(this was written back in 2001, so you will need to adjust prices which have been affected by inflation, recession, bailouts, recovery and other acts committed by politicians, bankers, economists, and FOX NEWS)

Through the letter slot, a million and a half flyers have arrived over the past few days. It is the great season of printing. I look forward to this every year. I bet the printers do. I now feel fully involved in the economy. Christmas shopping stimulation through four colour printing.

One little booklet caught my eye as I was shovelling flyers into the garbage. It suggests some things I really need. Not all of them are Christmasy, but still…..

Laser hair removal for men and women. Specifically lip or chin (from $53 per treatment), underarms (from $80 per treatment), bikini line (from $80 per treatment), men’s back (from $347 per treatment), women’s legs (from $347 per treatment, which is $173.50 per leg). It is good that they don’t mention doing women’s backs and men’s legs.

After all that hair removal, I may just want to look at buying a new furnace or a fireplace to keep warm. A gas insert fireplace will set me back $1299. An electric fireplace is a bargain at $999.

And since I am warm and cosy with my new heating installation, there is a company that will bring me all kinds of stuff not just groceries so I don’t have to venture out in that cold air. They will deliver gifts, toys, chocolates, flowers, magazines, books, health and beauty (not just the products but the actual states of being I suppose), new movies, software, and office supplies.

There is a store specializing in perfume. A pair of products caught my eye. Versace Blue Jeans for men. Red Jeans for women. These are spray bottles for $29.99. I always wondered where women bought sprayed on jeans. Now I know. I was sad to note that Versace has nothing for Mr. Greenjeans.

To every thing there is a season. And although I have my new heating, a company wants me to buy central air conditioning. Another wants to steam clean my carpets and upholstery, my whole home for $79 or my car for $49. Either they think I have a small home or a very very big car.

After the carpets are clean, I can visit a 35,000 square foot showroom and buy an 8 pc. Italian bedroom with 4 door wardrobe available in 2 colours for $1989.

Next comes windows, storm doors, and a sunroom. This company suggests I can have installed vinyl windows for as low as $25 month. I was hoping to buy them rather than rent them, but maybe they’re right.

Another laser hair removal company seems to be priced less competively. This may be a misprint, I hope so. For women, they will remove hair from underarm, bikini, half leg (what not the whole leg?) or for men, full back or chest, for a mere $2,999. Perhaps, they will keep removing the hair for your entire life span. Seems pricey.

Once the fur is gone, the next obvious step is liposuction, breast augmentation, and something called micro-dermabrasion (“chisel away years” sounds pleasant doesn’t it).

Then there is the great nightmare of the closet. A company offers to get me a bigger house without getting a bigger house by organizing my closets. Real estate agents weep at this revolutionary idea. The company offers free installation for a limited time only. Does that mean that they take them out after a while?

Once I have my closets organized and all my “stuff” (apologies to George Carlin), I need to get some security window and door guards. But before that, I really need some custom wood shutters. I can have Californian, Plantation, traditional, arches or exterior shutters.

Now that everything is secured and shuttered and organized, I still need more service. It won’t stay neat long. So it is time for housekeeping. They do everything including cupboard fronts professionally washed (one would not want amateur washing). They also list one item that has me puzzled: right after senior discounts they list “injury claims”. This suggests to my over advertised imagination a vision of an unsatisfied granny smacking the cleaning crew with a rolling pin or a cane.

If that cleaning approach doesn’t work out, I can spring for a central vacuum system for a mere $649.99.

This is also my chance to buy solid wood furniture. I had my heart set on liquid wood, but I guess I can adjust.

Tis the season to shop, shop, shop. My addition may be off but I think I just spent $9,030.37. Yikes!

Text copyright © William Joseph Gibson 2001

Text copyright © William Joseph Gibson 2001