And then Bill breaks out the finance-fu: by selling the first two stores to the bank and leasing them back, the company can free up nearly $5 million in cash. Presumably, they'll use this cash to grow. I personally am very doubtful about all this, but I'm a big negative nelly that way. Don excitedly says that they'll also be able to pay down some debt. Bill drawls that he's tired of living on credit, then asks Don too-casually, "Say, do your wives have any credit cards?" Don gasps, "No way. Those are a trap. The interest rates are ridiculous."
Nicki's coming in the door with groceries when her cell phone rings. It's Barb, who's asking her to pick up a lobster pot, and while Nicki lies, "I'm happy to," she is consumed with pettiness over having to do the errand. So she exacerbates her emotional state by calling Bill and pretending that everything's all right, tra-la-la-la-la, and please don't snack on the way home because there's pork chops on the menu. Bill is not into the other white meat tonight, and tells her, "I can't see you tonight, Nicki. In fact, I don't think I can see you for a day or two." Don tries to look inconspicuous as he eavesdrops. You can imagine how well that goes. Nicki snaps the phone shut and snaps, "Boys, we have to go out again. Barb wants us to pick something up for her. As u-su-al." Wayne asks if they can get ice cream, and Nicki airily says, "We can't buy anything fun anymore. Dad said so." Nice to see that she's made a thorough examination of her spending habits and is truly committed to change.
Bill's sitting at a table at Barb's, going through Nicki's statements one by one. Barb wanders in and asks, "Won't you talk about it?" Bill bitterly replies, "What's to talk about. Look at this! The Chocolate Factory? Who pays for candy with a credit card?" It depends on the candy. I could see forking over the Mastercard for some Scharffen Berger. Bill works himself into more of a righteous snit, asking, "Why in the H did she need all that stuff anyway?" Because when you lack a legitimate outlet for external recognition of your efforts, you confuse shopping with actual productive activity and you throw purchases into the hole where a sense of accomplishment would go? Because we live in a society that does equate the act of exchanging currency for consumer goods with a legitimate achievement? Barb protests that a lot of people have this problem. Bill replies, "A lot of people are dope fiends, but I'm not married to any of them." Barb sighs, all, "At least not this season, you're not."