Monday, November 30, 2009

You forgot the cinnamon.

So I've been shopping all weekend. I probably started around 7:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day when a few stores like Kmart opened to prove that Americans will work any damn time the boss tells us. And then I finished buying crap around 3:00 p.m. today.

My worst example of shopping addiction was on Thanksgiving night at midnight when I was trying to get Black Friday bargains online. At 12:01 a.m. I was on the computer hitting "refresh" to see if some deals that previously were unavailable would suddenly appear and be ready for me to purchase.

If you know what Black Friday is, then you know that many stores opened for business at 5:00 a.m. Friday morning and the online bargains were not active until then. But at 4:30, I got up and clicked "refresh" again to find that something I wanted was now ready. So I sent my credit card info to the store and probably to several hackers and bought crap I really don't need.

I don't give to charities and I don't support any political movement or public television or radio, but I support America by moving money from my credit card company to a large department store so the store can afford to employ additional seasonal workers who send my packages through a shipping company which employs more people to eventually arrive at my house. It's no cure for cancer, but... no, there is no but. I'm a selfish bastard.

So I was in a mall today when I passed a window displaying books. The sign said that this particular book was being sold by Gucci to raise money for something, blah, blah, blah: I don't know because I didn't read it. I just saw that it looked like a children's book and it looked pretty cool.

So I walked over to the Gucci store; doesn't every mall have one? And no, not that chick who sells fake Gucci bags in the ladies room at your library, a real store. And I asked about the book, Snowman in Africa. The saleswoman said it was $25 and all the money went to charity, and again, I didn't listen to which one. But I said, I'll take it.

You should see this book. I'm not a book critic, but it's about a snowman who doesn't melt and doeesn't like cold weather so he goes to Africa in a balloon and hangs out with the animals ... so I'll just point out the cool stuff I noticed. One, there is no barcode, and no ISBN. So for a librarian, this is just freaky. It's like meeting someone who doesn't have fingerprints. You start to wonder if he's ever murdered anyone. Maybe this book is in the witness relocation program.

And the book jacket is illustrated on the inside, too. And the endpapers look cool. I don't have the book in front of me, but they're covered with art, too, bananas or elephants or something.

So anyway, I buy the book, and the woman asks if I want it wrapped. And I think for a second that it's not a gift, so I almost said, no, but then I nodded to her and said, sure.

She disappears for about 4 minutes. It was like that scene in Love, Actually where Rowan Atkinson is gift-wrapping the necklace. Except I couldn't see what she was doing. She returned with a large bronze Gucci bag and hands me the receipt tucked into a matching Gucci envelope. Inside the bag is a large Gucci envelope containing the book with a ribbon going round and tied in a bow, and a gold sticker sealing it closed. There is crumpled brown paper filling the area around the envelope.

I couldn't take it. I had to see what she did. So as soon as I got home, I pulled out the envelope and untied the ribbon and removed the sticker. Inside was the book wrapped in more paper and sealed with another sticker. Inside that was an envelope with a card describing the charity and providing some info about the author of the book.

It was just amazing to see. So if you have the opportunity and the $25, stop into a Gucci shop and get the book. And make sure you say "yes" if they ask if you want it wrapped. The book also seems to be available online, and I'm tempted to buy another one to see how it arrives. I swear, it made me feel so giddy to get something wrapped with so much care, I just want to go buy copies and hand them out to strangers. I'm so used to being treated like shit, it's worth the $25 to have someone be nice to me. How the hell will I ever be able to shop at a regular store again?

And the next time I buy stuff online, I'll probably have to light a scented candle and wear pants. Not like now.

Snowman in Africa animation, but remember the pictures in the book don't move:

Alan Rickman tormented by Rowan Atkinson: