Canadian Rental Service

All I want for Christmas…

By Steve Milcik   

Features Business Intelligence

Buh-bye 2008. Don’t let the door hit you on the a$$ on your way out

Buh-bye 2008. Don’t let the door hit you on the a$$ on your way out

As the year comes to a merciful end, our thoughts drift to chestnuts roasting on an open fire, gaily-wrapped gifts nestled under the colourfully decorated artificial tree and the arrival of beaver-thumping season (what…this isn’t a tradition in your house?). Looking back at 2008, I think we can all agree that as years go, this one probably wasn’t one that anyone wishes to remember.

Idea #1: Naked Rentals – This tried, tested and true method of drawing in clients is a no-brainer.  All employees will greet and serve clients wearing nothing but pasties and a spandex thong while disco music blares in the background. Customers who rent a Bobcat also get a lap-dance.

Idea #2: Deal or No Deal – Clients choose a briefcase that has a rental price inside of it. Howie Mandel then tries to convince them to choose another case that potentially holds a better rate.


Idea #3: Goodfella’s Rentals – When clients rent from you, you up-sell them other products. If they refuse, shoot them in the kneecap. If the rental is late, leave a horse’s head in their bed.

Idea #4: Guest Stars – Have personalities from the rental world come and spend a week at your store. Imagine the crowds that would gather to watch Mandy Maeren lube up a chainsaw.

Idea #5: The Funny Page – Be immortalized by one of the most prolific and talented writers of our time…ME. Publicity is key, and for a cash donation of large, unmarked, non-sequentially numbered bills, you too can have your store profiled in this very space.

Sure, there were some highpoints, such as all the very successful trade shows put on by the Canadian Rental Association (CRA), most of which resulted in a lot of laughs, a few tears, some bruises and at least one tattoo. My lovely wife Sophie is still not convinced that “Long Live the Queen” on my buttocks is referring to her. On a personal note, business was good for Orion, but as goes the rental industry, so do we. Old friends have returned to us (hiya Darren!) and I have been blessed with a new editor-in-progress (hiya Katerina-Efthimia Stephanie Ballas Skalkos!)

Speaking with many of you has clearly illustrated how the global economic crisis has affected small rental businesses across Canada. People are scared, and hesitant to make any investments, be it in equipment or software. Theoretically, the climate should be ripe for rental stores to improve their business…construction companies are less likely to purchase the equipment they need, so they’ll rent it instead. People will still get married, so the party side should not be adversely affected. Still, in times of uncertainty, people keep a firm grip on their wallets, which has an impact on all of us.

With 2009 right around the corner, we need to take a leap of faith and look forward to a better year. Sure, we’ll all have to work harder and smarter, and find new ways to increase and grow our businesses. But how? Lucky for you, I am here to share my wealth of knowledge and creative skills to help all of you to bring new services to your clients. No need to thank me, for I am naught but your humble servant, and it is my pleasure to aid my brothers and sisters of the rental world. Of course, feel free to name any future children after me.

Wrap up those ideas with a pretty bow, and you have your gift from me for this holiday season.  Enjoy it, because you may not get any others. Rumour has it that poor old Santa may be having some marriage issues at the moment, and that he and Mrs. Claus may be heading towards a divorce. Tabloids have reported that he’s replaced all his elves with scantily clad Swedish exchange students, and that he traded in his sleigh for a van with a waterbed. He’s also been spending a little too much time with the life-sized Holiday Barbie.

Mrs. Claus was overheard calling him “that fat freak in the red underwear,” and lately, she keeps “forgetting” to tie her robe when she brings the elves their morning coffee.

Well, now that I have offended all of those who view Santa and the Christmas tradition as sacred, allow me to send my most heartfelt wishes to all of you in the most politically-correct way possible.

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion, as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all; plus, a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due, respect for the calendars of choice of the other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regards to the race, creed, colour, religious, and/or sexual preferences of the wish receivers. (Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for him/herself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

Steve Milcik writes from Montreal, Que., and when he isn’t typing slowly with two fingers, he sells rental software for Orion. Feel free to fill his inbox with spam at

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