Mark LaFlamme’s guide to shopping alternatives

November 24, 2006 at 9:38 pm (Uncategorized)


shopping-cart.jpgHa! No, I kid. Surely there are plenty of things to do if you’re avoiding the stores today. Unfortunately, none of them involve actually leaving your home. Go outside, and you’re bound to get mowed over in one form or another. You’ll be run down by a speeding minivan driven by a woman who looks like a crankhead on cappucino with her finger in a light socket. You’ll be trampled by a large woman with bouncing breasts and serated elbows as she hoofs her way to the mall. You’ll be run over by the train you voluntarily hurled yourself in front of because that traffic jam was lasting longer than childbirth.

Where holiday season shopping is concerned, the stereotypes are dead on. If I have to go to a department store or mall, I secretly wish the place was occupied by the flesh-eating zombies from Dawn of the Dead rather than the hip-checking, aisle-cramming, desperation-smelling hordes of professional looters.

I shan’t go on and on about it, because love and loathing of the post-Thanksgiving crunch has been expressed in every way. I just wanted to list these helpful alternatives for those of you trying to stay out of the sweaty orgy of merchandise and shopping carts. There has got to be more to do than to sit back and wait for arousing details of the first cat fight between soccer moms at JC Penney. And there is:




  1. Linda said,

    I got an email from WHOM — they were boasting that it’s 24-7 Christmas music from now until Dec 24. I thought — thanks for the freakin’ warning!!

  2. Nadine said,

    Mark, you are mistaken mi amigo! Martha, MT and I just commented in your last blog about just that — watching people and their behavior! Cat fights welcome! Beats drinkin’…in the middle of the day anyway, heh!

    Linda, sheesh! Already??!! Though I did snap a few shots yesterday of a Christmas Grinch-theme fully decorated home! And the people a block away from me have had their lights up since Halloween!

    Yeah, that was my warning — in OCTOBER!

    Bah humbug!

  3. Linda said,

    Actually I like hanging out at the mall too. I just don’t like shopping.

    I was hanging out at a mall in MA on Halloween night and they had trick or treating for kids, it was great. All the store people were in costume and handing out candy. I stayed for hours (I was at a training thing and my hotel was right across the road from the mall).

    Went back the next evening and they had all the Christmas decorations up. It was pretty hilarious.

    None of that should be taken to imply that i don’t like drinking — OK?

  4. LaFlamme said,

    An editor begged me for a column today so I stretched this piece out longer to fit the bill.

  5. Nadine said,

    Sheesh, we should ALL get together and people watch! I despise shopping too Linda (unless my spending amount is unlimited — which, like, NEVER happens, ha!).

    We should all get together and mall-lurk for a day then head out for some evening fun — a TRUE girls day/night out!! Heck, If we wanted, we could even just stay the whole duration at the Auburn Mall as Thatcher’s is there! We got Martha, MT, Linda, and myself on board so far…anyone else wanna join? AO? Bulldog? C’mon, we need a guy too! Mark? K2?

    Linda…do you live around here? (L/A area?).

  6. LaFlamme said,

    Uh oh, boys. If we’re not careful, this one’s gonna get away from us.

  7. jarheaddoc said,

    Yeah, you go with ’em, Mark. Just let ’em go, unless you want to be the one trying on the bra.

  8. Linda said,

    He wants to, jarheaddoc.

    Nadine, I am a “city girl” living in Wilton for complicated reasons. Always glad for a reason to get out of Dodge. Not such an easy commute for Martha though.

  9. Linda said,

    Mark you are much too good. The editor who begged you for a column –was this editor involved in the recent spiking of the keg party column we enjoyed so much? If we could just, you know, PAY you for all you give us here on the blog, you could kiss off these schizo editors. We don’t need no stinkin’ editors. You could play with us and write books. Wouldn’t that be nice work, if you could get it?

  10. K2 said,

    Fucking x-mas in November: Kill me.

    I can’t think of three things I dislike more than religion, commercialism and shopping. Tie those three together and you have . . . Christmas. Just a wretched holiday.

  11. K2 said,

    Oh, one more thing: Ho fucking ho.

  12. Linda said,

    Religion? it’s hard to find religion in our Christmases anyhow. Does the baby Jesus want a new Playstation or talking Elmo? somehow I doubt it. Leaving aside the Christ’s birthday theme (as society in general does), the only really salvageable part of the “holiday season” is the winter solstice. I mean, how magical is that? It’s worth the trouble to watch the stars and the sunsets (sunrise usually IS much too much trouble for me). If you really watch it, you can visualize the earth tiltiing a little more this way, a little more that way. We still have winter ahead of us at that point, but it’s so reassuring to know that the days are getting longer. It moves me a hell of a lot more than Christmas does.

    So if the weather keeps up like this, maybe we could have a keg party in a gravel pit on the winter solstice and call it good for Christmas.

  13. K2 said,

    Ah, the Roman celebration of Mythra, god of sun. Now there’s some old-time religion.

    And Linda, you’re right: Knowing we gain daylight from the solstice on is key.

  14. Linda said,

    Yes well I read over what I wrote. What I think I meant was — the whole dance of the planets thing moves me. Being in a state of awareness with movement of the universe. Yes, daylight too, but I didn’t mean it quite so narrowly.

    That sounds like crazy talk. I guess I’m just living out of synch with the current millenium.

  15. K2 said,

    No, it’s about worshipping things that are real. I groove to that.

  16. AO said,

    I dread holiday shopping.

  17. Mainetarr said,

    You dread grocery shopping AO. Aren’t you the one who hates shopping, period? I did manage to stay out of the rush and snuck over to JoAnn’s Fabrics last night for some quick bargains. It was right before they closed, all nice and quiet, in and out in 20 minutes. Sweet…and I love shopping, it’s the idiots in the stores that drive me nuts. I was contemplating Kohls this afternoon, depending what the parking lot looks like.

  18. AO said,

    I do. Hate shopping, that is. Even grocery shopping is a pain. But, we gotta eat so, I do it.

  19. LaFlamme said,

    Here we go again, K2. Agreeing on something. The pagan worship of the winter solstice is pretty uncomplicated. Once again, its a case of Christianity ripping off those simple celebrations and bastardizing them. For all the persecution, pagans were very gentle and selfless people.
    I don’t REALLY despise Christmas, though. At it’s essence, it’s pretty serene. I turn into a swooning girl at the sound of classically based Christmas music, for instance, and I totally dig the trees and decoration. There. I’ve confessed.

  20. K2 said,

    Oh, there’s plenty of good about the spirit of Christmas, but that’s the one thing you can’t sell or buy. Like sitting next to a fire, listening to Handel’s ‘Messiah’; the (hopefully) snow and the (tactful) lights and sights; playing x-mas tunes like ‘Silent Night’ on the ol’ piano, singing to the kids; going out in the woods and stealing a Charlie Brown-esque blasam fir sapling from the local farmer’s woods; the joy of the children on x-mas morning; and more, of course.

    However, it’s all the marketing and the selling and the hypocrisy that I despise. Really, go out on Black Friday, when you KNOW it’s absolutely mobbed, all to save a buck? To me, that’s completely fucking crazy. Especially when Christians rail that Jesus is the reason for the season. *chuckle*

    And it’s to bad we don’t spend more time worshipping the sun. For thousands of years, mankind did, and then somehow, unfortunately, gods morphed into non-entities of abstraction — and fear.

    No egg nog for me, though. That’s just gross. Like Rocky drinking eggs in, what was that movie? . . . Oh, ‘Rocky.’

  21. LaFlamme said,

    And Tourtiere pie, man. Why do we wait for Christmas to have that stuff again? To the Italian Bakery!

  22. Rob42lou said,

    Mainetarr have you found the link to the live “google earth” yet? (from a post you made a week or 2 ago.

  23. Mainetarr said,

    No, Rob, wanna share it???

  24. Linda said,

    Mark, I must be misunderstanding you: tourtiere, from the Italian Bakery??? My memere would turn over in her grave.

  25. Rob42lou said,

    haha i dont have it either, i was hoping you found it, b/c i have been googling for a few hours searching for it. Do you remember any words or pictures on the website, like was the satellite russian, was the video streaming, etc….

