shop, who stand
The shoppers were out
in force, and so were the
Cash registers were humming in HawaiiBy Suzanne Tswei
It was that detached, Zen-like lack of expression on his face that gave him away. Hal Uffelman, faithful husband, good sport, on duty as human shopping cart.
The Los Angeles aerospace scientist waited patiently yesterday in Liberty House as he lugged around shopping bags full of bargains that his wife has gathered. Quietly he parked himself in a wooden chair in the furniture section, which was filled with silent men all wearing the same expressionless look.
"This isn't so bad," said Uffelman, who pulled the same duty last year while on vacation visiting his in-laws in Honolulu.
"I've been through the drill before. Last year, I was here in the same spot. The same store, the same section. It's become kind of a family tradition, I guess."
The day-long downpour yesterday wasn't much of a bother, Uffelman said. This year's shopping was made much easier by the store relocating the furniture next to the Christmas items that his wife likes to stock up after the holiday.
"Last year I had to stand the whole time. This year is much nicer. I get to sit down. That's important."
He doesn't mind the shopping trip, Uffelman said. At the end, he will be rewarded with a good meal from his appreciative wife. Besides, he remembered the best seats elsewhere in the mall from last year, and that made the trip almost fun.
For Paul Chow of Seattle, it was pure torture. While his wife shopped at Neiman Marcus, he waited in a high chair normally reserved for women getting makeovers.
"I hate shopping," said Chow, who avoids shopping of any kind by leaving it all to his wife. But yesterday he tagged along because traveling as a family unit was more convenient for their schedule.
"I don't have to come. Well, my son is here to keep me company. I can talk to him. At least I have somebody to talk to."
He waited for nearly an hour, and as soon as his wife returned, he leaped up from his chair and greeted her with: "OK, let's go. Now."
While some men lack the aptitude for bargain hunting, others reveled in the after-Christmas shopping frenzy.
"This is entertainment for us," said Frank Fasi Jr., who along with two shopping buddies has had at least 10 outings to Ala Moana this holiday season. The discounts attracted them, but the real reason didn't have anything to do with bargains.
"We are all single, you know. This is a good place to watch women. There are a lot of pretty women here," Fasi said.
Military policeman Louis Arboleba is a veteran at Christmas clearance sales, too. The Kapolei resident has been carrying shopping bags for his wife at these sales for 9 years. Except for the wall-to-wall bodies crowding his path, he found the excursions perfectly pleasant.
"This is the way you can save money. It's a good way to get the things you want but maybe didn't want to pay that much for them," Arboleba said.
Another shopping-friendly male, Anthony Pagud, came to yesterday's sales with a mission in mind -- to prepare for his wife's birthday in February.
"I am the kind who likes to be organized. I don't like to do anything last minute. Usually I am done with my Christmas shopping by November, just to avoid the crowds," Pagud said.
He didn't mind the crowds yesterday, Pagud said. The day was really a family outing that began with church and a big breakfast.
And he was getting some pretty good ideas for his wife's birthday present.