This column is for readers who will do their shopping on Christmas morning for the first time. Hold your heads high, people! Remember the three noble precepts: you can’t be picky, you can’t care about price, and you can’t flinch when a loved one opens your present and emits a loud, long sigh.
To make this a meaningful, fun occasion I’ve composed two rules you’ll want to memorize: presents have to be for adults and have to be connected to sports. You can buy kids off with cash, but for the rest, they’ll be no easy presents. No booze. No neckties. No gift cards.
To show my street cred, I have left home and slogged into pitiless wintertime weather on your behalf. I surveyed three stores — all reliable and all guaranteed to be open on Christmas Day.
First stop is CVS Pharmacy, which is a weird name for what used to be Longs. They’re all over San Diego County. Pick one closest to your favorite bar or laundromat. You’ll find, through glass front doors, an Xtreme Fit Interactive Gaming Mat. Sells for $49.99. The box says the mat has muscle workouts, aerobics, yoga training, over 80 exercises and games. Looks like work.
I walk down one aisle, turn up another. Ah, here we go…the very necessary head wipes from Bald Guyz. These head wipes are “Fragrance Free Green Tea Formula Clean” and go for $4.99. Hmm…head wipes might be contest-legal, say, in the sports-hygiene category.
I move into no-man’s-land, to wit: one zillion lipsticks, one zillion female deodorants, moisturizers, lotions, and skin creams. Reminds me, I could use some shampoo. Hmm… One aisle over is base camp for salon hair care, hair styling, hair coloring, shampoo, conditioners, and hair appliances. I walk a little. Was I just here? I look up at the hanging sign. Ah-ha! I’d been in facial care, hand and body lotion, skin care, sun care, bath care, and deodorants. Now I’m in the shampoo aisle. Great, I want some odorless shampoo. I slowly glide along the aisle like a head of state inspecting an honor guard. Too many shampoos to count.
Then, a tour of the inner parapets of CVS/Pharmacy. Nothing. I’m beaten, head toward the front door, past the HIV test kits, and exit.
Next stop, Walgreens. Right inside their front door is the “Ab Rocket — As Seen On TV,” $99.99. The box says it massages while working out and has Cylinder Launch Technology. Impressive. “This item for sale at Walgreens. If found at other outlets, call 1-800-6666.” Walgreens wants me to rat out their competition. For FREE!
Another mile of lipsticks, cleansers, skin-care lotions. I find the shampoos (quicker this time, by the way). Want an odorless shampoo, that’s all. The lower shelf has “Stop Lice, complete lice treatment.” Not today. Here’s something: “Mane ’n Tail Shampoo.” This is promising. The product comes in a big plastic bottle with a picture of two horses galloping into the sunset on the front. Fine print: “For human use: Wet hair and apply…amount used will vary depending on the volume and length of hair. For animal use: Add a liberal amount of Mane ’n Tail Shampoo into a bucket of water.”
On the way out to the parking lot, I note this is another strike-out for the sports-minded shopper, although I did score two bottles of shampoo. Okay, man up, there is one more stop. This is the store you pull into when you’re six blocks away from grandma’s house. This store is the definition of desperate. Talking about 7-Eleven Christmas-morning shopping.
Entering Slurpee land now. Immediately, on my right, not three feet distant, is the mother lode. Oh, joy.
Let us, pilgrims, stand here and revel in the moment. Before us is a display of NFL crap. Oh, answer to all our hopes and dreams. First, a Chargers NFL fan banner, “Nylon Applique and Embroidered.” And here is a youth-sized football with Chargers emblem, $11.99. A Chargers baby bib, $5.99.
Oh, sweet fulfillment. “San Diego Chargers Jeweled Body Art, $4.99.” There are Chargers key rings and Chargers football tree ornaments, NFL-sanctioned each and every one. “Bracelets made from genuine football leather featuring screen print NFL logos and football lacing detail.” A paltry $9.99.
“Chargers 5 Pack of Click Pens,” with team logo, I might add. Chargers decal, $8.99. Beach towels, only $14.99. Beer mugs with emblem, $11.99. Key rings, $9.99. And the must-have Chargers beer-can opener, $5.99. Chargers Santa hat, a pair of Chargers fuzzy dice, and a helmet bank with team logo...
I begin to hum, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”