Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yule shopping: Blue shirts vs. Winston diamonds

THE FULL PAGE AD from a diamond merchant in today's New York Times reminded us that there were only "three days till Christmas." As if we didn't know. Despite the ugly war of attrition on Capitol Hill (Please. When will the cavalry arrive?), I am trying to be merry. I am even making allowances for all of the gushing these days over Mike Holmgren, the former football coach who now will be the BMOC of the Cleveland Browns. His pensive profile, surely inspired by Rodin's Thinker, arrived massively on the front page of the Plain Dealer today as the paper's sports columnists and editors worked hard to convince the reader of the historic significance of the moment.

Meantime, there are still those three days till Christmas to reckon with and the Times , in its snooty fashion, paraded a number of last-minute luxury gift ads from dealers with names like Ulysse Nardin, Everlon and Rolex. I was particularly taken by Harry Winston's $12,800 four-row diamond ring with the ground-level trade name of "Traffic." Honest.

I recall another time with no more than a hometown weekly that dwelled on births and deaths right up to its pre-Christmas edition. My mother made her annual shopping visit to George Saloom's little "department store" facing the World War I monument on the town square. She defined her need for a shirt for my father, deeply into the details. Only a few shirts were ever exhibited at Saloom's. So the proprietor would listen attentively, turn to the shelves behind the counter and pull out a couple of boxes that would meet her need. "We have a nice blue one and a white one in the right size," he assured my Mom with a degree a satisfaction as he removed the quarry from the boxes for closer inspection.

"I think I'll take the blue one," she said finally, aware that further shopping was not an option. "It won't show the dirt so fast. He spills things."

It was an annual transaction, to the point, with not a lot of deep thinking. Afterwards she would take me to Sam Samer's Candyland for a banana split. That makes me more cheerful already.


Harry Liggett said...

The economy is horrible, many have lost their jobs and the weather was deciding whether to be snow or rain--so everyone went Christmas shopping I learned at Summit Mall. Woe is me.

Grumpy Abe said...

I was there, too, Harry. Spent most of my time trying to evade strollers that burst from the stores into my path. I gave up telling Santa what I wanted and made a quick exit past Auntie Anne's. Whew!
That took care of my daily walk of the perimeter - and then some. Merry Xmas.