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Christmas shopping horrors

By James Durand

By James Durand

As you can imagine, if you read my column semi regularly, I don’t do a lot of shopping.

If I have spare time, I go ride my bike, rock climb, hang with my kids, or work more. Shopping is so far down my priority list that I’ve been down to one pair of pants in my entire wardrobe for over six months now. I really need pants, but I don’t care enough to force myself to shop.

This also may explain why you see me out and about mid-winter with shorts and flip flops.

Last Sunday we decided as a family to tackle a bit of Christmas shopping and we popped into a few of the bigger stores.

Here is what I discovered:

1 - Don’t go in a toy isle WITH your kids. Wholly smokes that was a painful experience.

2 - Don’t go shopping randomly. If you don’t have an exact item and location, then you’re guaranteed to come home stressed out wondering why you wasted half a day.

3 - And this is the important one, there is way too much crap on these shelves. Who needs this junk, or even wants it?

So, you may now be thinking, “This guy runs a retail establishment, is this not a bit hypocritical?’

Maybe, but really, No.

I shop in local stores every chance I get and I have a very detailed list when I do. In, quick hello with some local vendors/community members, grab what I need, and out again.

As I was wandering through these bigger stores on the weekend and looking at stuff, I couldn’t help but think how much of these items would be unwrapped at Christmas, put on a shelf for a few weeks and then at some point in the really near future, loaded to the dump.

Piles and piles of recently purchased nicknacks, novelties, and gimmicks, all tossed away after a minute or two of enjoyment, or a quick giggle.

After that experience, I walked through Swicked Cycles and hunted for anything that might be a stupid and useless item. I’m happy to say that even though some items are not suited for every cyclist, every thing we sell has an actual purpose within cycling. They are useful pieces, accessories, or upgrade parts. The only novelty item we’ve ever had is an industrial bottle opener that looks like a wrench, and that was ordered specifically for the shop beer fridge. Yes, it gets used pretty regularly too.

I’ve received many many novelty gifts throughout my life and I don’t remember any of them.

I DO remember the bikes, the Magura brakes I got one year, the lacrosse gloves my dad bought me, and all of the experiences along the way.

You’ll shop how you shop and where you prefer to shop. I’m not trying to convince you otherwise, but how about this? Try to choose things that your friends and family will use, or experience.

Something to enhance their favourite sport, or hobby. How about an experience? Ski passes, mountain bike park passes, or movie tickets …

If I get to the point where the only thing my friends and family can come up with at Christmas is some goofy gag gift, I’d prefer a hug, or a batch of homemade cookies. I’ll remember those forever and it will save me driving up to the dump on New Year’s Day.

Happy shopping everyone.

If you don’t see me on the trails, it’s because I’m home baking cookies.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…