Friday, November 5, 2010


We're coming up on the holiday season...and rather quickly.  Stores already have all their Christmas crap out, and salespeople are on overdrive.  Yesterday I got lured into Macy's because they had sparkly stuff in the front of the store.  Once I got in there, a nice but incredibly unrelenting saleswoman named Carmella tried for a good 20 minutes to talk me into buying a Coach purse (which I didn't buy--temptation, you've officially been resisted) and open up a Macy's charge card, which I really don't need or want.  She followed me around as I looked at sensible, necessary things like earmuffs and small gifts for co-workers, trying very hard to convince me to buy expensive things that I really didn't need.  It was difficult to shop in peace while being tailed by a Coach-fixated bulldog.

It was at that point that I made up my mind: No more holiday shopping for me at the mall.  No more bulldogs; no more being tailed and talked at while I browse.  No more feeling guilty walking out of a store without buying anything because I know the salesperson just wasted 20 minutes of their time talking at me and not making any commission off of it.  I'm done with the stores--bah humbug to them.  To the internet I go!

Those of you who know me personally know that I'm an expert-level shopper.  I'm really good at finding the best stuff for the best prices.  (In case you want proof: I've never paid full price for any Betsey Johnson clothing...and I have tons of it.  I think $75 was the most I've paid for a Betsey dress...down from, oh, $500 or so.  I buy $300 designer jeans for no more than $80 a pair.  The other day I got a $200 Marc Jacobs dress for $50.  I own the most gorgeous Miu Miu heels that I only paid $115 for--down from over $500--and a vintage Prada bag that I paid $250 for at an upscale consignment sale.  Et cetera.)  My shopping/bargain-hunting prowess combined with my newfound love of internet (bulldog-less) shopping has inspired me to create a new feature for Red Pen, Inc--Shop Talk with The Grammarphile!

Each week, I'll be highlighting some awesome products found on the internet for seriously awesome prices.  Don't wanna go to the mall, either?  Too tired to think up gift ideas for friends and family?  Simply stuck on what to get for that impossible-to-please person on your list?  Never fear--The Grammarphile is here (with mad shopping skills, yo!).  Each week I'll be writing a themed post featuring a selection of potential holiday gift ideas.  And this week's theme is...

Gifts for the grammarian...or the person who needs a grammar lesson

The Grammarphile's recommendations: 

1. The classic book The Elements of Style by Strunk & White--you can't go wrong with this. An excellent read.

2. But if you're in a hurry and want to find out about a grammar-related guideline right now--how about Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, on Kindle (so you can take it with you and be a grammar god or goddess on the go)?

3. Of course, in that case, you'd need a Kindle.  Seems reasonably priced for all the bells and whistles it has!

4. Buying for someone who's not old enough for a Kindle?  Your child will enjoy the Schoolhouse Rocks! Grammar Rocks CD-ROM.

5. I was an evil child--a couple times while my family and I drove somewhere on vacation, I'd sneak a kazoo into my bag and randomly start playing it from the backseat when I got bored, scaring the hell out of my parents in the process.  If you're traveling by car for the holidays and your kid wants to make some noise, why not try a grammar sing-along?  Singing along to "Grammar Songs: You Never Forget What You Sing" has to be a better option than maniacal kazoo playing, right?

6. If you're already quite good with grammar and want to write down your grammatically correct thoughts, these moleskine notebooks are a quality choice...

7. ...and what grammarian doesn't write with a red pen?  (They make great stocking stuffers...for grammarians or for teachers!)

8. Jeff Deck's an awesome dude; I've been following his work since his TEAL blogging days.  He and his buddy Benjamin Herson toured the country a while back fixing grammar errors...and now they've written a book about it--The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time--which I highly recommend.

9. If you haven't submitted a picture of funny, crappy grammar to Red Pen, Inc. in a while, is your excuse that you've seen plenty of ludicrous grammar errors, but your camera just sucks?  Well, I've got the cure for that.  This little Panasonic camera is super-snazzy...and it comes in bright red, the favorite color of grammarphile types!

Happy browsing (in a bulldog-free zone), grammar friends and fiends!  Next week's installation will focus on fabulous, reasonably priced finds for the fashionista in your life...


MarieC said...

I'm in awe of your shopping skills! I never pay full price if I can avoid it.

I, too, have decided that I am going to do as much online holiday shopping as I possibly can this year. It is such a huge time-saver!

I highly recommend getting an Amazon Prime account. For $80 a year, you (and your family members) get free 2-day shipping on most everything. I have used it a ton this year, for things one normally wouldn't think of shopping for at Amazon, like a white dress shirt for my son, a hand mixer, and backrests for sitting on the bleachers.


Thanks, Marie! I love bargain's all about the thrill of not only getting a great item, but also a great deal! I, too, don't pay full-price for much. I wait to shop until there are sales, I have coupons, or (if the item's designer) it's not "in season" anymore, so I have a good chance of finding it at a discount designer store in person or online.

I agree--the online shopping is such a time-saver! I actually had an Amazon Prime trial membership, but didn't keep it--I wasn't sure I wanted to spend $80 a year on it. I often get free super saver shipping if I order from Amazon, so it wouldn't save me that much money and may in fact have cost me money had I kept it. But if I notice that I get free super saver shipping less often, I'm definitely going to consider signing up for it again.

It always astounds me how many different things Amazon sells...a few years ago, it seemed to just be a place to buy books. Now it's sooooo much more! I also love its sister site, has excellent fashion finds. Not everything on that site is discounted, but many times you can at least get free shipping. :)