Americans love shopping. They love deals.
And why wouldn't they?
Most stores are open 7 days a week, and for at least 10 or 12 hours a day. Special sale weekends are scheduled... every weekend. Deals, promotions, special events, beckon. Return and exchange policies are lenient. Credit rules.
My favorite time of year to observe natives in shopping mode: Black Friday, a.k.a. the day after Thanksgiving.
You may not realize this, but it is really worth your while to drive out of your house in the middle of the night and line up in the cold, waiting with hundreds of kindred spirits, for a superstore like Target or Walmart to open their doors. Besides, since you are still wearing your pj's and h.a.w.t. UGG boots, it will be a snap to return to bed afterwards, still clutching your Starbucks double tall eggnog latte, confident you snatched the best deals.
|It's Black Fridayyyyyyyyyy!!!|
Granted you might get trampled to death during the traditional Black Friday stampede, and if you survive, a Target or Walmart employee might not. Incidentally, I wonder if the guy the store management sends to unlock doors, gets a special bonus or not? It seems to me he should.
Yes, shopping in America is easy, and encouraged. As someone who has been actively - and satisfyingly - purging closets, an attic, and every corner of my house over the last few months, I shudder when I picture the amount of merde the average [gigantic] American house must contain.
But it is not just Americans. The French love shopping too.
|Rue Ste. Catherine, Bordeaux, France|
The winter sale has just started!
Unlike Americans, the French do not have guest bedrooms, or a three (or four) car garage, to store the overflow. They have to be more selective when they buy. Exchanges and returns can be challenging. Store opening hours are more limited than in the US.
And let's not forget the semi-annual sale is strictly enforced by the government. It is a concept that shopping-happy Americans have a hard time grasping. Say whaaaaat? French stores only go on sale twice a year? Well, they do, and they don't, but there is no doubt it is somewhat more difficult to shop in France than in the US.
|Soldes! The magical word!|
All this may help understand why my countrymen spend so much time looking... but not touching. Le Lèche-vitrine, (window shopping, or literally, window-licking,) is a national sport, and a concept young children get introduced to early on...
This weekend, as I was sorting through mail, my mailbox overflowing with catalogues and brochures touting special Christmas deals, I spotted a particular publication because of its bright red cover. As soon as I opened it, I knew I had a winner.
Now I know this is a reputable company. I know thousands of people will be ordering from that catalogue. But some of their products were too good to pass. I had to call Junior. Together, we flipped through the pages and had a good laugh. These were some of our favorites. I hope you enjoy them too...
If you like/own/are planning to order one of these products,
please don't be offended by my remarks.
To each his/her own.
Besides, I am French. What do I know?
Ready? Here we go...
French Girl in Seattle's 2013 Must-Have Holiday gift selection:
(Or: The gifts you never knew you never needed.)
1. The most unhealthy Holiday gifts e.v.e.r
The United States government is waging war on obesity, a national scourge. Even if Americans are admonished daily to "shake their derrière," voilà several items that guarantee you will turn into the least fit person in America.
|Do not walk or run around the yard. Ride your own miniature train with the kids instead!|
|The heated furniture cover: Will turn you into a couch potato for life |
(and will keep the dog warm)
|The remote-controlled beverage cooler: |
If you don't go to your soda, your soda will come to you!
|The rolling bedside iPad stand: Was the iPad too heavy? |
Is this why Apple just launched the new iPad Air?
2. Gifts you absolutely do not need (nope, not even in your wildest dreams!)
|The 15-foot inflatable Rudolph: |
Scare the Christmas lights out of neighborhood kids in 30 seconds flat!
|Canine Culinary Cupcakes: |
Because everyone knows Fido needs his own cavity/tummy ache inducing treats for Christmas!
|The hands-free hair rejuvenator (Don't ask!)|
|Her Majesty's umbrella:|
Because, at least in America, EVERYONE wants to look like Queen Elizabeth II
3. Gifts you should never, ever, get for your husband/boyfriend/hubby.
|Astronaut's slipper socks:|
"Houston, we have a problem!"
|The wireless speaker ear warmers:|
"Allo? Allo? Bob, do you hear me? Can you pick up milk on the way home?
Allo? Allo? You have Bluetooth! I KNOW you can hear me!!!"
And last but not least, the undisputed champion...
|Power nap head pillow:|
E.T. meets Elephant Man meets... What the... ????
4. Gifts Junior and I would splurge on, if...
... we had $125,000 and $250 to spare, respectively.
|The Porsche 917 Le Mans Raceway|
(Note: This looks bigger than the first apartment I rented in downtown Paris.)
|The Fashionista Christmas tree...|
And so you have it. Aren't these just fah-bu-lous?
You should be thanking me, right about now, for inspiring so many original gift ideas.
And since we started this post on a very American note, I choose to end it on a très French note...
Happy Thanksgiving, les amis! Watch out for Black Friday stampede!