Weapons Of Mall Destruction
By Neil McKinnon
It started innocently. Early one Wednesday morning Muriel Treppingthwaite, a Vancouver housewife, bundled her three boys, Tim, Horton, Don and her daughter, Cherry into the backseat of her 1993 Saturn Sedan and headed south to pick up cheap granola in a Bellingham shopping mall. Until that Wednesday, Mrs. Treppingthwaite’s life had been remarkable only for its unremarkableness. Little did she know that she was to become a key figure in an international incident.
“Little did I know that I was to become a key figure in an international incident,” Treppingthwaite says. “We usually go on Wednesdays. That way I avoid the weekend pile-up at the border. Of course other people have the same idea so there’s also a Wednesday pile-up. I gave the kids a box of oreos and some diet pop to shush them up in case those super microphones were turned on.”
Treppingthwaite says that U.S. border personnel routinely listen in on Canadians’ car conversations. “You can’t let them hear you,” she warns. “One time, I was with my friend Tillie and we were discussing how much cheese we were going to buy. Sure enough, when we got to the mall we found that cheese prices had been jacked up. They probably put them back down as soon as we left.”
She goes on to say that it’s not only mall prices that fluctuate. “I usually blacken the kid’s faces before we go through border security just in case there’s someone on duty who can read facial expressions and tell if the kids are hungry. If we fool them we can get U.S. prices at the fast food outlets.”
On this particular Wednesday, Muriel finished negotiating the crossing and drove straight to Costco. “Thinking back, I probably shouldn’t have parked horizontally across three spaces,” she says. “But, my husband bought that Saturn new in 1993 and it’s the only memento I have of him since he disappeared with that hussy who used to serve coffee at Tim Horton’s. I didn’t want to chance getting a dent.”
She had barely started shopping when the first incident occurred. “I was minding my own business, loading up my cart,” Treppingthwaite says. “I’d picked up forty or fifty pounds of processed cheese, maybe fifty litres of milk, a palette of hamburger patties and some Low Fat Peanut Butter Dog Cookies for our dachshund, Rolf, when this American lady—I knew she was American because she was wearing a love it or leave it baseball cap and the back of her shorts had the 2012 Republican platform stencilled on the right cheek—she says to me, “How come you moose huggers are always coming down here and buying all our milk?”
Treppingthwaite grimaces at the memory. “I mean how rude can you be? Didn’t she know that she was talking to someone with a real health-care system? I tried to restrain myself but I was right beside the cured meats so I belted her with a Daniele Artisan Salame. That’s when all hell broke loose.”
Muriel doesn’t exaggerate. She was immediately engulfed in a melee that would have done a waterfront bar proud when the fleet was in. Word spread and fighting broke out in every part of the store. The Canadians immediately barricaded themselves in aisle 15 (Diapers and Wipes) and set up a barrage by throwing dozens of True Blue “Natural Essentials” Doggie Bath Sets over the top into aisle 16 (Cheeses, Dips and Candy) where some Americans had taken cover behind a barricade hastily constructed by piling up boxes of Snickers Marathon Chewy Chocolate Peanuts and bottles of Nacho Cheese Sauce.
“Soon there were skirmishes outside,” Muriel explains. “I was afraid for the Saturn so I fought my way to the parking lot. My worst fears were confirmed. I guess the Saturn became a target because it was all alone in the three spaces. An elderly lady—no, I can’t call her a lady—an elderly female delinquent was keying my car. She had completed one side and had she not been hampered by her walker, I’m sure she would have had time to vandalize the other side too. I sent Horton and Tim and they were able to trip her before she had time to complete her nefarious deed.”
At this point in the interview the emotion becomes too great and Treppingthwaite breaks down. It is some moments before she is able to pick up the story. “As I said, word spread and soon dozens of seniors from the care facility across the street were spilling into the parking lot. Some were armed.” The frustration of having spent years living off the Thursday morning crumbs left behind by Canadian shoppers had boiled over.
Patrolman Gerald “Scotty” McTrayler arrived at Costco just as the Canadians counter-attacked. He explains what happened next. “We tried to intervene,” he says, “but we’re a small force and once the hosers started calling for reinforcements on their cell phones, we had no choice but to close the mall. Some of those hockey pucks got in their cars and burned rubber out of town tossing frozen pizzas at local seniors and shouting, ‘We shall return.’”
Historians agree that things might have settled down at that point but unfortunately, a 25 year-old Vancouverite named Isaac Brock III organised a Shop-the-Bellingham-Costco Event for the following day. As soon as B.C. license plates started crossing the border, the President ordered in the National Guard. The show of force and some frantic behind-the-scenes negotiating at the U.N. resulted in a cease fire. However, things bogged down when the two sides couldn’t agree on the shape of the negotiating table. The Canadians wanted a rectangular table with rounded corners, the same dimensions as an NHL rink. The U.S. wanted one that was the same shape and size as Mark Spitz’s swimming pool. It was a total impasse.
A few shoppers had been trapped inside Costco. One day they managed to make their way up to the roof where they were rescued by helicopters surreptitiously sent in by Mr. Arnold Benedict, president of the American Milk Producer’s Association. Others eventually returned to Canada by sailing up the coast in a flotilla of old B.C. ferries. These so-called boat people became instant heroes and were accorded a ticker tape parade down Granville Street during a lull in the customary riot that occurs after each Vancouver Canucks hockey game.
On a sad note, there are still Canadians missing and to-date no remains have been returned. Some analysts believe that the missing shoppers are being detained at Guantánamo and will be used as bartering tools to bring the American dollar to parity with its Canadian counterpart before the next U.S. election.
Thus far the peace has held with both sides claiming victory. Much like its 200 year-old cousin, the war of 2012 ended with a whimper.
Treppingthwaite is philosophical. “Maybe by the time Tim, Horton, Don and Cherry are old enough to make cross-border buying trips on their own, the human race will have learned to shop in peace,” she says. “Until then, I never go for granola without taking my AK47.”
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