car to me for service either????
Those days in 1969 were indeed strange and often exciting. Islanders were not used to big dept stores and consequently we were very busy. We had a new guarantee that until we opened up for business did not exist on the island. “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Money Cheerfully Refunded”. People loved it, some abused it but overall it was a success and hated by the competition. The parking lot always seemed to be full of cars, trucks, pedestrians and even the odd tractor. Once I watched an old couple arrive in a horse and buggy.
Later I met Linda my wife of over forty years at the Kmart, remember the satisfaction guarantee?? but that is another story.

God Bless and keep reading.

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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