I bought a Boston Globe the other day, at my favorite newstand - the one in Downtown Crossing that sells the paper for $.25, rather than for the $.50 it costs everywhere else. It was stuffed with not one, but twelve four-color glossy flyers for the Christmas Tree Shoppe.
Now, because the Christmas Tree Shoppes are, like Dunkin' Donuts and what used to be Gillette, a home-grown (Massachusetts) business, I tend to look favorably on them.
For those unfamiliar with the chain - which may just be around in the Northeast - they sell the most amazing amount of cheapo household crap imaginable. Interspersed with some merchandise that is well-designed, decently made, and a real bargain. But mostly what they sell is shoddily made - and largely, I'm guessing, unneeded.
I know this not just from the advertising flyer, but from personal shopping adventures there, especially the one at the foot of the Sagamore Bridge on Cape Cod, which is large, mother-church-ish, and has, for whatever reason, an authentic thatched roof that's straight out of Merry Olde England.
I stop there at least once a year when I'm coming back from my sister's or cousin's on the Cape. One time, after a family funeral, my sister Kathleen and I blitzed in and each bought about seventy-five bucks worth of junk in about 5 minutes. We figured that Betty, whose funeral we'd just attended, wouldn't mind.
After another funeral - okay, we're Irish, we tend to die a lot - we made another stop and ran into people I didn't really know but who'd also been to the funeral.
What's wrong with going straight from the party-after the burial to buying your year's supply of wrapping paper, Twinings tea-bags in only slightly dented boxes, hand lotion, and not-half-bad picture frames at the Christmas Tree Shoppe? I mean, life belongs to the shopping. I mean living.
If only I were near a Shoppe today.
I could get myself some felt Easter totes for $1.69. A jumbo rock solar light that doesn't look half bad. (It's like a big fake "polystone" rock that "lights for up to eight hours per night." Presumably after a sunny day. Little ceramic bowl sets tied with a ribbon. A colorful birdhouse.
And that's just page one.
Turn the page for the "European" dinner napkins, which were pretty striped paper napkins, but I never actually think of Europe as a paper-napkin capital. If I had a pet, I cold buy a very nifty little pet carrier. Except that even if I did have a pet, it would be too big for the pet carrier. How about that sprinkler that's really a cute little turtle (with a cute little flowered hat) holding a brass sprinkler head. Brass! We're actually talking high-end here. This sucker costs $19.99.
Somedays I am so darned happy to be doing B2B marketing.
The other day, the wonderful Mary Schmidt wrote a thought-provoking post about how things don't make you happy.
I thought of Mary as I flipped through that Christmas Tree Shoppe flyer.
Ah, that Mary, sometimes she's so damned right.