Thursday, March 01, 2007

Vicki's Comic Misadventures

I could probably do an entire blog series on some of the funnier moments Vicki and I have shared regarding comics over the years, but for now I'll just describe what happened yesterday.

I asked my lovely and considerate-beyond-description wife if she'd mind picking up this week's comics after work on Wednesday, since that was the day I was salvaging my bike riding streak and having to bike to the comic store and back would've been an extra impediment to my decision. As is always the case, she happily picked up the chore and reminded me to send her the list of what to buy. Which I did.

When I got home, there was my bag of comics, waiting for me on the kitchen table. I thanked Vicki again for saving me an additional trek over ice and snow, and for being the best wife ever. She told me that one of the comics on my list - Dr Strange: The Oath # 5, which title I always seem to have trouble getting - had sold out so she hadn't been able to get me one. But the comic store owner was ordering more, so no biggie.

After supper, I got a chance to look over the comics before plopping them down with last week's, awaiting cataloguing and reading. Among my many, many strange habits and quirks is my tendency to always count comics whenever I get them. It usually goes beyond that, as not only do I count them but I generally re-sort them into alphabetical order (by title) thanks to years of cataloguing them on paper, in a binder that was arranged by title. But in this case, I simply counted them, since I knew how many I'd asked Vicki to buy.

And that was the number I ended up with. But if she hadn't been able to get a Dr Strange, how was that possible? So I counted them again, and got the same answer. At first I thought maybe the comic store owner had included something that wasn't on my list, which is far from unheard of and generally OK - I can always return it - since sometimes I discover new titles that way. But no, they all looked like they were from my list. So how can I be short a comic, only have ones I asked for, and still have the right total?

Obviously, I needed to solve this mystery, so I went ahead and started re-arranging them into alphabetical order. Which quickly revealed the answer: Vicki'd come home with 2 copies of one of them! (Supergirl and Legion of Super-Heroes # 27, for future historians.)

Relieved, I took the 2 copies out to the kitchen where Vicki was, and showed her the top one, saying, "So, do you like this copy better...." and then slid the 2nd copy out from under it, adding "... or this one?" She was naturally surprised to find out there were 2 copies of the same comic, and couldn't fathom how it had happened. Since I've come home with an extra copy on more than one occasion - and folks, I'm a professional! - it didn't seem all that unlikely to me. But she was sure there hadn't been a duplicate when she picked them out. She had me check the receipt, which meant adding up all of the cover prices, accounting for my generous discount at the store, and adding taxes on, only to discover that sure enough, she hadn't been charged for the 2nd copy! That particular piece of information was relevant to me, since I know how the checkout process works, and while it's entirely possible that neither Vicki nor the owner would've spotted that there were 2 copies - they could've been spread out in the pile, after all - it seemed nearly impossible that the 2nd copy would also not have been tallied up.

After a couple minutes of thinking - Vicki'd already moved on! - I realized what almost certainly must have happened. It only makes sense that she took my pile of comics to the counter, they got 'rung through' (which is actually just a matter of him punching numbers into a handheld calculator!) and then he placed the pile on the counter while he got a bag out for them. I can only guess there must've been another copy of Supergirl and the LSH under the pile when he put them down, such that when he picked them up, he grabbed the extra comic by mistake. I suppose I'll never know for sure, but I like this theory because:

1) It 'clears' Vicki, as I know she takes comic buying seriously and wouldn't have grabbed the same comic twice.

2) It's consistent with the facts: 2nd copy wasn't charged, Vicki was sure there was no 2nd copy, one of the copies was at the bottom of the pile when I opened the bag, and I know the owner's routine well enough to see how this could easily happen.

So now I've got one of the books back in the bag, ready to take to the store next Wednesday. I'm sure the proprietor will enjoy the story, and maybe he'll even say, "So that's where it went!" although I doubt it...

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