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After reading about my difficulties with multi-tool acquisition, Seth decided he’d enjoy rubbing my nose in it by buying one himself. What better way for Seth to mock Jack’s inability to acquire nice things from an international market than to buy one himself and tell me how great it is?
Well – he found a way. He wrote a story that really nails home that he’s got something I don’t have.
Articles of Intent
Sir Seth of Goddwinington
“Can I see some ID, Sir?”
Welcome to my life, where this is a daily occurrence. I can practically count on it. While smoking in public isn’t exactly banned, it’s heavily frowned upon and guarantees mild harassment from any passing police officers. Outside of the capital though, the police aren’t militarised, so if you treat them with human respect they normally return the favour. Some even turn out to be pretty nice guys, people that, out of uniform, I’d happily have a beer with.
These two… who could tell? One was average height and build, and very cleanly shaven. He seemed to be in charge. The other was a little more stocky and sported a well maintained moustache. He seemed to be the junior officer, and if I was going to have any trouble, it would more likely be from him.
“Good evening officers. I’m perfectly happy to tell you who I am: I’m Malcolm Taylor, but this is a nation of laws—none of which I’m currently breaking—and accordingly, I’m not obliged to show you any ID unless you arrest me first. Not trying to be difficult, of course…”
“Well, you are smoking in public, Mr Taylor,” said the junior officer.
“That’s not against the law,” I reminded him.
“But it doesn’t look good,” added the senior officer. “This is a school zone, and you standing here smoking could be interpreted as loitering. Now, I don’t want to arrest you—waste your time, spoil your evening—over something as minor as this, that we have no hope of charging you with anyway, but we can avoid all that if you just play along and show me some ID.”
Even in the counties, the police still have this manipulative way of speaking, making out that they’re doing me a favour by inviting me to have them violate my rights. I don’t know if they learn it at basic training, or if it’s this very arrogance that drives them to become police in the first place. Who could tell?
“Sorry, officer,” I said. “I’m afraid I must insist. Am I free to go?”
The two officers looked at each other, and after a few communicative glances, they nodded their heads and returned their attention to me.
“Mr Taylor,” said the senior officer. “I’m placing you under arrest on suspicion of loitering with intent. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.”
As he reached around his belt for his handcuffs, I felt it wise to volunteer some pertinent information.
“Thank you, officer. By way of advanced disclosure, I have in my possession a multitool. It’s inert and kept in a dedicated sheath in my satchel pocket. I don’t want you to mistake it for a weapon.”
“I see, Mr Taylor. We’ll look at it when we reach the station.”
“Suspicion of loitering with intent?! Have you lost your mind?!”
“He wasn’t being cooperative, Sarge. We gave him fair chance to show us ID and he refused, on some kind of principle.”
“That’s not an arrestable offence, and you know it. If he makes a complaint, then the Chief will have our heads. Still, that horse has already bolted. I suggest we tread very carefully on this one.”
The Custody Sergeant was a much older, and clearly more seasoned officer than the other two. His years of desk duty had also likely taken its toll, as he was a little overweight and no longer had the imposing edge that most beat coppers exhibit.
He heaved himself up from his seat, walked around the charge desk and approached my seat in the waiting area, the other two officers flanked behind him. Brandishing a very extensive set of keys, he leaned over and carefully removed my handcuffs.
“I do apologise for the trouble, Sir,” he said mournfully. “My junior officers are a little too eager in their duties on occasion, and if that’s the case here, we’ll have you on your way as soon as we can. But once they make an arrest, there’s a process that has to be followed.”
“I would expect nothing less, Sergeant,” I said.
“Well, we’ll try to get you processed as quickly as possible and we’ll soon sort all this out. Let’s skip the holding cell and head straight for the interview room.”
The three of them escorted me into a less than friendly environment, sparsely furnished with three chairs and a bolted down table with two antiquated tape recorders off to one side. The desk sergeant made a point of leaving the door open and gestured for me to sit down on the far side of the table. Him and the other senior officer sat opposite while the junior officer stood near the door.
“I think we can skip the recording—let’s keep this informal for now. I’m Sergeant Typhoea, and these are Constables Scapula and Ursines”
“Evening all!” said Scapula, the arresting officer. (That’s how the police really say, ‘Hello.’) “Mr Taylor, you mentioned when I arrested you that you had in your possession some kind of weapon?”
“A multitool,” I corrected, “which I made a point of saying was not a weapon. It’s in my satchel.”
“My apologies, a multitool. Could you show it to us please?”
“Certainly,” I said, reaching for my satchel. Carefully I reached into its side pocket and pulled out a black nylon sheath which I held up for the officers to see. I popped open the case and removed the shiny steel tool, placing it lightly on the table in front of me. The officers’ eyes lit up as if enraptured by a thing of great beauty. “It’s a Leatherman Wave+, a good mid-range tool, and currently the world’s best seller. You’ll probably find a lot of people carry these.”
“I see,” said Scapula. “But why were you concerned about us finding it?”
