The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

June 13, 2008

Oh, and About That Summer Thing… Never Mind.

Filed under: shopping — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:38 am

Although I’ve already used up my one allotted weather complaint post for the month (which of course I wasted on a temperature of 51 degrees that was followed by the temperature dropping to 48 degrees just a couple of days later and a foot of snow up in the Cascades,) I somehow don’t think that this is a reassuring sign for the Summer ahead.  It isn’t even officially Summer for another week and a half, and sure enough, just as was predicted earlier over at the  Buzz, Target already has summer stuff on clearance, presumably to make way for the Back-to-school stuff to arrive a week after Summer Vacation begins for the school districts around here.  At this rate, it’ll be only a matter of time before the Back-to-school stuff arrives before the school year even ends.  Back when I was still in school they at least waited until August for this type of thing (which by now puts me dangerously close to being in “rode dinosaurs 40 miles in the snow” territory.)  For the few of you around here holding out hope that there might be some actual summer weather at some point before October, don’t sink into despair just yet (wait another week or two, and THEN sink into despair.)  As far as I can tell, it’s just the “Whim” stuff by some designer I’m too unfashionable to have ever heard of that’s being cleared out, and I suspect the usual supply of pool, backyard and beach paraphernalia will be around in its usual spot in the sporting goods department in the unlikely event that the sun comes out at some point in the next three months. 

 Then again, taking a look some of this stuff, I don’t think there are going to be too much lamenting when this stuff goes away.  After all, when was the last time someone went to your picnic or backyard cookout and told you that everything there would be perfect if you would have just gotten a day-glo plaid ice bucket?


Along with matching tablecloths, placemats, dish towels and tableware… there’s enough of this stuff here to make whole house clash with itself if you want.  Fortunately, it does appear that they stopped short of trying to sell furniture in that pattern, I shudder to think what a sofa covered in that stuff would look like ten years down the road. 

Oh, and if you’re drinking the technicolor Cynthia Rowley kool-aid, you might as well go ahead and grab a set of flip-flops in that same pattern while you’re at it.  I get the sneaking suspicion that those things would burn that pattern onto the soles of your feet if you wore them for too long.

Fortunately, there is still some stuff on the shelf that isn’t covered in Tartan gone horribly wrong.  Unless your name happens to be Strawberry Shortcake, good luck getting this stuff to match with your decor though.

On the other hand, if you like pink stuff, they’ve definitely got you covered there.  If you happen to be male and/or wish to avoid damaging your retinas every time you go out into the yard, you probably should have shopped for this stuff earlier when they still had this stuff in colors that sane people buy things in.

 Oh, and don’t forget to color coordinate the garden hose while you’re at it, to add that special touch to the yard.  I think I’ll stick with the hoses that don’t come in a color  on the opposide side of the color wheel from grass, thank you very much.  I do suppose that even these colors are an improvement over the stuff that Nature seems to be providing around here, which seems to be mostly gray right now. 

December 27, 2007

How to Tell When Your Holiday Has Overstayed its Welcome

Filed under: Cooking, Culture, shopping — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 1:33 pm

(Note:  This is a crosspost of an item I wrote over at

As you might have noticed if you did any shopping yesterday, it’s after-Christmas markdown time at your friendly neighborhood Target store, or whatever other “great big box full of stuff” store you’ve got nearby.  On the shelves, all the various baubles and trinkets shine and sparkle just as brightly as ever, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they’ve literally gone out of style overnight. In spite of this, the great big “50% OFF” signs tell the tale. The Valentine’s Day stuff is moving in a week from now, and it’s time for the Christmas stuff to hit the road (or the closet as the case may be) for the next nine months. Next door at the recently opened Kohl’s store (which, oddly enough, replaced a Mervyn’s that closed about a year ago,) they’re even more emphatic: 70% off.

In theory, this would be the best time to stock up on assorted paraphanelia in anticipation of Christmases yet to come, but that leaves the problem of storage. Are those tremendous savings really worth filling up the closet for? Sure, if you’ve got a large crawlspace to put the stuff in (as my parents have) this isn’t a big deal, but since I live in an apartment that accumulates an ever increasing amount of clutter over time, this becomes an issue. Besides, it’s not like they won’t make more of the stuff when the next Holiday season rolls around, right? Right? Um…  Better go ahead and stock up, just to make sure.


On the other hand, it’s not just the Christmas decorations taking a quick trip to the bargain bin. As you wander the aisles, it seems like anything even remotely festive is getting the big markdown. This is most visible in the candy aisle, where it seems like everyone’s been wrapping their stuff in festive Holiday packaging since roughly five minutes after Dia de los Muertos ended. In many cases (such as the package of chocolate shown above) a few sprigs of holly printed on the package will save you a couple of bucks over the same product in the standard packaging, even though the individually wrapped squares inside are 100% identical. I stocked up on these, but I don’t know why, since I still have these left over from last year’s after-Christmas clearance sale. If I was a food snob I’d call it “vintage” and claim that 2006 was a good year for chocolate, but I’m pretty sure most food snobs wouldn’t bother with this stuff anyway.


Finally, we see shelves and shelves of these red “gift” boxes full of generic Chinese merchandise (Now with 50% more lead than the leading brand!) all with the obligatory markdown. Granted, none of this stuff is particularly expensive in the first place, but if you ever wondered if giving this stuff as gifts would make you look cheap when they were at “full” price, seeing all the prices slashed in half a day after Christmas wouldn’t do much to reassure you. Still, there might be a couple of useful items here and there, so it’s worth looking through the pile. You’d probably feel ripped off if someone gave you one of these as a gift (or vice versa,) but buy it yourself and it’s a bargain.

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