“Shopping tip: You can get shoes for 85 cents at the bowling alley.” – Anonymous


We must admit, that is a pretty ridiculous quote. Shoe rental is now over $3.00 at most lanes. You might as well take a trip to Payless. Or try Gabe’s if your tolerance for the “irregular” in footwear is fairly high. Like one should be a left and the other a right of approximately the same size, with everything else being negotiable. But first you want to check for coupons at Retailmenot.com. See that? This is the type of high quality consumer advice that has inspired the Idler, now that the holiday shopping season is officially at our throats, to offer herewith his 2013 holiday shopping guide.

Shopping for men: Ladies, the average man will cheerfully wear anything you foist on him. As children, you spent countless hours dressing, undressing and redressing dolls with your girlfriends. What were the boys doing while you were thus occupied? Punching each other and making bubbles in the bathtub. For the vast majority of men, fashion is a complete mystery. I know what you’re thinking: “But what about James Bond who selected his wardrobe at Savile Row?” I suggest you look for Ian Fleming’s works in your local library. They’ll be in the “Fiction” section.  Sean Connery drove a milk truck and played soccer in Edinburgh before he started to fancy “bespoke” tailoring.  And don’t waste a lot of time looking at tools or athletic equipment. Next Summer you’ll find that darling gym bag with the special pockets for lotion and conditioner in a basement corner with extra spools of string trimmer and the velour golf glove inside. Two words: “gift card”

Shopping for women: Two words, “gift card”  Seriously, if you know exactly what she wants in the way of clothing or accessories, knock yourself out. The Idler can almost guarantee she’ll return it in January for some trivial reason like it’s 8 sizes too big or that despite its hilarious name, “periwinkle” really is the color she wanted. Also, you’ll want to be extremely careful in the area of kitchen implements. It is the rare husband who can get away with buying his bride a set of pots and pans even if she watches the Food network 12 hours a day and subscribes to Rachael Ray magazines. If you must go this route, you’ll need to buy in addition some expensive perfume with a weird name. The weirder and more expensive the better. “Trichinosis” by Calvin Klein at $85 a jug. You’ll have to trust the Idler on this one.

Shopping for kids: They’ll freely tell you all the latest crap they’ve seen advertised on television, and this is usually the easy way out. If they’re your kids and you’re tapped out, tell them that if they like the toys they have, they can keep the toys they have. Period. If they’re not your kids and you know the parents, you might ask them if they’ve created some sort of college fund you could kick into. This works better for men since we’re presumed to labor under a shopping handicap. Sure the kids will think you’re a jerk but they’ll get over it. As they get older, you can rehabilitate yourself by tossing them a fiver every so often when they bring you one of their dad’s beers.

Cigar Whiskey

Shopping for the Idler: Two words, “Jim” and “Beam”  Also “Cohiba”, so three words.

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