“Well it does have a very sharp blade, if you’ll allow me to show you.” I picked up the multitool and proceeded to open the primary blade. Placing it back on the table, I continued, “It’s less than 3 inches so not much use as a weapon, but you could hurt yourself with it if you’re not careful.”
Scapula reached over and picked up the knife by the handle. He examined it closely and cautiously touched the blade, nodding that it was indeed very sharp. Nodding again with some sense of satisfaction, he placed it back on the table.
Next it was Typhoea’s turn to examine it. He also seemed quite impressed, but rather than risk cutting himself, he decided to try to close it.
“Ah, you can’t close it like that. As a safety measure, all blades and other tools have built-in locking mechanisms. At the hilt, you’ll see a small tab you have to push down to release the blade for closure. Having that means you can safely use the knife and exert some significant pressure without fear of it snapping back.”
Typhoea identified the locking tab, and after successfully closing the blade, he placed it down on the table again. “It does feel like a very durable, well put-together tool. What else does it do?”
“Well,” I began, picking up the multitool and opening some of the other tools. “In its folded condition, you have the primary blade you just saw, which you should note is 420HC steel—this is a good compromise between useability and durability. We don’t want it getting corroded during the often lengthy periods of time it’ll remain stowed. You also have a near identical blade with a serrated edge for cutting less solid materials, such as rope. It sports a wood and metal file with an additional diamond file on the opposite side, and a saw which is a perfect size for very small trees. All of them lock securely into position, of course.”
I closed all the blades and unfolded the tool completely to the sound of gasps.
“Unfolded, you can already see we have sturdy multi-use pliers—needlenose and regular, with built-in wire-cutters. The handle is also rounded making it very comfortable to hold. Along the shaft we also have extending paper-scissors, multiple screw drivers with reversible heads and a bottle opener that doubles as a tin opener. Along the edge, you’ll note ruler markings in both metric and imperial—if you can get the shaft just straight, the two combine into a single, slightly under 8 inch ruler.”
As the two nodded along, Ursines decided it was his time to chime in. “That’s all well and good,” he began. “But speaking honestly, when are you ever going to need one of those?”
“Exactly!” I enthused. “When you know you’re going to need a screwdriver, you carry a screwdriver; when you know you’re going to need a spanner, you carry a spanner. This is for all those other times when you have no idea what you’re going to need.
“My wife actually made a similar point when I first brought it home. ‘I can’t imagine any scenario where one of those will be useful,’ she said. ‘Me neither,’ I agreed. ‘This tool was designed to compensate for my alarming lack of imagination in that regard.’ A couple of weeks later, she ended up buying one herself—not the same one, mind. She went for a Micra. It’s smaller and lighter, and has different features, but it’s no less sturdy.
“When you have one of these in your possession, you actually start to perceive the world differently, I find. You start to see everything as problems to be fixed, shortcomings to be improved, things that can only be done by utilising the unique qualities of the multitool. It’s like it increases your sense of usefulness. Just this morning, I noticed the toilet door was snagging slightly on the frame when I opened and closed it. I popped out the wood file, shaved a little off, and now it’s right as rain. That felt amazing!”
The three nodded along, my point evidently having landed well.
Typhoea raised a finger and said, “So that’s a Wave+ is it? I’m quite tempted to get one myself now.”
“You won’t regret it. The Wave+ is a good general use model and comes with a 25 year warranty, so its resale value is also good if you later decide to upgrade to one of the other versions. The Charge+ TTI is also very popular, and that has the advantages of a set of Titanium outer grips and a blade made from an even stronger metal—S30V. It does cost a fair bit more, but sits at the very top of the range.
“There are also heavy-duty options, as befitting the requirements of someone requiring more than just an occasional convenience. The Surge, for example, is the same tool as the Wave, only scaled up.”
“I think the Wave+ would probably fit my needs more than adequately,” said Typhoea, rubbing his chin.
“Not me,” said Ursines. “I’m going with the Charge+ TTI. Why settle for less?!”
“Same,” added Scapula. “I’m always having trouble around the house and never having the right tools available. I need something heavy duty. The Surge it is for me.”
“Is there anywhere around here that sells them?” asked Typhoea.
“Probably not,” I said. “But you can order one online and it’ll be in your hands by tomorrow afternoon. As it happens, I have a scannable discount code on my phone. Point your phone cameras at it and it’ll get you 10% off the retail price.”
“That’s very generous of you to let us use it,” said Typhoea. “I’ll go fetch my phone.”
Twenty minutes later I was free to go with no charges having been filed, and three confirmed sales, two of which were of lucrative high profile models. Not bad for my first arrest of the day.
For years now, management have been pushing online sales while reducing presence in retail stores, and are at a loss as to why sales are declining. As I keep proving time and time again, multitools are tactile things—people need the experience of holding one in their hands to realise they’re suddenly naked without one.
Feet and products on the ground is how they’re going to shift product, and with over 30 sales already this month, it’s how I make a living.
But for now, the night is still young, so I’m heading to Marblehurst for a smoke!
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