Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas shopping

I hate Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, I've got several nieces and nephews for whom I really should make an attempt to get something worthwhile, with cash being the gift of last resort. (I had an otherwise nice uncle who got all of us siblings new pajamas every Christmas. I vow never to buy that for any of my nieces or nephews.) Since I'm a classic movie fan, I went to the cookie-cutter DVD shop at the local mall to see if I could find anything old for them -- I'm loath to buy anything recent for fear that they'll already have a copy of it.

On the bright side, one of my sister's kids are getting to the age where grown-up movies are fine for them, as long as the movies aren't overly violent or filled with bad language. One good thing about the Production Code is that you won't have the bad language, and a lot less sex, which eliminates two of the things parents might find objectionable. So I just had to look through enough movies to find something in genres I thought they'd like. Last year was a romance and a western; this year a musical and a western.

My other sister has two much younger children, and that presented a problem. The DVD store had much less of a selection than even last year. I remember last year wondering whether I should have picked up the DVD with the two Shirley Temple movies for my eight-year-old niece. I don't know whether my sister would have appreciated it, though, if my niece started singing all those Shirley Temple songs. This year, I couldn't find anything Shirley Temple. I considered something truly classic like The Wizard of Oz, but that's the sort of movie I'd fear my nieces already have a copy of. And for the six-year-old? Don't get me started. That having been said, they moved half a country away over the past year so I'm not even certain if I'll be seeing them at Christmas, which at least gives me time to think up something to buy where there's a better selection and send it to them. Or I could always do it online, except that the online stuff often winds up being more expensive especially when you add in the shipping.

Shopping online would at least do away with the problem of bad service. The store was supposed to open at 10:00 AM. The anchor stores in the mall opened earlier, and I walked into one of the anchor stores about 9:55, walked through it, and then looked for the DVD store. Even though the mall was nearly dead, I was amazed at how many stores didn't seem to have any employees in them at 10:00 AM. There were about half a dozen of us waiting outside the DVD place at 10:00, and I don't think it opened until about ten minutes late. And they still didn't have enough cash in the registers when I finally found the DVDs I wanted to buy.

There's not much point to all of this, I guess. One thing, though, is that I think it illustrates just how small the market is when it comes to classic cinema. And this is for the "popular" classic titles; I can't imagine how lousy it must be for the obscure movies I prefer to watch on TCM.

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