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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Tuesday, 20 December
The Island Of Costly Toys

I tried, I really did. I tried to do all my Jesus Day shopping online this year again, thinking, This year will be the year that I do not actually have to enter a real store. Once again, I failed. There are simply things that are good for online shopping ("What a handsome Prada purse!") and things that are just . . . not. ("What a handsome prostitute! . . . Ewww.") And then there are friends who are easy to shop for, like most actors I know ("When all else fails, buy booze"); and then there are those who are not, like most parents I know ("I don't fucking care. Let's get them a sex pinata filled with erotic tacos. I can't even think of this any more").

What all this means is that, yet again, I found myself trudging downtown today after work to enter the perfect Gehenna that is downtown Seattle shopping.

One thing you should know about downtown Seattle is that, while it has a lovely skyline, the place itself is devoid of anything resembling soul or character or fun. All these things, along with troublesome homeless people, have either been chased out to other neighborhoods--like mine--or have been simply dumped into some large municipal burr grinder, so that all that remain are edificial horrors like the Cheesecake Factory, Banana Republic and horrid corporatized bars with names like Hello, Cactus Fuck or Bonny Al O'Pecia's Genuine Irish Publick House, where the prices will make your hair fall out! Guinness served ice cold!

Downtown Seattle is to enjoyable municipal space as Patch Adams is to heartwarming comedy.

It was with this sort of attitude that I entered the completely intolerable Pacific Place mall, an airbrushed gleam of a thing that features little annoying shops with little annoying names like TWIST! and, horribly, UNIK! right alongside such big names as Pottery Barn (who keeps their pottery in the barn? I guess it beats calling it "Shit in a Shed") and Restoration Hardware (which I always see at first as "Resurrection Hardware," for some reason--"Get your Lazarus shovels here! He's not going to dig himself up, you know!"). My first stop was the odious Barnes & Noble.

B&N always fills me with conflicting emotions, mainly because of my undying fondness for mom-and-pop bookstores, whose inventories always reflect the owners' personalities, and for the clean, simple pleasure of jawing about good books. (Once I had a book shoved into my hands by a local bookseller who said, "You'll love this. Just bring it back when you're done.") On the other hand, it sure is convenient to have every book ever published right there ready to buy if you want it. You can even read it if you want! Right here in our cafe! Want some melon? No thanks, I'm reading Henry James.

I found what I needed and bullied my way to the cashier line, and plopped my crap down, ready to buy. The cashier gave me my total and said, "Do you have a membership card?" I told him no, don't worry about it. He pursed his lips, as if I had really let him down.

I don't even know when this membership card thing all started. I have one now for my fucking supermarket, since I don't want to get boned on all those great deals on olives--though they bone me nicely anyway by overpricing every other item I could possibly need--but that's about it. Are there really people who have membership cards tucked away in their exploding wallets for every fucking conceivable shopping experience? "Oh, honey, look--two dollars off margaritas at Hello, Cactus Fuck! Should we?" "Well, I'm driving, but . . . I can't pass that up! What do you say, kids?" "Daddy, but what if you drive drunk and kill us?" "Oh, children! Don't worry! You're insured! Daddy has a double-points card with Geico!"

I'm a pretty efficient shopper, particularly when I have incentive to get the fuck out of anywhere that has more than ten people in it. I soon left Pacific Place and caught a cab back home. I glared at my GIANT BIG FANCY SACKS full of shit and stewed in the cab. Despite the fact that nothing I had purchased was really all that huge, the store staffspeople had nonetheless dropped everything into these ridiculously enormous bags, as if to say, "Hey, this guy bought some seriously gigantic shit! Shouldn't YOU stop by and torch your credit card for a Mary Magdalene RealDoll? You can get it, right here at Resurrection Hardware!"

Fully functional. Dishwasher safe--she is super bendy. No, sir, the historical record is kind of unclear as to the actual color of her pubic hair. I recommend auburn. Anyway. Do you have your membership card?

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Hey my comment is being denied. Can someone send me a list of words I can't use?

Comment number: 006182   Posted by: Amanda on December 20, 2005 01:04 AM from IP:

I think I figured it out. I was trying to tell you that I loved the idea of erotic tacos, and that my parents would love the idea even more (thanks for the gift idea), and I inadvertently used that dirty S-E-X word.

I also wanted to thank you for your honesty on Barnes & Noble, as I feel a similar conflict, but having written this about 3 times now, it's losing it's meaning.

Comment number: 006183   Posted by: Amanda on December 20, 2005 01:06 AM from IP:

Fight the membership card urge all you can, Skot. Becauce if you get a card, you'll appear on a customer list. And customer lists are what keep marketing people in their jobs. And everyone who works in marketing should be brutally killed with a 'Joseph the Carpenter' Axe from Resurrection Hardware.

Comment number: 006184   Posted by: Lung the Younger on December 20, 2005 06:35 AM from IP:

"Shit in a shed." Those four words are why there's coffee all over my damned keyboard right now. I freely confess that I am going to steal that line. Thanks for the Christmas guffaw.

Comment number: 006185   Posted by: Jane on December 20, 2005 09:01 AM from IP:

Mary Magdalene RealDoll???

Skot, You are going to rot in heck!
Boy howdy!


Mappy Hacrizaa, you crazy bastard!

Comment number: 006186   Posted by: StMark on December 21, 2005 06:11 AM from IP:

Thank god someone else sees the crappiness that is Pacific Place. Last year they had 'snow' inside the mall and people actually made a trip downtown to see the 'snow.' I hope to god they aren't doing that this year - that soap can be put to much better use.

Comment number: 006187   Posted by: Shelly on December 21, 2005 03:42 PM from IP:

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