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Author's Note: This one actually came to me in a dream.

Subject: Re: Hottest Gadget - Rc mini cars limited time
To: Jean <>
From: Jonathan Land <>
Date: 11/20/2002

RC Mini Remote Controlled Race Cars - As seen on TV.

Sold out in stores. Best price in the country! First come first serve. Not $39.95 or $29.95 Limited Time only $19.95ea. Hurry for Christmas 

Race here Now

The all-new Mini RC Car is the latest craze for everyone of all ages! Each Mini RC Car comes complete with remote control, mini car and carrying case. It's a great gift for all ages. Take advantage of this special low price offer today. Radio-frequency remote control - wireless! Super-Micro size receiver in the car is less than 1" Has an independent front suspension Adjustable steering - Rubber tires Battery Charger Radio Controller included 5 Minutes Fast Pace Action With Only 1 Minute of Charging Assembled and ready to race.

Hello, I've just gotten your email, and I was wondering if your company does any custom jobs. I run a charity, and the type of service you provide would help me greatly with my work if you're able to think big. Here, let me tell you the amusing tale of how my organization originated.

I was sitting outside of a local supermarket in my Saturn, waiting for the crystal meth to wear off a little so I wasn't so shaky and jumpy inside the store. It's never good to look jumpy in a place of business, especially when the rent-a-cops and store managers are just looking for some action to break up the tedium. Did you know tedium is also an element on the periodic table? It makes up 40% of the shell of a Saturn!

So I was just sitting there, popping some Valium, when a group of thuggish high-school kids walked up to me and asked if they could bounce shopping carts off of my car. It seemed reasonable to me, highly entertaining for the state I was in, and of little consequence to the tediums of my current state and the durable mega-plastic crunchy outside of my vehicle, so I said, "Sure, go for it."

Have you ever played the ancient video game Asteroids? That's what it was like, except instead of turning, shooting, and dodging asteroids in my spacecraft (it was more like a triangle), I was a sitting duck observing all the loose shopping carts in the parking lot barreling towards me, making contact, then bouncing off as far as friction would let them go, and it was icy out, so man, did they go. I felt like a proud and dexterous octopus father, playing catch with eight of my children simultaneously. After a little while I felt that I reached a reasonable enough state to engage the shopping public and I kindly asked the kids to stop long enough for me to get out of the car. They did, and then they resumed the festivities. It was a beautiful sight. It was like my own personal MayDay, but instead of young, gleeful children dancing around ribbons tethered to a large pole, despondent teens were actually having fun for once thanks to my tiny sacrifice, and understanding that they needed to do this. It warmed my heart.

The 3 kids to the left of my car held their fire. I got out, thanked them, and told them if anyone starts hassling them to say that I'm in the store and they are acting with my full permission. As I headed towards the supermarket, I noticed that an employee had just finished waxing the floor. It was so shiny, and I pictured the shoppers inside gliding along with large strides, as if they were ice skating across the smooth linoleum.

Then it hit me. I turned around, got into the nearest shopping cart, and asked the nearest kid to do the honors. I sailed back to my car, made contact, recoiled a few inches, and then hopped out. I raised my hand in the air and everyone stopped. I gathered them around and they seemed receptive to what I had to say.

"Listen. I don't want to give you a lecture here, but I hope you all realize that there's more to life than this. Things might seem bleak and dull to you right now, believe me, I've been there, but things get better, trust me. You got to think bigger and do things beyond your expectations. That being said, everyone stand back, I'll show you what I mean. Check this out."

I got into my car, started it up, did a few donuts in the parking lot to get up to speed, and then I drove directly towards the window of the supermarket where the large collection of shopping carts were. I got a nice lift off of the sidewalk, and plowed right through the glass, hitting the three tidy rows of carts at about 75 miles per hour.

They went ricocheting off in all directions, bouncing up and down the aisles, defying friction on the newly waxed floors. As the shoppers leapt forward and back given their position versus the oncoming cart, the wheels in motion were knocking stuff off of the shelves and right into the themselves from various sections, creating a reasonable but large collection of things to shop for in each cart. Like a hundred pinballs, they kept going throughout the store until the weight of the groceries forced them inevitably to stop. Nothing hit the ground and not even the most sluggish octogenarian was hit.

