2010.01.20 After Christmas bargains sometimes more than they seem

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Does anybody else out there enjoy the after-Christmas sales like I do? I don’t mean markdowns on everyday items as much as the 75% to 90% discounts on holiday merchandise. I like getting a deal on something that I’d never consider buying at full price, but becomes hard to pass up at a deep discount.

Say, for example, those individual cookies in a metal box. A bit overpriced at a dollar each before Christmas, but a tasty deal after a New Year’s 75% markdown. And a neat reusable tin after the cookie is gone.

And, if you need any, there’s always a good selection of wrapping paper and Christmas cards at huge discounts. Three or four years ago, I bought several rolls of paper at 90% off. I still have one jumbo roll left from that purchase, but next January will probably have to look to restock for Christmas, 2011.

Last week, I bought enough Christmas cards to cover next December’s needs at 75% off. I’m even willing to offer a tip to others who have already purchased their Christmas cards for 2010. 

Why not address the envelopes now when you have the time to spare? If you’re not one of those who includes a Christmas letter, you can even sign the card and seal the envelopes, too. Then, when you’re so busy next December, all you have to do is stamp and mail them. You can thank me later.

I found an appropriate Christmas gift for someone at 75% off. Since the recipient reads this column, I can’t tell you any more than that. That’s one off my list already and I’ve got over eleven months to work on the rest.

Sometimes, even a huge discount is barely enough. I bought an interesting looking jar shaped like a Christmas tree and covered with painted polka dots for ornaments for $1.24, 75% off its original tag.

The jar wasn’t the major selling point, of course. It was filled with hot cocoa. It was even made in USA cocoa, although the jar came from China. 

It turned out the cocoa was terrible, and I pitched the whole batch after one sip of my first cup. I hope no one got this as an actual present. At least the empty Chinese jar looks nice.

Then, finally, there was the candy defecating bear. Marked down 75% from $3.99 to a how-could-I-resist 99 cents, this little brown treasure is apparently the latest in Chinese technology. 

He was dressed for the season in a Santa hat and scarf, along with an open toy sack. Flicking a switch on his back opens up his rear opening (OK, it’s really his bear anus). Then push down on his head and rather than pooping in the woods, the bear defecates a hard candy into the toy sack. Lots of classy fun, right?

Even better, he sings a little song as he does his business. Some of it seems to be gibberish, but the gist of it sounds like he’s singing “Zopp zopp zoppadoo, zoppa zoppa zoppadoo, happy holiday!” He sings the little ditty twice before going silent, so he must be especially proud of his hard candy bowel movement.

Last Saturday, I decided to share the joy he has brought me and passed him along to a visiting friend. About 15 minutes after she and my little pooping bear pal left, I got a phone call. “That @#$!%&* bear won’t shut up!” were her first words. It seems that on her way out of town, the bear started singing his little song without any prompting and was still harmonizing in the background as she called me on her way through Morenci.

I suggested she tap him on the head a few times and see if that might quiet him. After a few tries, he finally stopped and she continued on her way. After reaching home in Blissfield, she called again. 

The bear had resumed singing right after she had hung up and continued crooning all the way to his new home, even after she had thrown him behind her seat in an attempt to shut him up. She was calling from inside her apartment. The still-singing bear was left behind in the truck for the night. She was hoping 12 or 15 hours of being “on” might wear out the bear’s voice, or at least his built-in battery.

 Sunday night, she reported that the bear was quiet when she next got in her truck, but broke into song without warning several times during the day. She’s quite sure it’s haunted. That may or may not be true, but hey, what do you want? It was 75% off.

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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