The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

December 29, 2007

Tiny Bubbles in Huge Quantities

Filed under: shopping — Tags: , , , — Brian Lutz @ 12:50 pm

(Note:  This article is crossposted from buzz.mn.)

While some stores are busy with their huge after-Christmas blowout sales, other stores have swiftly removed all traces of the now lapsed holiday from the store. At the local Costco, the shelves full of holiday decorations (mostly the stuff you’d probably need a bigger yard to accomodate) had disappeared without a trace from the warehouse. Aside from some leftover toys piled up on shelves in the back, there wasn’t any sign that a major holiday which results in massive consumer spending just happened. This is somewhat understandable, given the fact that the stuff has been hanging around since September and they were probably getting sick of it.  In the place of the Christmas stuff, preparations have been made to catch the next opportunity to sell big ticket items to the well-intentioned:

Just in time for New Years Resolutions, a variety of exercise machines are on offer.  Throughout my childhood, a fair number of these devices took up relatively brief residence in the household. I can recall several stationary bikes, a couple of treadmills, and even a full-sized home gym (which forced the relocation of our well-stocked den/computer room to the dining room of all places) showing up at various times. At first, they would see at least somewhat regular use, but over time, they would eventually end up buried up under piles of unfolded clean laundry or other detritus, amd would eventually find their way out to the garage until they could be foisted off on an unwitting relative. No matter how many times it happens, the cycle seems ro repeat itself eventually. (Incidentally, if anyone happens to need a home gym, I could probably find you one really cheap, as long as you’re willing to haul it off…)

Elsewhere in the warehouse, other preparations for the New Year were being made, including a sizeable display of various champagnes and other sparkling wines (you can’t call it “Champagne” unless it comes from that particular region of France, according to EU regulations.) For years, these wineries have taken great pains to build up a reputation of prestige and exclusivity for their products. Then something like this comes along and wrecks the whole thing:

I’m sure that you wouldn’t have to go back too many years to find a time when practically EVERYONE would have been appalled by that particular scene for one reason or another. You can put away the guillotine though, because the Dom Pérignon brand of Champagne was not introduced until 1936, more than 200 years after the actual Dom Pérignon’s death in 1715. Nonetheless, one might be tempted to say that the Dom himself would be rolling in his grave, but his Wikipedia entry seems to suggest that his role in the development of sparkling wines is often exaggarated. In fact, back in those days the refermentation of wine that resulted in carbonation was considered to be a defect to be avoided, mostly due to its tendency to cause the bottles to explode, sometimes setting off chain reactions and presenting considerable risk to those who worked in the wine cellars.

Of course, even at wholesale prices, Dom Pérignon is still horrendously expensive for most of us at nearly $120 a bottle. Perhaps if you’re looking for something a bit more Bourgeoisie friendly, how about Kirkland Signature champagne? As strange as that may sound, According to their website the stuff is real Methode Champenoise produced champagne from France, compliant with all the EU Protected Designation of Origin regulations. In other words, the stuff ain’t Two-buck Chuck (or Three-Buck Chuck, depending on the taxation wherever you happen to live.) On the other hand, it’s still $20 a bottle, so I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the stuff in the local 7-Eleven anytime soon either.

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