I walked into the small but jam-packed downtown Duluth kitchen supply store looking for a gift. It was five days before Christmas.
“What can we help you with today?” asked the lady behind the counter. A man stood to her left. There was no one else in the store.
“Well, my wife wants a really good knife for Christmas,” I said, explaining my mission and then adding, “I’m not sure what whe’s planning to do with it but I guess I’ll take my chances…”
The couple laughed. Dark humor during the holidays.
“Well, you came to the right place,” said the lady. She was a middle-aged woman, well-dressed, with a blonde-bob haircut and glasses. “What kind of knife does she want? We have all kinds of knives.”
I wasn’t ready for specifics. I just figured they would direct me to a good all-purpose kitchen knife. I’d take a look and pick the one with a reasonable price tag.
The woman explained the store carried very specialized kitchen knives. Meat knives. Vegetable knives. Cheese knives. Bread knives. Long and short blades. Serrated. Fork-tipped. It went on and on. She took me into an adjoining room and showed me a display case full of German knives. Top of the line stuff.
The man was also middle-aged and well dressed. He had a big smile and lots of energy. He showed me a long, narrow knife and had me hold it. “Feel how balanced it is? Now press it down on the counter.”
I pushed the tip into the countertop. The knife bent like a fishing pole and quickly sprung back into form. The man said it was a the sign of durable knife. I believed him.
I told the couple I was unsure about the knife style. “All I know is she was in the kitchen one day cutting something, had some problems and flipped out. She said: ‘If you want to get me something for Christmas, go to that kitchen store downtown and get me a decent knife.’ So that’s why I’m here.”
The lady produced a box with serrated, all-purpose knife. Four-and-a-half inch blade. It came with a wooden cutting board.
“Perfect,” I said. Done deal.
“Do you want a bag?” said the lady as she rang up my credit card.
“Sure,” I said.
The woman reached under the counter and pulled up a pink Victoria’s Secret bag.
“Ha, she’ll never guess what’s inside,” said the lady with a laugh. But the bag was too short. It was like trying to put a computer screen in a grocery sack. She picked up another recycled bag. It was bigger but didn’t carry the women’s lingerie store logo.
“That’s OK, That’s OK. Keep the Victoria’s Secret bag,” I said. Afterall, I’m not above a little gift giving deception.
“Well, you don’t want her using this in the bedroom, do you?” said the lady with laugh.
“Noooooo,” I said.
“Hey,” said the man. “We’re not selling him a SAUSAGE knife!”
Everyone laughed at that one.
The knife box was stuffed into the Victoria’s Secret bag and I left the store with a smile.
On Christmas, I gave Jen her new kitchen knife. It was wrapped inside the pink Victoria’s Secret bag.
I think she liked it…but she hasn’t used it yet.