For weeks, we’ve been meaning to call into the Makana Chocolate Factory. At least, I’VE been meaning to call in and coerce Husband to accompany me all the time bitterly contemplating why it should be necessary to apply force to get anyone into a CHOCOLATE FACTORY! With FREE SAMPLES!!! As stated on the flyer I’d picked up in some gift shop or other.
The factory was practically on our way into Blenheim; a small detour, at least according to the (same) flyer. The map implied the factory was just off the SH1, about three car lengths along Rapaura Road just before the next left turn.
This turned out to be somewhat erroneous and would still have been misleading even had the map stated ‘not to scale’. We were looking for a U-turn about 3km down Rapaura Road when we came upon the factory.
Our plan was a ruthless hit-and-run, the objective to ensure the FREE SAMPLES!!! were as plural as possible without resorting to blatant theft.
We got off to a promising start: a FREE SAMPLE!!! of macadamia butter toffee crunch and a citrus jelly square. After snorting that down, we prowled around the gift shop.
“If there’s anything you’d like to taste, just let me know,” said the saleswoman.
Score! I thought, I OWN her.
In fact, although she looked deceptively mild, she was cunning and remorseless. I underestimated her. The hunter became the hunted. There’s a famous book that I can’t remember the title of but it begins with ‘D’ (possibly vaguely biblical, three-four syllables), where the protagonist’s family is slaughtered and he exacts terrible retribution upon their executioners, and it was totally like that, but only a little bit.
I made a rookie mistake – no, actually two: I MADE EYE CONTACT and then – even worse – INITIATED CONVERSATION.
I know, I know.
After establishing that business was humming due to the factory’s location on the tourist wine trail, the saleswoman said:
“I can always tell, when customers walk in the door. Which ones will buy, and which are just mean, cheap, useless, freeloading time wasters.”
(I’m paraphrasing, but that’s roughly what I heard.)
“Really?” I said, “so which are we?”
“Oh, I couldn’t say.”
Of course, we bought two boxes of chocolates. I was determined either to a) prove her wrong and stick it to her; or b) justify the saleswoman’s initial favourable impression of us as thoughtful, generous, decent, unfreeloading customers.