Tag Archives: shopping


There are five days left for you to shop for Christmas presents.

And that’s including you rushing out for gifts on Christmas Eve, when the only things open are gas stations, dollar stores, and that guy standing by his car on the side of the road with his trunk open and a hopeful expression on his face.

Not among the best choices available, dudes.

I’m going to say that, if you’ve not done your shopping by now. . . It’s not too late, but, dude, the fat lady is warming up in the wings.

The thing about giving a good present to your wife or significant other, is that you can’t do it rushed. When you’re rushed, you’re worried and pressured and we all know no one thinks at their best when they’re feeling like a 500-pound gorilla is about to pounce on them from behind and start playing bendy straws with their arms and legs.

It’s just not a good feeling, that pressure.

Which is why I advise you not to rush out and buy something. Instead, take a (very short) wait. Think about anything your wife or S.O. has said to you lately. Remember any wistful looks as you passed by a store window, any meaningful sighs while watching television as a particularly obnoxious ad came on for the fifteenth time in the last hour.

Once you’ve got your gift in mind, still pause and think up  couple of alternatives. You don’t want to panic and blank out when you’re shopping. That’s when you start picturing that silverback mountain gorilla’s hot, wet breath on the back of your neck and you start grabbing at whatever is in reach and you come back with a gold-plated cigarette holder and something that looks like the squalid abomination squatted out by an extinct species of rhino and then bronzed by a drunk Bulgarian sculptor on a two-month bender.

An oddly specific analogy, I realize, but I’m not speaking from personal experience here.*

Now that you’ve got a list, you need to figure out where you can go to actually get the stuff on your list. Make a plan and realize that, by waiting until now, where ever you go to purchase stuff, it’s going to be crowded. There will be many, many people and all of them will be just as intensely focused on getting done their own lists.

Take a breath and be calm. It’s going to be all right.

If you can’t find the first item on your list, then ask around. Maybe there’s another store that stocks it. Be nice when you start asking, though, because if there’s anyone more harassed than a last-minute-shopping dude, it’s the poor retail drones helping them.

If you still can’t find the item, it’s still not time to panic because you wisely listened to the Dude’s Guide and you made a list of a few other things you’d like to buy.

Once you get the item, you’re all set.

All you have to do now is wrap it. Fortunately for most of us, a lot of stores will even wrap the present for you.

So now you’re all set, dudes. Get out there and start shopping.

Me? Oh, I’m done. I was 90 percent finished a couple of days after Thanksgiving. No way I’m going out there now. I’m not that crazy.

Not that I’m saying you dudes are.*

*As far as you can prove.

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Black Friday

I am sleeping late.

I’m not getting up and rushing into various stores, fighting crowds and screaming that the last one of those still on a slightly reduced price point is MINE!


Not going to do it.

Nor am I going to be going crazy on the computer come Monday. I won’t be racking up huge connection times or credit card bills (no more than normal, at any rate).

Not going to do that either.

I’m not doing it because I refuse on principal to be part of such a huge outpouring of greed and self-interest (although there’s a little bit of that in there, as well). I’m not doing this because I’m lazy and hate being crushed in a crowd, although there’s plenty of that in the decision as well.


I’m staying away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday for one simple reason: I actually planned ahead this year.

That’s right, dudes, I’ve already started purchasing Christmas presents this year. It’s not so much a principled stand for or against consumerism, as the fact that I’ve been seeing stuff my family would like and, rather than seeing and forgetting, I’ve been going ahead and purchasing things. When they arrive, I’ve been salting these little bits of good cheer away in a couple of different secret places.

(Most of those secret places are where cleaning items are stored because no one in the house ever looks there.)

For the first time in almost ever, I’m actually just about finished with Christmas shopping and it wasn’t a mad dash to the finish line where I’m buying whatever crosses my field of vision and hoping for the best. It actually feels pretty good to be this far ahead.

Of course, now I have to guard against getting complacent and forgetting somebody or something until the last minute and doing that rush out and spree-buy we just discussed.

Sorry if this comes across as bragging, but I’m so astonished that I had to start talking about it to someone and you dudes and dudettes got elected.

Getting ahead with presents caused me to have to exercise a whole different set of muscles in my brain. Instead of asking people what they wanted, I had to pay attention to them throughout the year. I had to spend more time with them, talking and listening and watching.

Come to think about it, that right there might be the best present of the year. For me, really. Not them. I know I got one restraining order, but that was mostly a mistake. Mostly.

Because I had to be near family to figure out what they wanted, I was rewarded by being near them, spending time with them and having a bit more fun with them than I had previously. That’s a good thing.

So today, while the masses are out cursing each other, themselves and the fact that the My-Little-Prostate-Exam Elmo is already sold out, I’ll be here. In bed. Sleeping. Then getting up to spend more time with the family.

I consider that a win. And maybe worth feeling a bit smug about it.

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Serendipitous Shopping

So here’s the deal: It seems whenever I go shopping, or park in a big lot, I’m always next to someone either leaving at the same time, arriving at the same time or heading in when I’m headed out. That sort of thing. And I mean always.

Seriously, it’s getting a bit creepy.

I first noticed this  couple of months ago. In the huge Walmart parking lot, I walked over to my car, only to be blocked from getting in because the older, obese gentlemen getting into the driver’s seat of his backwards-parked car was blocking my way in. Annoying, but no big deal.

Then, I moved to the Harris Teeter parking lot. I pulled into an empty space that was right next to another empty space. In the time it took me to turn off the car and unbuckle the seat belt, another car had pulled into the space next to me. Again, blocking me from easy access to and, this time, from my car because the passenger next to me apparently had forgotten how to stand.

Once that locked into my brain, I found it happened all the time. I’m not kidding.

I’m getting a little freaked out by the whole thing.

There’s a huge parking lot, maybe a hundred cars and, yet, the only person in the lot at the same time as me is the person walking to the car right next to mine.

Is this some part of an Odyssey effect? (So named because I’d never noticed any Odysseys on the road until I purchased one of the mini vans, then I saw them everywhere) (Remember: Mini vans are cool! Tell people.) That is, now that I’ve noticed it, I’m seeking out instances of that and remembering it, conveniently forgetting those instances when it’s not the case?

Or is it, and this is my preferred explanation, because I’m special?

Or maybe it can be explained by simple mathematics (Hah! As if there is such a thing. [There’s not.]). Something along the lines of people arriving at the same time, possibly having the same average duration inside the stores and, therefore, leaving at around the same time? I don’t know, but that’s an appalling level of coincidence at work for that explanation. Not sure if I buy that.

Has this happened to any of you dudes? Am I the only one who finds himself accompanied by the only other person in the parking lot when I’m at my car? Tell me I’m not alone.

I’ll be waiting in comments for you.

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