  26. jarheaddoc said,

    I personally feel that any and all holidays have become way too commercialized, with the possible exception of MLK and Columbus Day. Black Monday and a day for a guy who brought death, disease, and pestilence to the New World in the hope of making a buck. But that’s okay, most of us get both of those days off, some get holiday pay for both, and we work Veteran’s Day. Now pardon me for asking, but where the hell is the point of celebrating the conquest of a peace loving people when you don’t celebrate the lives that veterans have given for this country?

    And that’s my soapbox.

  27. Linda said,

    jd, we should all have K2’s kind of Christmas. K2, can we come to your house this year? we promise not to bring eggnog.

  28. Bobbie said,

    What is it with radio stations playing nothing but Christmas music on Thanksgiving? There is only one Christmas song that I like and will actually listen to and that’s The Twelve Days of Christmas by The Muppets. The rest of the Christmas music can take a flying leap as far as I’m concerned.

    Black Friday was spent at my usual Friday spot and I didn’t miss it at all. I’m like AO and hate shopping, especially if it involves dragging the hubby along with me. I can tolerate grocery shopping as long as I take my son with me, but I’m ready to strangle someone if hubby goes with me.

    I haven’t even thought of Christmas shopping yet, but know that it needs to be done eventually. Thankfully, no one wants a lot this year, so it won’t take me too long to get it done.

  29. AO said,

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates shopping, Bobbie.

  30. Linda said,

    Hi Bobbie! yeah, my shopping’s always done quick too when I have nothing to buy. Or nothing to spend 🙂

    Nice to see you back, did you have a nice Thanksgiving? other than the radio madness?

  31. LaFlamme said,

    Oh, my word. Did I just get banished to the spam folder?

  32. LaFlamme said,

    I did! Those bastards! I was trying to post the Google Earth link. It’s http://earth dot google dot com.

  33. Nadine said,

    Hey MT — you lookin’ for something specific on google earth? Or just access to it? I’ve zoomed in on my own house with that software! Kinda eerie.

    Don’t mean to intrude, but let me know what you’re lookin’ for and maybe I can try to help as well.

    And Bobbie, I feel the same as you…don’t mind shopping with my son, but despise it otherwise — I swear everyone thinks I look like a deer caught in headlights when roaming a mall for an item. Love that people watching when I don’t have to shop though!

  34. Nadine said,

    Ok smarty pants, there is a much better link then that, but you download the software for free first…I think she is looking for a specific place to locate.

    I think…MT??? Where are ya?

  35. jarheaddoc said,

    Shopping is a perspective thing that is best done in a very dispassionate manner, especially groceries. Get in and get out. Why do I need to look at four different things, three times each, when I’m not going to buy any of the fucking things? Oh, wait, that would be: first wife, second wife, all sisters, and just about any female I have ever shopped with. It will happen with my daughter, I know, but right now she sometimes does what I tell her to do.

    I would really like to beleive that women have some sort of a plan when they go shopping, but reality seems to get in the way. They’re like random movement of molecules in a liquid: they just go to whatever attracts them next, whether it’s going out the door with them or not.

    It is just another one of those things that I must teach my son to just accept because it is. Is what? Well, shit, if I fucking knew that, I would tell the little nipper! Just accept it for what it is: something you have to tolerate but never understand.

    And christmas shopping? My wife has taken care of that since the kids came along, thank Christ. I would buy them dented cans of beat hash for lunch when I should have bought them Legos or a doll. I’m screwed either way.

    Christmas is really for my kids. I am firmly of the beleif that Christmas is for the special stuff, not the everyday stuff that should be provided. I always got that as a kid: clothes that should have been provided throughout the year were given for Christmas and I absolutely hate to give clothes for Christmas. Those really expensive toys, like the electronic games, however, belong under the tree. That’s also the place for a special project, a complete surprise.

    I’m thinking I’m gonna leave Santa a smoke and a match under the tree, ya know, for when he comes. shit, it’s the holidays, he can fall off the wagon, can’t he? Lord knows he did on thanksgiving, about four times, to be exact.

  36. jarheaddoc said,

    All I want for christmas is to be able to find the 55 cents I’m off in my check book. Thank and some insulin: eating that jar of ice cream topping is wreaking havoc on my endocrine system

  37. Linda said,

    So jd, I read your first paragraph a time or two, or three, and hard though it is for me to believe, it sounds as if neither your first nor second wife — let me get the wording right here — did/do what you tell [her] to do. Go figure? Am i picking up just the tiniest whiff of misogyny here?

