Original Publication Date: 7 May 2013
Here’s the scoop, straight from the mouth of Chuck the Guck Man: Guck is back and it’s bigger than ever!
The only problem is, there’s not much of it available at the moment.
“It’s not often that a businessman asks you not to order his products, but that’s what I’ve been forced to do,” says Chuck, the owner of The Park’s oldest and most prestigious Guck business.
“We’re experiencing a shortage. We’re back-ordered to the end of the Summer and the rest of the year doesn’t look any better. So, please, if you can, hold off until things get better.”
It’s not clear when that better time will be, though, because the shortage isn’t caused by a lack of materials.
“It’s a lack of employees…or, more specifically, a lack of skilled employees…GuckMeisters, to be precise,” Chuck says. And his friend, Stan the Spitman, says the same.
“I’ve been looking for a SpitMeister for over a year,” says Stan.
It’s been a long time since anyone complained of Guck being in short supply, so it’s not surprising that Animals have taken to acquiring skills other than Guckmaking. Chuck understands this.
“In the old days, it was a viable occupation. Everybody used it, so you had a stable customer base. And Guck is in my blood. My father, my grandfather, and my great grandfather were Guck men. It was the family business and I wouldn’t have considered any other occupation. But only a few of my young have joined me here. The rest of them have chosen other fields,” he says.
Guck, which is an acronym of Glutinous Unctuous Coagulated Knots, is a specially-formulated item that Animals have used for centuries to hydrate their eyes. Skilled workers are essential to proper production, because each Guck solution is made to the specifications of the customer. No two Guck solutions are the same.
“Like snowflakes, only stickier,” jokes Chuck.
While their ancestors formulated the solutions in their home laboratories, Chuck and his brothers decided to expand the business beyond their homes. Fifteen years ago, they opened three freestanding laboratories that fulfilled orders from within The Park and beyond.
“It was a thriving business then, and we were at the top. But about eight years ago, sales plummeted. Other types of hydration had been invented and Animals were no longer that concerned about ocular hydration,” he says.
But all that changed a couple of years ago.
“New health studies at the University of West Terrier and evidence from The Park Hospital confirmed our own suspicions…that ocular dehydration had become a serious health concern in The Park. Animals are heeding the warnings, now, and they want the real thing, made for them alone. So, our business is booming. Well, beyond booming,” he says.
But will all of this new business, fuelled by the health crisis and new generations of customers coming onstream every day, turn that boom into a bust? Chuck says that worry doesn’t keep him up at night.
“We’ve ramped up production and we’re confident we’ll be able to hire a few more GuckMeisters before the year is out, even if we have to set up our own school and train them, ourselves.”
“We’re looking to a time when there isn’t a dry eye in The Park,” he says, smiling.