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The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Posted by trilobite (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 3, 10 at 12:14

Maybe it's the new year, maybe it's post-holiday jadedness, but I want to complain a bit about some of the shops that seem to exist only as clutter delivery devices. Those of you not in the American northeast will never have heard of this place, but I'd like to nominate the Christmas Tree Shops to the organizing Hall of Shame.

I have been known to go into a Christmas Tree Shop once in awhile to purchase a cheap something or other (usually wrapping paper or packaging).

But for the most part, CTS exist as a delivery device for "mandatory gifts for people you don't know" junk. Over-scented body products. Food goods of dubious sell-by dates for making up gift baskets. And a truly astonishing selection of future-dust-collectors of all sizes and descriptions.

(I also think there's a whole vicious cycle here, where the easier it is to spend $10 and get 20 pieces of junk, the more expectations are raised to get everyone in your loose circle a piece of junk, instead of a few thoughtful gifts for people you're closest to. Maybe it's an attempt to establish connections in our modern age. Maybe it's a desire to feel like a "big spender" on a normal person's income. I dunno. )

Anyway, what shops would you nominate to the organizing "Hall of Shame"?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I'd like to nominate The Build A Bear Workshop. You not only get to buy a stuffed animal, you buy various outfits for it too. Of course, you're encouraged to keep buying outfits for different looks.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Trilobite, I always get a kick out of the CTS ads. Women with shopping carts looking at items and going on & on about the prices. Not the item, but the prices. They have to have it because it's cheap. I always thought that was strange! But I do head there when, for instance I need 10 tins for giving out cookies, a kitchen gadget, etc. I've never needed a shopping cart there, though ;)


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

My husband calls Christmas Tree Shops the "garage sale fodder" store. Go over to the Holiday forum, though, and people will sing its praises! It does have remarkably cheap prices. As long as you're choosy about what you buy, or are good about weeding out the resulting clutter periodically, it can serve its purpose. If you use the following kinds of items it's definitely got amazing prices: candles, picture frames, baskets, seasonal and holiday decorations, some housewares. They now carry a lot of health and beauty supplies, but those prices aren't remarkable.

The quality is often low, you have to be picky. Here's an example: some relatives liked a set of patio furniture at Crate and Barrel, but it was more money than they wanted to spend. They found a virtually identical set at Christmas Tree and bought it. A magnet reveals the difference, though: the Crate and Barrel set was aluminum while the knockoff was steel. It will probably look good for a few seasons and then rust. Was it worth it? I guess it depends on how much care they're willing to give it, and how quickly their taste may change. So far they're happy with it.

People in my workplace used to exchange Christmas gifts many years ago, and it resulted in buying the kind of junk gifts tribolite talks about. To solve that problem we went to a potluck lunch and Yankee Swap, which is a lot of fun. And if the gift you end up with is still junk, at least it's only one!


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Honestly, I think they are all clutter delivery vehicles. Dollar stores, TJ Maxx, Marshalls.....They're all pushing stuff, stuff, stuff. How much stuff is enough?????


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I collect Christmas ornaments (pink, glass, blue and yellow for themed trees) so you can imagine my profound disappointment the first time I went into a CTS! I thought they were guilty of false advertising...

I occasionally go in if I'm looking for a particular type of item, but buy very little there. I did score some nice leatherette boxes to store my china once. Wish I had bought a bunch more....

Barbara


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I agree about the Christmas Tree Shop overall. But I have to say it is a good place to buy wrapping paper/materials and I have found a few good lamps there, doormats and garden pots. You have to be verrrrrry selective!

On that same level, I find Ocean State Job Lots to be in the same league. Both stores always smell really bad - have you noticed?

seagrass


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Dollar stores are on my list of places to stay out of. No, I don't need a soap shaped like a cat or bags of cotton candy. Even for a dollar!


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Big Lots!


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Ross housewares dept. gets my vote. Before I moved to Canada (none here), I couldn't get out of that store without buying another kitchen gadget.


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I'm with Marie, the kitchen gadgetry department in Ross, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and HomeGoods suck me in. I was so disappointed when HomeGoods opened in my neighborhood...curses!


