Friday, August 27, 2021

Getting ahead of the game

By Andy Young

Special to The Windham Eagle

The only thing less enjoyable than visiting a mall is doing so on the day after Thanksgiving, or anytime during the holiday season, for that matter. Obtaining the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one is far easier when you don’t have to vie for personal space with uncontrolled hordes that confuse providing joy for others with blood sport.

Finding inspiration is significantly less stressful in uncrowded conditions, so last week I visited a local, stand-alone shopping emporium, sensing there would be a smattering of browsers there, rather than multitudes of individuals foaming at the mouth in their eagerness to consume.

The store’s extensive clothing section included a ton of activewear that predictably featured the insignias of the Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics. But there was also collegiate apparel from Virginia Tech, Dartmouth, Michigan, and Vassar, not to mention both kinds of Patriots (New England and Gray-New Gloucester), the Maine Black Bears and the Maine Red Claws. Other T-shirts touted Mountain Dew, the Baltimore Ravens, Bar Harbor, the U. S. Olympic Team, and some familiar-looking polo ponies that are probably some big company’s trademark.

Anyone desiring a T-shirt sporting the name of any humongous corporate sportswear producer (Under Armor, Reebok, Nike, Cabela’s, and Starter, for starters) could have procured one; however, those not desiring to pay for the privilege of being a walking billboard for someone else’s products could acquire generic t-shirts there (in several different colors) with no logo at all on them!

There was also a wide variety of headwear for sale, although judging by the amount of pink camo hats available (and their reduced price), I’m guessing that very few deer hunters are choosing to top off their outfit with that particular chapeau this fall.

The housewares section featured an extensive and varied collection of salad bowls, frying pans, decorative platters, coffee makers, blenders, stockpots, water bottles, toasters, breadmakers, fondue sets, colanders, soup ladles, cookie jars (the one shaped like a pig wearing a chef’s hat was my favorite), teakettles, water bottles, bamboo placemats, turkey basters, kitchen timers, and muffin pans.

And there were plenty of scouring pads, silicone gloves, cleansers, hypoallergenic stain removers, trash bags, and similar products for those concerned with keeping their domicile clean. 

Also in the store: welcome mats, area rugs, paper shredders, staplers, citronella candles, earrings, batteries, bandages, cell phone chargers, shoehorns, bird cages, picture frames, tin signs (Examples: Spiderman, Superman, and “These grounds protected by Smith and Wesson”), fans, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, space heaters, tables, chairs, pillows, mirrors, file cabinets, lunch boxes, backpacks, sketch pads, magic markers, reading glasses, mesh laundry bags, bike helmets, Halloween costumes, sunglasses, reading glasses, notebooks, swimming goggles, golf clubs, flower and/or vegetable seeds, skis, lacrosse sticks, baseball gloves, soccer shin guards, and a wide variety of books and DVDs.

There was also quite a selection for anyone with a coffee drinker in their life. Mugs bearing the words, “Happy birthday,” “Dad, you’re out of this world,” “A hug for my grandmother,” and several different designs of “Boss Lady” were just the tip of the iceberg.

For imbibers of other liquids there were glasses trumpeting, among other things: Pepsi, Coca-Cola, A & W Root Beer, and 7-Up; New Brunswick, Canada; Indian Head Resort; the Liberty Bell; a stylized letter L, and “Happy 35th anniversary.” 

I can’t say I got all (or even most) of my Christmas shopping done last week. But for anyone wishing to get the jump on their holiday acquisitions, here’s a tip: if you can’t find at least one thing for someone on your list at a Goodwill store, you probably aren’t trying very hard. < 

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