Yesterday a madman bought a power-saw from your store and immediately switched it on and ran out into the street screaming and grinding away at anyone who got in his way on the sidewalk. It's not the first time this has happened, not by a long shot. But it's not getting any easier to go out to the houses of the murder victims and apologize for selling the weapon that chopped up their relatives.
'I'm a pretty good judge of people,' you tell them. 'I wouldn't sell to a man if I thought I saw blood in his eyes. But yesterday was real busy at the store and well you know how it gets.' That's about the point where the family forgives you and thanks you for coming all this way and you start handing out manager's discretion discount coupons.
Yesterday's mayhem yielded a mortality rate of just one married man. Today after you clean the blood and tissue off the window, you'll visit his wife and find she doesn't plan to let you off the hook so easily.
'What can I say,' you'll tell her. 'The place was a zoo and I just didn't get a good sense of the guy. I plan to hire more help though. It's been a really good year. Anyway, thanks for the tea.'
'Not good enough,' she'll say.
You'll say, 'Beg pardon?'
'I do not forgive you,' she'll say. 'You sold the saw that ripped my husband into pieces and robbed his son of a father. Had you not sold the saw, my husband would be alive today. I'm sorry, but I don't forgive you.'
This has never happened before, and you'll be so blown away you'll barely be able to catch enough breath to ask her why.
'What can I give you that'll open your heart?' you'll ask.
'I never liked the way I met my husband,' she'll say. 'He was the son of my father's boss. Terribly boring way to meet the love of your life.'
'Well I can't change the way you met your husband.'
'My husband is dead,' she'll say. 'I need a second husband now, and I'd like to have a good meet-cute story to tell at dinner parties.'
'You mean like, He showed up and apologized for selling the power-saw that killed my first husband, and when I looked in his eyes I just knew?'
'Precisely,' she'll say.
If she doesn't forgive you, you know you won't be able to unlock that store again. The guilt will be too overwhelming. You and your family will be ruined.
'Done,' you'll tell her. 'Now do you forgive me?'
'I could never stay mad at you!' she'll say, throwing her arms around your neck. 'Oh I'm going to make you so happy!'
Tonight you'll go home and explain to your wife and daughters that you're only getting this divorce so that you can keep the power-saw store in operation. Yes, you have to remarry immediately, but it's only because you want to be a good provider. They'll never forgive you, but at least their grudge won't make you close up shop.
Happy The Contrition of the Power-Saw Salesman Day!