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I'm with Marie, the kitchen gadgetry department in Ross, Marshalls, TJMaxx, and HomeGoods suck me in. I was so disappointed when HomeGoods opened in my neighborhood...curses!


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I think we're talking about those *gift shops* that sell items that NO ONE would ever buy for themselves. And also those special displays department stores put in their center aisles during the holiday season to sell "gifts" that people buy for others because they feel they 'have to' buy something - anything. Wind-up music boxes. Jewelry boxes. Leather covered decanters. Teapots with two matching cups. Welcome plaques with clever sayings. Stinky candles that will never get burned. Toiletry sets filled with things that any adult would already own. Who doesn't own a nail clipper already? or a comb? And figurines. Who can't get enough of those dinky, crappy figurines to place around on every flat surface in their home.

What I have always wondered is how those types of gift stores stay in business. Who buys that carp? Apparently lots of people or they would not exist. I wish those stores were not around to encourage people to wast their money on stuff that will end up being 'regifted' or donated to Goodwill.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

DD, You must have just taken inventory of "Old Time Pottery". I past it today and thought of this thread.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I just hate the dollar stores - such cheap junk! But I do go there to buy cleaning supplies because they are so much cheaper than at the grocery store. And I found some surprisingly good quality gloves for $1 - bought a bag full to donate to a homeless shelter our church supports.

I also use the term "garage sale fodder" for Xmas gifts. I try to only buy consumables for people for the past few years - food gifts or bath products I know they will use. My goal is to give a gift that will be used up by spring! And I love getting those type of gifts. My MIL is catching on - this year she gave me a box of chocolates & a bath gift basket! Both are almost gone already :)

My sons' teachers have remarked to me over the years that they get boatloads of crap every xmas from parents - pins, mugs, note cards, etc. I give teachers gifts - of my home made, home canned apple butter and pacakages of Cub Scouts popcorn. They seem to love it and I'm not saddling them with any clutter.


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Gosh this thread is making me happy I moved to the country which has kept me from shopping just to shop and wind up buying things I don't need.
I am surprised that Big Lots was only mentioned once. That was the first place I thought of. Not that we didn't find a nice set of sheets at table runner we used as a valance over the kitchen sink and a scarf for the patio door of our daughters first apartment, but really it's a hit and miss to find anything worth buying other than sheets IF they happen to have the color you are looking for.


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I nominate Tuesday Mornings. The ones in our area have nothing but dusty old stuff that even Big Lots doesn't want! Talk about junk, that store gives me the ebby jeebies.


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I was referring to the type of stores that are busting at the seams with mass produced crap that no one in their right mind would buy for their own self. Not ones that sell items that are functional like lamps and cabinets.

I just recently received a gift card to such a store. There was not one thing in the store I wanted to let in my house. A Betty Boop figurine? An 'I Luv Lucy' wallclock'? A dagger to hang on my wall? Do I need a carved walking stick? A hand blown glass animal? An op art mosaic wall hanging? Ceramic rooster from China anyone? A carved wooden horsey? The cutest most adorable mugs? Who can't use another mug? Huh? A plastic cuckoo clock? Who among us does not collect angels or frogs? I'm running low on thin, scratchy kitchen towels. And teeny, thin potholders. If I could get a matching quilted toaster cover, that would be fantastic.

All these stores start to look the same, to the point of vertigo.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I looked at those photos and thought of all that junk ending up in landfills--scary, isn't it?


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I don't blame the shops. They only stay in business because people buy the stuff. Seems like such a waste of resources - time, material and real estate.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I blame the new "tradition" of having to get a gift for everyone at the even slightest hint of a holiday; Secretary day, Sweetest Day, Bosses Day, Grandparents Day, Housepet Appreciation Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, and all the rest. Nobody every buys anything but junk for these Hallmark holidays.

And the guilt to have to buy a gift at winter holiday time for every co-worker, cousin, neighbor, kid's teachers, mail carrier, hairdresser, in-law, boyfriend, boyfriend's parents, and anyone and everyone who happened to pass through one's life over the previous year.

Then there is the etiquette recommendation to keep some "generic gifts" on hand wrapped under the tree to pass out to unexpected holiday party guests who happen to stop by.

