Online gifts circumvent mall mauling
For Digital Slobs who recovered from the rough-and-tumble retail ruckus known as "Black Friday" by convalescing on "Black-and-Blue Saturday" (and in some extreme cases "Black-and-Less-Blue-More-Purplish-Now Sunday"), the good news is Christmas shopping is over.
While our arch rivals, Respectable People, might have nabbed holiday gifts for everyone, most Slobs panicked, grabbed the first low-end laptop they could find and scampered to higher ground behind a giant stack of Canon inkjet printers until I -- I mean they -- were coaxed out at midmorning by a few sales associates offering whatever was left of their energy drinks.
OK, OK, I'm talking about me. It comes back in flashes. It's still too soon, really.
But I had to plunge into the early a.m. fray, due to my poor domestic negotiating skills.
My wife, who had to work on Thanksgiving, was insistent on getting a notebook computer this year. I was equally obstinate about getting through next year without having my ATM card rejected for insufficient funds at McDonald's (three times is my lifetime limit).
So we found middle ground -- a lonely spot for me in line outside CompUSA vying with 1,000 others for cheap electronics.
It was a friendly enough scene at first -- forced jokes about how silly we all were to stand for hours just to save a few bucks. But as I glanced down, I realized that soon all those shoes would gladly trample me to death if I tripped in front of them on their way to a $500, 42-inch plasma HDTV.
That's what we call a chitchat-killing mental image.
But few tripped and all survived. The checkout line was endless, however -- stressful for those who had more places to go and new people to shove. It reminded me of that time I was trapped in a Bermuda airport with the eye of a hurricane only 11 hours away.
And though the storm has passed, Slobs like me still have plenty of shopping left to do. Sadly, CompUSA wasn't selling any "My Relative Participated in Black Friday and All I Got Was This Crummy Free-After-Rebate T-shirt" T-shirts.
But even if you kept your cool deep in the discount trenches, once you're so invested in something you're willing to chip a tooth to get it, it's only human nature to think twice about wrapping it up and sticking it under a tree with someone else's name on it.
So, for the next few weeks, we'll be identifying some bruise-free (online) holiday gadget gift ideas. After all, love shouldn't have to hurt.
Ozone Inflatable Lounger (gadgetshop.com, $57): Imagine a giant marshmallow stuffed with speakers that connects to your iPod or mp3 player. Then imagine sitting in it as it hovers over a magical kingdom made of cookies and rainbows that's populated with supermodels who worship you as their all-knowing monarch. Well, imagine no more (except for the rainbows, cookies and supermodels). This stereo/airseat deflates for easy transport from childhood basement lair to freshman dorm room, and then back to the basement once you drop out and re-nest until your parents lose their patience with you altogether.
Lobz Audio Ear Warmers: (timberland.com, $30): When outdoors, nothing beats a good pair of headphones and a 5,000-song iPod when it comes to keeping weirdos (i.e., everyone not currently on your speed dial) at arm's length, but what about the wind and cold? These fleece-covered ear warmers let hot tunes into your ear canal while keeping frigid air out. Keep your lobe cartilage toasty as you give the rest of the world the cold shoulder.
Next week: More gadgets.
Reach Star-Bulletin columnist Curt Brandao
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