  38. Linda said,

    I mean feel free and all, I’m just asking.

  39. jarheaddoc said,

    Linda, it’s a commentary on a sad fact of life: any human programmed as XY will never understand any human programmed as XX. I really do like women: Lord knows I am not up for childbirth. That board through the foot things was just about the amount of pain I can tolerate before I need general anesthesia.

  40. Bobbie said,

    Thanksgiving was ok, but I’ll fill you in on all the gory details later, Linda. Thanks for asking and I hope that yours went well.

    As for JD, he explains it all when he said that the jar of ice cream topping was wreaking havoc with his system-it just made him harder to understand than usual. 🙂

  41. jarheaddoc said,

    Christ, Linda, I’m lucky to be able to get the dog to do what I want her to do, never mind any humans! No, I am quick to point out that I am much more tolerable to take shopping when I am simply left home.

  42. Bobbie said,

    I am all for getting in, getting it done and getting out when it comes to shopping. Hubby is the one that wants to look at everything in sight and drags me all over the store. Maybe there’s something in his genes that I don’t want to know about that makes him that way. LOL But if you leave me alone in the bookstore, I can be there for hours at a time. What can I say, I enjoy reading.

  43. Nadine said,

    Funny you should say that Bobbie! My dad HATES shopping unless he’s in Home Depot or Lowe’s (and he’s got total focus on a certain item at that), OR if he’s at a bookstore!!! He loves to linger there, as he reads constantly (mostly history, but there’s another gender based query — I think anyway).

    Gender boundaries be damned! To each his own, right? I did NOT inherit the shopping gene, I DID inherit the sports gene, but I also DID inherited the hair and makeup gene, as well as the very unfortunate addictive and oral genes!

    We are ALL the same, just with different doses of each trait. No-one is 100% male or female — xy/xx only defines my physical gender.

    Ok, done with my 2 cents. Now I want a banana (analyze that! Do I mean monkey origins, or Freudian “banana”?, lol)

  44. Linda said,

    Human relationships. Strange and wonderful. Especially strange.

  45. Linda said,

    Or, as I read recently — Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same. Oscar Wilde, oddly enough

  46. Nadine said,

    To quote the swan-songstress herself: “There’s definitely no logic to human behavior” — Bjork 🙂

  47. Nadine said,

    Or, should I have quoted the great Jim Morrisson with, simply, “People are strange”

  48. Bobbie said,

    And some days, they don’t come any stranger than the people on this blog (said with all the love in the world)-and they don’t come any stranger than me some days! LOL

  49. Linda said,

    Nothing from Weasel today. Sunk under a mound of leftover turkey?

  50. Bobbie said,

    test, test

  51. Bobbie said,

    Sorry about that. I tried to post something earlier and it wouldn’t go thru, so I thought I may have been spammed.

  52. K2 said,

    Oscar Wilde, on his death bed, looked at the awful wallpaper in the room he was dying in, and said, “One of us has to go.”

    jd, i’m with you: Clothes for x-mas bites. Totally lame gift idea.

    And don’t self-flaggelate over four cigs on Turkey Day. You’re doing your best, and that’s all you can do.

  53. Mainetarr said,

    I was looking on google earth at my own home, Nadine. I distinctly remember watching my husbands truck pull out of the yard and leave as he was going to work. But I’ll be damned if I can find the exact place that was. It was hysterical.
    I was at the Maineiacs last night, watching them win their tenth in a row. Great game, but I won’t bore you non-hockey lovers with the details.
    I inherited the shopping gene from my father, he was the shopper in my family. My mom hated shopping. I inherited the clean gene from him too, since he, like LaFlamme, was a neat freak. Actually, come to think of it, I inherited a lot of my traits from him-bargain hunting, shopping, playing the ponies, going for a “Sunday drive”, cooking, love of animals, sports, short fused Italian temper and so on…I inherited my mothers outgoing personality and a lot of her looks. People I don’t know still approach me and say, “Hey, are you so and so’s daughter?” Freaks me out all the time.

  54. Kristen Fairechild said,

    Google is the best search engine

  55. Jolyn said,

    That is very faitsnacing, You are a very professional blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and sit up for searching for more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

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