Wow! Jelly-Bellys in a collectible holiday decanter jar. Thanks! A candle that smells like food! Thanks! How did you know I was running low on food scented pillar candles and needed another one to stuff in an out of the way storage drawer? Wine? Why yes, I love wine! Sure I understand that you don't know me well enough to splurge on some wine that is palatable. Thanks for the Chateau St. Nicholas. My pot roast will love it.

Stop the insanity. I tell everyone NO GIFTS. Please. I still end up with Peach scented body spray from the dollar store. Old lady scarves. Marshmallow candies in decorative tins. Yuck. Knock it off. Please!


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

LOL, dilly_dally. My cat wishes to inquire about Housepet Appreciation Day. When is that? She's sure I will want to get her a nice gift or two. She will inform her brother so they can work together on their wish list.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

National Dog Day:

"Celebrate National Dog Day by spending extra time with your dog. Take it for a ride or a walk to a place that's special for the two of you. Buy it a new toy or special treat."

http://www.ehow.com/how_5239397_celebrate-national-dog-day-august.html

Here is a link that might be useful: National Dog Day


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Oh, whew! I'll tell her it's only for dogs.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

June 7-13 is Pet Appreciation Week. Cats and ferrets are in on this one. Looks like you are "obligated" to buy a junky gift. :)

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Here is a link that might be useful: Pet Appreciation Week


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

If it's not until June maybe she'll forget about it by then. But I liked the suggestion to show your appreciation by learning to purr.

I've thought about this thread quite a bit as I've gone about my life lately. I keep mentally nominating certain stores to the Hall of Shame.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

My brother-in-law opined that CTS must have geniuses doing the marketing, because there is not one item they carry that anyone needs, yet people are constantly buying things there.

We just got a Big Lots nearby, but I haven't seen anything compelling inside. New pillows i guess, since some guest on Oprah informed me that pillows get full of dust mites and germs and should be replaced every year.

I was relieved when Christmas approached at a new workplace and the colleague I spent the most time with broached the idea of 'what to do to celebrate Christmas.' She admitted that gift giving had gotten out of control, and wondered if it would be okay if we just exchanged cards, and sincerely wished one another merry Christmas.

I occasionally buy basic clothing at TJMaxx, but leave the kultch in the back to people who like clutter.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

Junk gifts for every holiday and gifts for every little reason to think of; "just because". Arrgh.

I can't tell you how many times I see people post asking for ideas on what to buy as a gift for someone they hardly know. They need ideas. Well if you can't think of anything then don't bother. The suggestions that others respond with are always the same - bath salts, candles, pot holders..............

Requests for ideas for favors for guests attending luncheons are a biggie too. Who needs 'em? Everybody doesn't need to go home with a little tiny potted plastic flower, or a pocket calendar, or a candle, what ever. Save the moola. The stuff ends up in the trash or regifted.

evaf555, what is a CTS?? Is it like Marhalls?


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

CTS

My only must buys for me are paper napkins and plates. Huge selection and very inexpensive. Here's a link to a monthly flier.

Here is a link that might be useful: Christmas Tree Shops


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Thanks. I never heard of them. I see they do not have them in my state. At least they sell some things that are useful and not just knickknacks.


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I saw this thread and just had to respond. All these comments are SO true. I have to admit, every January and June, I work at the Dallas market for a supplier/manufacturer. We sell Holiday and decorative housewares. Everything is made in China. We sell cheap knock offs of what other "better" stores are carrying. We have some exclusives (LOL), unique to us, but mostly, but we buy from the mfg companies over there. We sell to all the mom and pop as well as wholesalers. Some five and dimes that still exist in places. We dont sell to the "big" nationwide stores. They also buy direct from the overseas mfg. So, what the stores we sell to buy from us, the Hobby Lobby's might have some of it too.
One year, I really liked a few Christmas things. However, my cost to buy 1 piece from who I work for was more than what I found it at HL for the following July (Christmas is sold in January for as early as June shipping)
Each year, before the trade show, we go through the 6000 sf showroom and think, who would buy this stuff to sell, and then who would buy it. But people/stores buy the darndest things.
Each year, there are maybe a handful of decorative things I like. This year, was some super cute Halloween stuff. There is a store down the street that is carrying it.
I'll decorate for fall come mid september with a few things here and there. If I buy this stuff, I will store it, and come Halloween, I will forget I have it, or be so busy with the kids fall activities, wont have time to get it out. Happens every year.
JUST SAY NO!