The quick thinking manager announced that anyone in the store who bought the contents of a given cart as is would get a 20% discount. I'm sure he realized as I did that it would save the staff the time and effort of restocking everything. It worked! People were perusing the carts, found the one that best suited their needs, and proceeded to checkout, where all the lanes were open and bustling. I think it's the first time I've ever seen that in any store. Of course, there was a little fighting between shoppers over the carts which were already in the store and had occupants in the top, baby-seat portion of the cart. The parents in of the toddler of a given cart felt that they were entitled to that particular cart, while other shoppers who were either considering having a baby of their own, adopting, or merely hearing their biological clock ticking with every second as a thunderous clap, snatched up the carts with the babies because they thought the kids would come with the discount. Most of the babies were laughing, having been on their first thrill ride, except for one sissy in produce who was bawling and assumedly crapped himself. The manager hastily made a further announcement that all children would go home with the adults they originally arrived at the store with.

I went over to the manager to apologize. I gave him my phone number and address to send the bill for the window I crashed through. He was a little peeved, but he realized that since people were buying the full shopping carts, they were making a lot more money than usual. I then drove my car slowly with my flashers on through the automatic doors.

I stopped in front of the group of teens in the parking lot who were still in awe of my stunt. They all thought I was "the shit" (that's a good thing), and they seemed truly inspired.

"You see what I mean?" I said, "You've got to think big, and believe in yourselves. Try not to cause too much property damage like I have, because that's a bad thing, but I think you get my point." I waved goodbye to them and went home.

The next day I got a call from the manager asking me to come over to the store. I got my checkbook, and went over. When I got there, the window I broke was replaced by sliding doors, and a ramp up from the sidewalk. I walked in, and over to the manager. I apologized again, and asked how much I owed him. For some reason he was actually smiling at me from ear to ear, and giving me a look like he wanted to chase me around the salad bar and play grabass. He said, "Son, don't worry about it, it was our biggest non-holiday day ever!" I said, "Really? That's great. Are you sure you don't want me to pay for your new set up? I see that you took preventative measures with the ramp and sliding doors, but I promise to never do that again. I also had some admiring onlookers, but I already had a talk with them about not emulating my actions..."

He cut me off.... "Son, can you come here every Tuesday and pull off that stunt? I'm already having flyers made up for our 'Jackass Discount Tuesdays'."

"I swear on my dead mamma's mamma!"

I then did the crowd-pleasing sales stunt every week for excited onlookers. I had my car detailed with the name of the store, the amount of the discount, and the day and time of the event. In return, besides getting to pull off that glorious daredevil act, I got two free full shopping carts of my choice. Since I did it every week, I had this stockpile of food that was more than I could ever consume, so I became extremely popular with many organizations that collect food and redistribute it to those in need. That felt really good.

I never saw that coming, of course. I was merely trying to get some kids interested in doing slightly more with themselves than standing around a parking lot, committing mindless acts.

Anyway... I've had more requests from other supermarkets to pull off the same thing, and I'm more than happy to comply. I'm currently pulling in 16 carts of groceries a week, and bombarding all the charities I can with them. I'm very pleased, but I see an even greater potential. What if I were to bring this program to a national level? Imagine all the food donations! Of course, I'd promote it with a cross-country road trip, where I'd do my act with participating supermarkets along the way who'll be waxing their floors to their shiniest for me, but obviously I can't be everywhere at once. I also would feel very uncomfortable having others do it because, of course, there's a potential risk to self involved.

So I got your email, and thought maybe with proportionally larger equipment, you could rig a standard LS2 series Saturn to be remote controlled. Possibly even pre-programmed with a timer to do it's thing. Surely if scientists have been able to launch unmanned rockets into space, you guys can launch an unmanned car up a ramp and through a window. You do it with little unmanned cars! This will reflect very well on your business. Don't make me have to team up with r.c. car conglomerate Radio Shack on this one. I think it would be cool to keep this as a grassroots thing.

So are you prepared to think as big as I do? I can't tell you how rewarding this'll be.

Let me know if we can work together, and thanks,
Jonathan Land

See an illustrated holiday variation of this story at

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