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Thoughts & Views: Making a list, checking it twice

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Now that the holiday shopping season is in full ferocity, we have been learning about all those “must-have” things we never knew we needed.

They begin appearing in commercials and on store shelves in November and then magically disappear in January, sometimes never to be seen or heard of again.

Occasionally, one has a longer shelf life. Such as the Snuggie, the blanket with sleeves, which has been around for a few years now, though I have yet to see a single ad for it this year. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

I admit it. I often fall victim to the hype. Last year, I bought a pair of microwavable slippers.

This year, I have already invested in Cat’s Meow. (“Peeka- boo wand mimics a scurrying mouse.” “Hours of fun!”)

It will be under the tree for the felines, but somehow I think it will keep me more entertained than it will them.

There are certain things I will never buy. Such as the Essential Doomsday Survival Kit. This includes – among many, many other things — a portable stove, an emergency food supply (enough for one person for two weeks or two people for one week, and then I guess you have to start shooting squirrels), sleeping bag, flashlight, bandages, a deck of cards. (If you’re the last person left alive, there’s always Solitaire.) This is only a partial list.

The kit, originally priced at $1,199.99, has been marked down to $199.99. Which leaves me wondering if these kits are not left over from December 2012, when the Mayan Doomsday failed to materialize.

I will also not invest money in the Touch-Free Soap Dispenser. The need for which I cannot comprehend. Supposedly, it keeps your hands from getting all germy. But, think about it. After you touch a normal soap dispenser, you WASH your hands, right? You do not then reach over and touch the dispenser again, right? So what’s point? Unless you suffer from OCD.

(The touch-free soap dispenser reminds me of the washing-machine cleanser some detergent company has been touting. A WASHING machine gets WASHED every time you use it. Why would it need to be washed again separately?)

Also new on the shelves this year is Perfect Polly.

“Lifelike Bird Gives the Joy of a Pet Without the Work!”

This is a bargain at $10. Motion-activated it “comes to life whenever you walk in the room!” Its head turns, its feathers fluff, and it chirps. “And unlike real birds, you can turn Perfect Polly off with just the touch of a button.”

(Thanks for clarifying the lack of buttons on real birds.)

Also: “This life-sized bird features details so realistic, only you will know it’s not real!” Really? I am tempted to get one just because it is cute, but I fear it could be hazardous to my live pets. If I brought a Perfect Polly into my home, the cats would die laughing.

And Santa as already been notified that if a Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush is in my holiday stocking, there will be no more milk and cookies. Ever.

However, this year also has brought a product without which I cannot do. I have already requested this from more than one person, because I would like a menagerie. I am talking about the Stuffie.

This is a large, plush animal designed for children, but it is more than a toy. It has numerous secret pockets designed to hold kiddies’ treasures. In my case, the Stuffie will hold clutter.

Visitors are coming and you have no time to clean up?

Just grab a Stuffie and pack it with debris. Most of my clutter is paper, so Stuffies are perfect. One for newspaper clippings, one for half-used notebooks, one for scraps of paper with phone numbers and other important info.

(Flashback to “All the President’s Men”: Bernstein, just back from an interview, is emptying his pockets of paper napkins, old receipts, other scraps. Woodward: “Where are your notes?” Bernstein: “These ARE my notes!”)

I am hoping one of the Stuffies I get will be a bird. That one will be for bills.

–Karen Zautyk

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