(121) 'The Birthday Card Fiasco'

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Ken
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(121) 'The Birthday Card Fiasco'

Ken
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This post was updated on .
Many years ago I picked up a scruffy notebook and began writing in it some short headlines that would remind me of certain stories I'd enjoy sharing with people.  Every time a memory surfaced, I'd write it down, before it once again became forgotten.  Over the years these headlines numbered in the hundreds and, on the odd occasion, I'd trot one of them out to entertain my friends.  Of course, I didn't know then that these memory jogs would act as the inspiration for so many of the 'Kens Cosy' memories that I've written in recent years.  I've  enjoyed sharing these memories but, because most of the notebooks contents have now been told, its job is almost done.  This will mean my, 'Kens Cosy,' output will lessen greatly for I don't think my pontifications about the parlous state of the modern world will interest many people. However, if events bring a suitable memory to the surface of my mind I will once again share it with you.

One such story that wasn't in the scruffy little book came to light recently and it happened thus.  I'd sent my nephew Pete a birthday card that arrived three weeks early and he'd immediately sent me an email, suggesting that my confusion on dates may be linked to my confused decision to vote Tory in the recent Election.  It would be fair to say that Pete is not overly fond of the Conservatives and he ended his amusing email by implying one way I could prove I still retained my sanity was by sending him a second card, this one to arrive on time.  This I did, but it was not the sort of card that my dear nephew was expecting.  I now take you back in time to the mid 1970's when my star was shining brightly and my confidence knew no bounds.  If you were to ride on a double decker bus anywhere in the Surrey of that time, there was a chance it would be emblazoned with the name, 'SupaSports.'  The whole of the bus was covered in the most brilliant, eye catching, colours, and I'd arranged for it's route to cover all the villages close to my SupaSports shops.  It was a marketing gem I was proud of and it worked fantastically well!

Every October throughout the 1970's, the Sports trade held its largest trade fair at the 'National Exhibition Centre' in Birmingham.  It was there the retailers could meet the suppliers and, over a five day period, I'd visit the various stalls and consider who best to buy from . I'd meet the bosses of all the top company's, Puma, Dunlop, Slazenger and the like, people I'd known well for years.  In the evenings they'd all want to wine and dine me and my capacity for absorbing alcohol put me in good stead for the booze filled, business deals, we'd negotiate.  As enjoyable as these meetings with the trades top brass were, I valued more, the meetings with the smaller companies that I may not even know.  These were the sort of people I'd search for at all the trade shows and it was they who were on my mind on the Sunday morning of 1976 when I'd stepped onto a resplendent, 'SupaSports,' double decker bus and said to the driver, "Birmingham please." Of course it was all pre-planned, for with me were my entire, Surrey, staff, who'd all left their homes in time to catch that 4'am bus.  Mostly slim, mostly male, and all of them sports mad, they were dressed in black trousers and yellow sweat shirts with the SupaSports logo clearly emblazoned on the back. I rang the bell and we were off, my staffs job was to make an impression on the entire sports trade.

Having stopped for breakfast en-route, it was a happy crowd who'd arrived early at the almost empty, exhibition centre's car park.  As the cars began to arrive and the park filled up I noticed all eyes turned towards the dazzling 'SupaSports' bus that towered above them.  I'd already given my staff a pep talk and handed each of them a bright yellow case, embossed with the SupaSports logo.  Each of these contained twenty five of my business cards, but these were not the usual size cards that I carried.  These measured App. 10"x 6" (26cm x 15cm), which was an enormous size for a business card.  When the show opened, my staff went from stand to stand, showing interest in the various products and talking up our companies potential. They'd then say that I'd be visiting soon and, with a great flourish, they'd hand over a giant, 'Ken Tuffs of SupaSports,' business card.  The end result was when I eventually visited their stand, my arrival was eagerly awaited.  SupaSports had been talked about which meant getting the terms I desired became easier.  All because of a little bit of egotistical showmanship and doing something different!

At the end of that Sunday, the SupaSports bus and my Surrey staff, headed back to Guildford.  I'd left them with my thanks and a large supply of beer for the return journey.  I learned later that they'd enjoyed a harmonious sing song session along the way and even the driver had joined in.  I spent the next four days doing what I was good at and many of my new suppliers made mention of the over the top business cards.  All bar three were handed out on that Sunday excursion and two of them are still in my proud possession of SupaSports memorabilia.  The other one, you have probably gathered, became the second birthday card that Peter Tuffs demanded I send.  I don't know what made me think of  turning it into a postcard, but I drew a black line down the centre of the back of the card and wrote his address on the right hand side. On the other side I wrote his birthday message and then I handed it to Jenny for posting. My son Morgan was with us at the time and when he enquired about the origin of such a ridiculously large business card I told him the above story, which he'd never heard. Hence this 'Kens Cosy' Story No.121.

PS.  There is an update to this story that began with a request from nephew Pete for a second card that should arrive on time.  It didn't.  To my mind it should have, but when Jenny posted it she only put on a regular first class stamp.  This was apparently 11 pence short and so the delivery was withheld. The Post Office advised Pete that he could collect it if he paid the 11p, plus a one pound administration fee.  This he duly did and was therefore able to collect the mystery item ...... I hope he wasn't too disappointed!

PPS.  JWPANWHBPB.
Ken
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Re: (121) 'The Birthday Card Fiasco'

Ken
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This totally forgotten memory of an unusual bus ride was triggered by the saga of two birthday cards.