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I check into Tuesday Morning fairly frequently since they are all over Dallas, which is where their corporate offices are located. 95% of the time, I walk out empty handed. 4% of the time, I buy something that turns out to be worthless, so it gets returned. For example, last week I bought a strawberry huller. Now I remember those from my childhood to be effective metal utensils that did the job fairly well. The Tuesday Morning version looked like a very large, fat, plastic white tweezer. It was $1.49. So I bought one, and it was worthless. I happened to buy something else that didn't fit in the space it was needed, so I returned both items the following day. But it would hardly have been worth the trip to return a junky $1.49 strawberry huller. I decided that there are factories in China that make junk and stores like Tuesday Morning that are willing to buy junk because the cost is just pennies so even if most of an item sells on clearance, the retailer makes a lot of money on it. People probably don't return the insignificant items either.

However, 1% of the time, I have found real bargins at Tuesday morning over the years, but as the chain has expanded, those true "close-outs" are rare, most of the stuff is made for Tuesday Morning to sell straight out. For example, I bought a pair of Waterford Crystal lamps at Tuesday morning for about 65% off retail, and they are gorgeous lamps in perfect condition. Another example, we needed a sturdy garment cover (sort of a lightweight, thin garment bag, just to protect a suit during travel, but you can't put a lot of other things in it as well). I could not find one anywhere, but happened to find one (and there was only one) at Tuesday Morning. Go figure.

I would never burn any sort of candle but a top quality one, nor would I use bath products except name-brand. And who buys that food at TJMaxx, Tuesday Morning, etc? It's scary to think of where that might have come from.Moreover, I will not buy dishes, cookware, flatware, etc. from any source besides an established name brand. Seeing all of those mugs, food storage containers, etc. in these dollar stores, Tuesday Morning, TJMaxx, etc. makes me fear for my life. Heaven only knows what is in the glazes and plastics that those items are made from. And the baby products and toys? Some of them smell like gasoline! Why would anyone buy these? I won't even buy paper products like plates and napkins from places like these store. Why support them at all by shopping there? I'd rather spend a little extra and buy from an established retailer. The sooner people stop patronizing these businesses, the faster they will be gone.

I decided that I'm getting close friends/relatives Thymes candles for Christmas (in the Fraiser Fir scent, just lovely) and I'm buying lots of pint sized canning jars now that they are on the shelves. In November, I'll buy a couple of gallons of wild honey and give honey-filled jars as gifts to most everyone else. I cannot think of anyone I know who needs anymore stuff.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I would also add "Forever 21," a trendy clothing store, to the Hall of Shame. It is packed with scanty, poorly made clothing aimed at teen girls. The clothing is cheaply priced, but quickly wears out, tears, pills, seams split, elastic breaks, designs fade. Such garbage. And they will not give you your money back if you return the clothing within their the companies stingy 21 day return window (even with a receipt), only a store credit. Sheesh.


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I make it a point to stay OUT of dollar stores, 99 cent stores, Tuesday Morning,garage sales, etc. Any place that sells stuff cheap. Unless I know exactly what I want, like back to school notebook paper and folders and pens, etc. My MIL used to buy all her Christmas gifts at Tuesday Morning. Did she really think I needed a wooden cutting board? I already own two plastic and one wooden board.


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What's with all the Tuesday Morning bashing?
I find great things there and it's not exactly a dollar store, which I also like.
I buy what I need, at a good price....


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"I decided that I'm getting close friends/relatives Thymes candles for Christmas.............. I cannot think of anyone I know who needs anymore stuff."

Ugh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a lot of people hate candles and don't burn them in their house. Releasing all those chemicals into the air and breathing them in is not desired. Then there is also the issue of soot build-up on the walls. Some people just don't like the designs or scent of candles they get as gifts even if they do burn candles at home.

