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BOB WAKEHAM: Breaking news from the Market Mania

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ANCHOR: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Now and Then.

I’m Tony German, live from Market Mania, the largest grocery story in Canada opening its doors this evening to Newfoundland consumers eager to fill the coffers of this magnanimous operation headquartered in Toronto.

There are undoubtedly other stories making the news tonight, and we’ll get to those relatively minor headlines in a minute; but we feel obligated to give as much publicity to this auspicious ribbon-cutting event as we possibly can.

And to those who are already tweeting their criticism of our decision, all I can say is that where once the privates stood, we, the public broadcaster, now stand. We’re open for business, as they say. This is a story of economic development. Get on board, people!

I’m being told through my handy ear piece by my interrupting producers that we will, in fact, go now to Carol Streaks at the Now and Then studio for some “breaking news.”

CO-ANCHOR: Thanks, Tony. There was some extraordinary evidence delivered at the Muskrat Falls Inquiry today, and we have our reporter, Sammy Scoop, standing by. Sammy.

Oops, sorry. I’m told we’re going back to Tony where he has a special guest, the former premier Richie Rich, the owner of the County Cork Development, home of Market Mania.

ANCHOR: Thanks Carol. And thank you, Mr. Rich, for giving us some of your valuable time to tout this tremendous operation.

GUEST: Well, thank you, Tony. I’m sure there was nothing new in that Muskrat report anyway, just more naysayers, Newfoundland and Labrador traitors, Benedict Arnold Cove types, trying to spoil our future. At least that’s my perspective, Tony; and I can call you Tony, can’t I?

ANCHOR: Certainly, Mr. Rich, as long as I can you Richie.

GUEST: Sure, Tony.

ANCHOR: God, this is so exciting, Richie.

GUEST: Well, it’s just so satisfying to see the public broadcaster getting into the promotional agenda of this province. We’re glad you’ve seen the light. We need more positive news, and less negative news, and, dare I say, to quote that leader to the South of us, less “fake news.”

ANCHOR: Thanks for the compliment, Richie.

My earpiece is buzzing again. Damn those producers. I’m told we’re going back to Carol in the studio.

CO-ANCHOR: Thanks, Tony. We have more breaking news. A major forest fire is burning out of control.....

Okay, well, we’ll have that report in a minute, but, for now, we return to Market Mania. Here’s Tony.

ANCHOR: Right, Carol. We’ll get to that fire in minute, but, for now, I’m joined by the manager of Market Mania, Mike Mart. Mr. Mart, thanks for being so kind as to be with us live to celebrate this incredible opening of the largest grocery store in the country.

GUEST: You’re kindly welcome, Tony. Our pleasure. By the way, if you and your crew wish to take some free samples of anything in the store, feel free to do so, a cucumber or two.

ANCHOR: Thanks, anyway, Mr. Mart. But that would be a violation of the CBC’s policy book, considered to be among the most stringent journalistic guidelines in the free world.

GUEST; Sure, Tony. I’d hate to compromise Mother Corp’s principles.

ANCHOR: Mr. Mart, I’ve been given this fact-sheet by your public relations types, and it says you pay amazingly high wages. Almost $25 an hour. What a generous corporation!

GUEST: That’s us, Tony.

ANCHOR; Oh, fuddle duddle. We have to interrupt this scintillating interview to return to the studio to Carol.

CO-ANCHOR: Tony, we have just learned that the government has lost a confidence motion in the legislature. Okay, we’ll get to that story in a second. But, first, back to Tony at Market Mania.

ANCHOR: And I’m joined now by the manager of the produce department, Cameron Cabbage.

I understand you’ve got the best imported vegetables in the province, Mr. Cabbage.

GUEST; Yes, we do, Tony. None of that local stuff. Only the best.

ANCHOR: OK, it’s just so hard to keep track of all this good news. And I’m happy to welcome one of our reporters, the always excitable Zeke Grout.

REPORTER: I’m absolutely buzzed, Tony. I’ve talked to 122 customers over the last hour, and they all sing the praises of Market Mania. What a company!! By the way, Tony, could you stop glancing at the camera and pay some attention to me?

ANCHOR: Sorry, Zeke, just a little trick I was taught by Peter Mansbridge at Anchoring University.

REPORTER: What an evening! What an evening!

ANHCOR: And on that note, we conclude our blanket coverage of the Market Mania extravaganza. Join us tomorrow night, though, when we will bring you live reportage of the opening of the largest car dealership in Canada, Vehicular Vengeance. See you then.

Oh, sorry, do you have any other news for us, Carol?

CO-ANCHOR: Nope, Market Mania seems to have taken up all our time.

Good night.

Bob Wakeham has spent more than 40 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at


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