Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts November 1998
Short Cuts:SHOPPING MADE EASY
Once upon a time, mail-order catalogs
were the only answer to the rigors of holiday shopping. Not
anymore. Today time-strapped consumers are cruising the Internet
for those perfect gifts. While you wont be able to scour the sales
racks for bargains, and youll sometimes need more than an ounce of
patience waiting for images to download, you can shop at midnight
in your underwear, and you wont ever have to wait in line to
To get you started, M&C has hand-picked several
online shopping sites. All promise delivery within seven to 10
Logging on to toy giant Toys R Us, www.toysrus.com, is like
hiring your own personal shopper - something the companys huge
stores could use. Not sure what youre looking for? Simply plug in
the childs age, type of toy youre considering (building blocks,
dolls, arts and crafts, etc.) and price range. You can then select
from possibilities from the stores inventory. One interesting
feature is the Product Recall area. It spills the beans on recalled
goods and provides links to sites such as U.S. Consumer Product
Need more Titanic memorabilia to add to that special
someones growing collection? Upscale FAO Schwarz, at www. faoschwarz.com,
has it. Choices include an 18 1/2" Rose doll in a variety of gowns
for $395. Or, if you really feel like splurging, get the Steamer
Set, which includes Rose, a steamer trunk, three gowns and all the
accessories a lady needs for a cruise for a mere $1,200.
At www.orvis.com, site of the New England granddaddy of fly-
fishing, offerings include everything from Orvis' speciality reels
and rod cases to luggage, rain gear and equipment for kids. Snazzy
items in the speciality gifts section include Orvis Riverguide
Wallets ($29-$35) and Orvis Clearview sunglasses ($60-$85).
For software, www.beyond.com serves up everything from Reader Rabbit
for first-graders to American Civil War Generals for history buffs.
The site breaks searches into categories (entertainment, hobbies,
etc.) and lists its own top 10 best sellers in each.
If it's out-of-print and hard-to-find first editions you're
after for that book collector on your list, check out www.bookfinder.com. A
test search for a signed, first edition of Truman Capote's 1965
best seller In Cold Blood yielded several possibilities,
ranging from an autographed copy to his personal physician for
$1,000 with the inscription "from an admiring patient," to a
slightly worn autographed version for $350. A request for Herman
Melville's classic Moby-Dick turned up a 1924 hardcover
Online shopping takes on a new dimension at www.ebay.com, one of the
hottest auction sites around. From typical collectors' items like
coins and postage stamps to antique clothing, handmade guitars and
18-century sheet music, this is the site to find unusual gifts.
Warning: The offerings are so enticing, it can become addictive.
(In the name of research, this reporter rekindled an old hobby -
stamp collecting - to the tune of $125.) Happy hunting.
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