Don't assume everyone will be thrilled with another candle as a gift. They are a very common gift item and people end up with drawers filled with gift candles.

Food items as a gift can be tricky too. You really have to know the person and know their tastes and habits before giving a food item, or it is likely to end up in the trash. I think the honey is a good gift idea especially if it is local from your area and given to someone far away. Honeys do vary regionally with each having it's own nuance. A lot of people won't eat honey though.

I think they whole idea of giving generic gifts at every hint of a holiday or occassion, needs to fade away.


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DD:

I do agree about the chemicals! I cringe at the sight of all of those cheap candles and diffusers at the dollar stores and even Target or Walmart. My entire family has asthma, so I'm very particular about the sort of candles I burn at home. Thymes candles are exceptional candles that burn very clean. Most people who I know burn candles and love the smell of Christmas trees, so this is a wonderful gift. But it may not be your "cup of tea," which I completely understand.


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

I love Thymes Frasier Fir. That is one candle I would gladly burn.


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It's the thought that counts -- but only if there actually was thought. I think this is why gift cards were invented.


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I'd rather we buy fewer presents period.

I think that the "thought" is often simply one of "how can I feel good about myself" or "how can I look good," and not "how can I please this specific person." THAT is the "thought" we're supposed to be doing.

But it seems like people spend money instead of energy.
Or, they don't feel that they can say, "I'm comfortable with just being mildly friendly to you, and that's all."


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

"Forever 21" a trendy clothing store, to the Hall of Shame. I second this based on their new line of maternity clothes. Gee, are they targeting or appealing specifically to pregnant teens?


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Forever 21

Funny Forever 21 story. We have a HUGE Volunteers of America thrift store in my town (Columbus OH). All the teens go there to hunt for vintage & funky clothes. Everyone calls it VOA.

My friend who has a teen daughter and I were talking about how cool it is the kids compete to get the funkiest, cheapest things at VOA and brag about paying $1 or $2 for outfits. She said her daugher wanted her to take her to shop at Forever 21. My friend told her, "Honey, we don't have a Forever 21 budget. We have a Forever VOA budget."

I thought that was the funniest thing I've heard in ages!

And I agree about Forever 21 - cheap stuff!! Same with Target, Old Navy, Gap, etc - cheap trashy clothes that look good the first time you wear them then look awful after you wash them!


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RE: The Hall of Shame (shops, etc.)

What a great thread. You folks have really got me thinking now. Love all the pics by dd above...so true.

I think, going forward, if/when I go into a Dollar Store (or some place similar) I'll take a list, even if there is only one item on it, and then try really hard to stick to the list.

Sue


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Saturday, we bought my daughter a new short-sleeve pointelle sweater/tunic to wear that night, at our local Super Target. By the end of the night, all of the edges of the garment (sleeves and hem) were curling up and thus becoming shorter and appeared to have a thick rolled edge.

So disappointing--needless to say, it's going back to Target asap. I'm just not going to even bother to shop there anymore for dressy clothing. The quality is just not there.


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It's not about the place you shop, but the brand. My favorite stores for clothes are Belks and Dillards, but they both carry low end merchandise that I won't ever buy. I shop the sale racks for better brands (for me, Jones New York, Calvin Klein, Free People, etc.) at great discounts.


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Well past time to bump this up. It should have been before the Christmas shopping season.

I just get such a kick out of all the shop pictures posted by dilly_dally.

It's surprising, but I've never really been drawn to stores like that when just out shopping, or when shopping for a gift.


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I've been making goodies for Christmas for the past 38 years and don't buy gifts for anyone for family or friends. In years past I would adopt a needy family and buy for the entire family. Sad to say this year was my last for goody making as it's getting much too difficult. All the people who have been recipients of my homemade fudge, etc. will be greatly dissappointed next year when a ready made product arrives. LOL

Too many people forget the true meaning of Christmas and it's not about going into debt or spending money you don't really have to buy stuff people don't really need.


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I nominate the Old Country Store section of the Cracker Barrel chain of restaurants to this list. They design the place so that you have to walk through the store to get to the restaurant.


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