Tag: Shopping

The Family Jewels

A Himalayan trek took an unlikely turn, leaving Abbie Kozolchyk in the hands of a Nepali goldsmith, his wife and their son

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Here Come the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Product Tie-Ins

With the movie adaptation just weeks away, the Los Angeles Times books blog has an intimidating list:

By the time the movie opens in August, you will be able to get “Eat, Pray, Love” furnishings from Cost Plus; shop the “Eat, Pray, Love” way with the Home Shopping Network, get “Eat, Pray, Love” jewelry from Dogeared, spray “Eat, Pray, Love” eau de parfum from Fresh, wear organic “Eat, Pray, Love” T-shirts from Signorelli, and drink “Eat, Pray, Love” tea.

I’m holding out for the official “Eat, Pray, Love” Yoga Mat and DIY Ashram Home Decorating Kit, myself. (Via @julia914)

Japan Airlines Flight Attendant Uniforms: Big on the Black Market

You can probably guess for whom the uniforms hold a “mysterious power.” From the Times:

For decades, the crisp, no-nonsense outfits have appealed to male Japanese tastes. New Japan Airlines (JAL) uniforms have long been in demand in the local sex industry for customers keen on role-playing fantasies, while rare specimens that have actually been worn are hugely sought after by fetishists and are worth their weight in gold.

Countless shops will sell a very credible imitation for a few thousand yen, but the real thing can fetch a fortune. Historically, says Yu Teramoto, the owner of a specialist costumier in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, real JAL outfits have been virtually impossible for buyers to lay their hands on. However, the post-bankruptcy prospect of huge layoffs at JAL—especially among uniform-wearing air-crew—raises the prospect that former staff will attempt to sell their outfits for a profit.

One stolen uniform previously sold for about 11,000 pounds.

A Pilgrimage to SkyMall

SkyMall overload Graphic by Doug Mack

Can a trip to its headquarters make for documentary art, or just a closer look at solar-powered mole repellers? Bill Donahue journeys into the soul of SkyMall.

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The Onion Reveals How to See the ‘Real Morocco’

It’s just down the alley that curves into the distance, and Tahar Hissou knows you’ll like the woven goods you’ll find down there. “I could tell by your Boise State University T-shirt that you are an educated man who knows it is truly best to visit my country alone,” he writes. “That is how you get to see the real Morocco, the one you cannot find in any guidebook.”

What Does 66 Cents Buy You in Peru?

Over at Uncornered Market, Daniel and Audrey are contemplating value and relativity—by rounding up several 66-cent purchases.

Pulitzer Finalist Takes Road Trips to Wawa, Sheetz

Hank Stuever spent part of his summer traveling to the competing convenience stores throughout the mid-Atlantic, “a local sort of road trip, a mini-mart epic.” His story about it is odd and kinda brilliant. He writes about Wawa vs. Sheetz: 

It’s even a toss-up to which one gets stranger as the night wears on. They come into the Sheetz on Prince William Parkway in Dale City in the darkest of night, and poke-poke-poke at the made-to-order menus on the touch-screens. Touch the picture of the sandwich you want. Touch the picture of the kind of cheese. Now touch the pictures of lettuce, the pickles. Now touch the mustard, the ketchup. The touch-screen system is not merely there to impress you. “We used to do it where you fill out a paper form and leave it in the basket, but people got smart and realized the paper at the bottom of the basket comes first, so they’d stick theirs in at the bottom and then you get problems,” Stan Sheetz says.

Also: “You would be shocked how many people can’t read and write.”

I also love this comment on the piece from JOKR715: “Finally, a fluff piece I care about!”

Is Ikea ‘The Disney World of China’?

Is Ikea ‘The Disney World of China’? Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by Ian Muttoo via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Gawker is inexplicably bemused by an L.A. Times article about the Beijing Ikea, where—apparently this is a shock—locals go “just to hang out.” What, New Yorkers don’t like to lounge on the dining room sets with no intentions of buying? And here I thought that was something people worldwide could agree on.

Harrods: ‘The Ultimate Bespoke Travel Agency’

Harrods: ‘The Ultimate Bespoke Travel Agency’ Photo by sonewfangled via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by sonewfangled via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Forget about those discount holiday packages on sale at the grocery checkout counter: Travel-retail fusion has gone upscale. The personal shoppers at Harrods, the venerable London department store, are now offering customized holiday bookings—with a low, low minimum purchase of £2,500. And the maximum? There isn’t one. Over the course of a few phony phone calls, the Times Online’s Mark Rudd took the new travel service for a test drive.

