The Holiday gift experience

Carol Durant
handmade Christmas ornamentsCarol Durant

Today I started the in person Holiday shopping season. I took my mask out of its holster, hopped in the car and rolled out with a bff. We went to local Holiday marketplaces. One place featured vendors who left their crafts on tables for consumers to self-vend and purchase. You peruse the beauty, intricacy, imagine the time and effort, muse over the price and decide to purchase without the owner/expert in attendance. The self-vending idea does cut down on the time spent at the location and pandemic risk management (less stopping and chatting). The exchange of pleasantries, information and acknowledgement by the craftsperson of their candles, cheese, condiments, ornaments, wreaths, gloves, scarves, candy, etc. is a void that until today, I didn’t know that I missed.

The locations that had their subject matter experts (vendors) present and communicating with you were the best. The rooms were large, loud and chaotic, but had food and clean bathrooms. With donned masks and two years of practice, we now know when people are smiling with their eyes. Purchasing goods and watching for the newly formed crow’s feet made for happy people on both sides of the aisle. Some of the business people were new entrepreneurs and a few were long time captains in their industries. Many had used the time in this pandemic to create inventory, reconfigure their business models and update their presence in person and on social media. The vendors were kind, welcoming and appreciative of our purchases. Create a great day for yourself and others by buying local.

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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Opinion: Searching for Valentine's candy sales

I forgot it was Valentine's day yesterday. They played three sappy love songs on the radio and said Happy Valentine's day to everyone. I loudly said a few expletives in the car and headed to Target. I haven't been in the store in a very long time. The store and the bathroom was the usual, well lit and clean. I got a cart and wended my way around the store. They had plenty of displays of flowers, candy and gifts in the front of the store. I opted to still traipse through the store. I got a card that was less than $3.99! I believe in the sentiment, but should a cardstock card cost more than a gallon of gas, uh no. I scanned through the aisles and saw some Valentine's day candy already discounted. I was very excited and headed towards that end cap. I had taken maybe three steps and a gentleman appeared and started loading up his cart. I was mildly annoyed, but he must have had plenty of love at his house because he bought all the discounted candy that was left. I figured that must be a sign for me to double check the rest of the aisles. All of the other Valentine's bargain items including candy were all gone. I stood in the checkout line and watched all of the discounted candy that I missed putting in my cart. I decided to go check another great place for discounted candy, CVS Pharmacy and Shoprite. I have my eyes on a few bags of candy. I am making room in the freezer for more discounted candy which I’m buying tomorrow.

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