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News Notes November 9 2005

By Rick Racela

Note 11.9
My catalogue companies are becoming entirely too familiar with me, and I’m getting just a little uncomfortable.
When did this discomfort start? And when, for heaven’s sake, did I start calling them “my” companies?
I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I began ordering three items at a time when I only really wanted one, because with three, I’d get the “preferred customer” price, maybe five or 10 dollars off.
I didn’t feel uncomfortable when suddenly, five or six catalogues a day arrived in the mail, many from companies I’d never heard of, selling weird products I’d never seen before.
And, low and behold, didn’t I find something I needed in each one? How did they know what I needed and where to find me?
I was just slightly bothered when I went to some Web sites and was greeted with, “Good Morning, Carolyn Mee. We have some wonderful suggestions for you today.”
But I was truly troubled yesterday when I my favorite company, J. Jill, sent me a birthday card with a gift coupon inside – $10 to use towards my next purchase. How thoughtful. My family doesn’t even send me birthday cards.
Maybe Jill is getting a bit too chummy. How long do you think it took me to flip through the catalogue to find a gift for myself worthy of my birthday coupon?
Okay, this situation may indeed be a bit out of control.
Lately, since my treasures are delivered to my office, my coworkers, who witness the UPS delivery man struggling under the weight of piles of packages daily, are beginning to wonder if I have a “problem.” I tell them it’s not a “problem” because I can stop whenever I choose. Someday I’ll choose to, but not now.
Especially not now. It is, after all, shopping season, what with Thanksgiving right around the corner. ‘Tis the season for spending more than you have and buying things no one really needs. In short, it’s Uncontrolled-Buying Season.
For me, it’s like being pregnant. Brings back fond memories of the only time in my life I didn’t worry about what overeating would do to my figure.
The Gift-Giving Season comes with a license to rack up the charges, full speed ahead.
That’s why one in every three packages that arrives with my name on it is actually a Christmas gift. (No, silly, not for me.)
 When the holidays are over, I will certainly cut down on the catalogue shopping. (The best sales in January are within driving distance anyway.)
However, just because I get my fix every evening as I linger over a glass of chardonnay and a pile of catalogues, don’t think I’ll miss all the occasions to spend money right in our own neighborhood. Check the Planner and you’ll find Christmas bazaars and craft shows, as well as penny parties and such. Plenty of opportunities to chip away at your gift list.
Oh, and you (and I) by chance might find a little something in our sizes, too.
On a serious note, don’t forget to buy something to donate to the charities collecting for needy families, too. There’ll be toy drives and canned goods collections. And by the way, the Red Cross could use donations of your blood, too – an affordable yet valuable gift indeed.
Some of the organizations that sponsor such philanthropic operations are listed in the Planner. If you know of others, please send in the information so I can get the word out.
And remember, it’s better to give than receive. But why not do both?

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