“Oh, boy. Hope she hasn’t had that thing very long.” Alex thought as the woman replied that she was just looking around. Seeing her head towards the parts display cases opposite them, he followed suit. On the breezes from the recently opened door, he caught the scent of the perfume she was wearing. The sharpness of it against the other scents around him hit him hard in the nostrils, making him clear them with an exhale.
Shaking his head slightly, he heard the woman address him. “Oh, hi. Do you work here?”
“No. Just hanging around.” Alex replied, eyeing the board again. “Mind if I see that real quick?”
“Sure.” The kid handed the board to him, and then kept talking. “I’m not sure if anything’s wrong with it, but my friend says I shouldn’t use this.”
“Your friend’s right. This board is a knock-off.” Alex said, causing the mother’s eyes to widen some. While the board was close to him, he took a whiff of the scents from it, trying not to make it obvious he was smelling it. He could barely smell any lubricant, but the mass of many other weaker scents on the board sparked memories of a Toys-R-Us in town he had been to a few times.
“Really? They didn’t look too bad.” The woman said.
“Yeah, but that’s the thing with boards like these. They look good, but official parts don’t work with them, and even out of the package they feel cheap. Like these wheels. They should…” Alex paused before spinning one of the board’s wheels again. “spin longer than that. Like five seconds or more if it’s new. And watch this.”
Setting the board down, Alex placed his own nearby and asked if the kid would put his foot on his deck. Encouraging him to push it back and forth, he repeated the process with the one the kid had brought in. “Notice how yours has some resistance when you try and move it?”
“Yeah.” The kid’s response was hushed, as though he was nervous.
“That’s a sign the board you’re using has bad bearings, or no lubricant. And the contour of the deck’s center is flat, which is another sign of a cheap deck.” Alex pointed at his own board then. “Real ones are thinner than that and built with a curve in the design.”
Nodding to what Alex was saying, the woman then looked down to her son. “You hear what he’s telling you?” The kid nodded, still staring as Alex stood back up. “So, what should we do with the one we have?”
“I’d recommend getting a full refund on this ASAP,” Alex said, handing the board back to the kid. “and building a complete board from a place like this instead. If you want, I can show you what you’d need.”
“Sure. Is it expensive, though?”
“It can be, depending on how much you practice. You can get by with some blank or basic parts like I do, but I highly recommend using professional label trucks and bearings.”
“You’re going to have to fill me in on what those are. This is all new to me.”
“No worries. Also, how old is your son? About 11?” The woman nodded. “Then you may need to buy a smaller board, and I don’t know if this place has any.” Alex looked back at Walter.
“We have Twig boards here ma’am.”
“Aw, cool. Yeah, if he’s serious about skateboarding, start him with a smaller board like one of those.”