The Plight of the Paris Bouquinistes

Times are tough for the booksellers along the Seine. Mildrade Cherfils writes in GlobalPost:

For centuries, used booksellers, with their unmistakable dark green boxes perched along the banks of the Seine River, have been charming and permanent fixtures of Parisian life.

Or as Christian Nabet put it, “we’re part of the scenery.” And that’s partly a problem, as he sees it.

“Look,” Nabet said, pointing toward a sizeable group of tourists who wandered past his stall with hardly a notice of the classic titles, which he has been selling in the same spot for about a decade. We’re “a little like the animals at the zoo.”

Obama in Hawaii: Commander in Kitsch

Obama bobblehead doll in Oahu Photo by Pam Mandel

Obama bobbleheads! Obama license plates! Obama meets Elvis! Pam Mandel reports from the souvenir section of Obamaland.

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24 Hours in Airworld: Mall or Airport?

24 Hours in Airworld: Mall or Airport? Photo by Rob Verger
Photo by Rob Verger

The beat goes on here at T5. Last I checked—at around 10:20 pm—JetBlue still had about 15 more flights to get out tonight (delays were frequent today with the bad weather), and then the first flight out tomorrow morning is the 5:45 to Puerto Rico.

While delays may be bad for the traveler, they’re good for the restaurants in the terminal, including Deep Blue, where I ate a quick dinner of tasty but too-spicy Pad Thai followed by a big cup of green tea. (Anything to warm me up in this hostile, freezing environment.) I enjoyed sitting in the white and blue bar space there, looking out at the rest of the terminal as things began to wind down. From the shopping area here, as I mentioned before, it’s hard to tell you’re in an airport. (Although the people walking by pulling suitcases are something of a giveaway.)

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About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii?

About Those Souvenirs: Made in Hawaii? Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Picture from magical-world via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I find souvenir shopping tricky. I like things that really scream of place or are packed with a trip’s significance—no pressure, souvenir makers! I was eager to buy a Hawaiian-made uke on my last trip, though the one I ended up getting is more global than I’d have ideally liked—the parts are made in Indonesia and shipped to Oahu for assembly. Is it made in Hawaii? Sort of.

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Hilo Hattie, Don’t Leave Me!

Hilo Hattie, Don’t Leave Me! Photo by lrargerich via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by lrargerich via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I confess: I love Hilo Hattie’s, the kitsch-tastic chain of retail stores where you can buy matching aloha wear for your entire family, hula girl lamps and beaded curtains, nightlights that have the word “Aloha” etched into their cowrie shell shades, coffee cups with your “Hawaiian” name on them, 73 different varieties of macadamia nut treat, straw hats, sun screen, flip-flops, tank tops ... oh, it goes on and on.

Most of the stuff they sell isn’t made in Hawaii; the shirts are from China, the mango candy from Thailand, even the shell leis they drop around your neck as you walk in the door are probably from some place other than Hawaii but never mind, never mind. I take the coupons from the airport brochures, I get on the shuttle bus and off I go to buy more ridiculous Aloha-themed junque. Don’t judge me. I openly admit I have a problem.

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State-by-State Home Improvement

bottles Photo by Jenna Schnuer.
At the Treasures & Trash Barn, Searsport, Maine. Photo by Jenna Schnuer.

Yeah, there are a few things here and there from places far, far away but, looking around my apartment, I realized that most of my art/knickknacks/stuff was hauled home in my carry-on, checked baggage or the trunk of a rental car from a trip to one of the 50. OK, I shipped the bear lamp home. This is some of it ...

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Confessions of a Cross-Border Shopper

What's the thrill of buying socks and parmesan-flavored Goldfish crackers in Syracuse, New York? Eva Holland took advantage of the surging Canadian dollar and hit the road to find out.

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Rug Burn in Istanbul

The men of the historic Turkish city pluck Jason Fields. And they pluck him but good. Did he mention that he wanted to buy a carpet?

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Hope and Squalor at Chungking Mansion

Chungking Mansion Hong Kong Photos via Wikipedia.

Karl Taro Greenfeld explores Hong Kong's notorious black-market bazaar and budget accommodations, and one possible over-populated, multi-ethnic future for us all

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The Art of the Deal

The Art of the Deal Photo by Peter Wortsman.

In Marrakesh, Morocco, Peter Wortsman bargains for goods with the city's savviest shopkeeers. For him, the give-and-take is not just about the money.

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Bali’s Bargaining Ballet

Bali’s Bargaining Ballet Photo by Terry Ward.

On a trip to the Indonesian island, Jerry V. Haines bought a batik shirt, a painting and a flying pig. Along the way, he discovered that haggling is like a dance, and you can't stop dancing until the music is done.

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