Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Black Friday Reflections

Belated Shopblogging

We actually did the holiday madness thing on the day after Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to go with Keith. Actually, it really wasn’t too bad. We avoided Wal-Mart entirely and, other than some car trouble, didn’t really have any problems. It helped that we’ve been working on Christmas gifts since late summer. After dinner on Thursday, we got everything out of the closet and sorted it out and realized we only had a few things left to buy. From that we were able to narrow the list of places we needed to hit and that made things a lot less stressful.

This also meant that we both had more money to spend on non-holiday stuff, so we headed to Half-Price Books. I don’t totally know what to think about the idea of a national chain of used book stores. On the one hand, they’re essentially a second-hand Barnes and Noble, with all the pluses and minuses thereof. On the other hand, Louisville has so few used bookstores that aren’t totally devoted to Danielle Steele and Harlequin Romances. I think despite my anti-chain inclinations, I’m really coming to like this store a lot.

Since they constantly buy stuff, each store can kind of take on a local flavor, which I like. Stock also changes quite a bit due to the constant buying. The one here in Louisville has a lot of interesting stuff and the prices are quite nice. I can walk out with a stack of stuff for 20 bucks.

This visit, I got volumes 2 and 3 of the Mai the Psychic Girl Perfect Collections. Mai was one of the earliest translated manga to hit the US and it’s still a favorite of mine. I also got a couple of older collections of Gahan Wilson cartoons for about 3 bucks each. The store here has a pretty varied selection of graphic novels, a good cross section of titles and publishers from across the spectrum. They also have individual back issues, but I’ve never felt led to paw through those bins.

Music-wise, their main selection sucks. Heavy on Nash Vegas country and Top 40 pop, and little else. No folk section at all. On the other hand, the clearance CD shelves are like a treasure trove. Lots of stuff from small labels, local and regional artists, and others who tend to fly below the radar. I’ve gotten several Carrie Newcomer CD’s from this section. Most clearance CD’s only cost a buck or two. This visit, I found some Celia Cruz and Eliades Ochoa.

All together, we ended up spending enough to get a free 2005 Half-Price Books calendar, which has a bunch of coupons in it for next year. So, we actually got ourselves a Christmas present.

One word on selling stuff to Half-Price Books: they pay crap. If your goal is to make some cash, try another avenue. But if you need to clear off some space and just want the stuff out of your life, they’re a heck of a lot easier than a yard sale or eBay.

Another shopping note: Big Lots has the same super-hero ornaments that Walgreen’s does right now. There are Superman, Batman, and Spider-man ornaments and they look pretty cool. The ones at Big Lots don’t come in boxes, but otherwise they’re the same. Locally, the ones at Walgreens are 2 for 10 bucks, while the ones at Big Lots are $2.99 each. This has been your super-hero tchotchke public announcement.

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