The goal: to get to Nevis from St. Martin. The problem: The charter captain, the man responsible for taking us from the St. Martin airport to Nevis' little strip of flat land, can't be found. The stakes: an angry wife and two overly Nintendoed children who have been traveling for seven hours and wish only to be back at school!
The solution? Well, what did I pay those thousands of dollars to
for if not for this precious moment, this delicious moment, when I can get on the phone to my super-de-duper travel agent and get a pilot down here pronto to take care of this problem?
I take the phone out of my carry-on, and heads turn on the tarmac. "What is that, a first-generation cellphone?" some New Yorker standing nearby shouts out. "No, it's daddy's space-age phone that can call anybody anywhere at any time," my eldest says. Boy, can she remember ads, especially ones her father has repeated over and over about his new phone.
I whip out the attenna. I press on. My wife is saying what a genius I am to have gotten this incredibly expensive toy.
And what does it say? "Weak signal."
No way. I remember those ads on
. The ones where some guy who looked like Shackleton crossing Antarctica on foot gets a signal. Must be a mistake.
I try it again. Weak signal. I push through anyway. Nothing. Signal's too weak from the tarmac of the St. Martin airport.
I try it again.
The guy from New York is laughing his head off. My kids are in disbelief. My wife whispers in my ear: "When we get back I want you to short every share of this ^%&^#&^%."
I tell her it is restricted -- you can't borrow a share.
"Figures," she says.
No wonder this stock goes down every day.
(Editor's Note: Iridium this morning reported a loss of $505 million for its first quarter and warned of a revenue shortfall.)
Speaking of companies that go down every day, right before we went away I wanted to get my kids the
Nintendo cartridges and some Pokemon games, whatever the heck that is. That meant going to
Toys R Us
. Talk about atrocious places to go! I would have paid a kid to go in and get it for me, if there had been anybody around.
I walk in and go to the Nintendo aisle. Of course they are out of what I want. I get some others that nobody wants, which means, of course, that I get pieces of paper giving me the right to get in another line after I have paid for the cartridges. Then I get in line at the register before I can get in the other line.
A fight breaks out in front of me. A shopper has an item that is not priced. The cashier refuses to help. The shopper doesn't want to go back to where he picked it up. He was in a hurry. It's a Mexican standoff. The screaming becomes heated. There is cursing. My kids are with me. They are asking me what the words mean.
Finally, after three minutes, a manager comes over looking totally dumbfounded. No apologies to the customer. No help, either. Finally, someone else is called over to help get a price. The whole thing seems to be occurring in slow motion. The customer says he is never coming back. Ever.
And people want to know why the online toy stores are winning the battle?
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at