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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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