Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wayback Wednesday: Shopping Daycare for Guys

Shopping Daycare for Guys

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2004

On Wednesdays, rather than rehashing a news story, I reprint one of my old columns. This one is from December 2004.

You know, sometimes you just have to envy England. Not only are they famous for their warm, sunny climate -- oh wait, sorry. . . Not only are they renowned for their superb gourmet food like black pudding or -- um, sorry. Let me try again. . . Not only are they known for their exciting spectator sports like Cricket and Lawn Bowling -- dangit!

Okay, here it is. England is known for its shopping. That's all, just shopping (and the Queen). Anyone who knows anything about English retail knows that Harrod's is the best place to shop.

Harrod's is a huge world famous department store on Brompton Road in London, and it's known for its quality and selection. Think of Neiman-Marcus but without all the pretentious snottiness -- crap!. . .

So Harrod's management was probably a little disappointed to find out that competing store Marks and Spencer has finally figured out a way to get men to willingly come into their stores.

According to a story in The (Glasgow) Herald, the department store chain unveiled new playpens -- also called a creche, which is British for "playpen" -- for men in six of its stores in England, Scotland, and Wales. The creches are designed to entertain men while their wives and girlfriends spend the day shopping.

They have electric slot-car racing track, remote control bikes, and walkie-talkies. They also have sofas and televisions with videos like "The Best of Monty Python" and "Football's Greatest Ever Matches." However, "football" is really soccer, not American football. But you take what you can get.

There were a few important items missing, like me, for instance. I could easily spend hours in a place like this, while my wife battles the rampaging hordes of shoppers. When we go shopping, we usually split up and I spend most of my time at the bookstore. However, as nice as bookstores are, they just don't have electric slot-car racing or sofas and sofas. At least not the ones I visit.

We need these shopping daycare rooms for men -- Guys actually -- in this country. And we need to add a few things to make it complete. So if I am ever asked to design a men's creche (pronounced kresh), there are a few crucial items that I would add.

Beer - Not just any old beer though. My rule is that if it appears on the sides of race cars, has the word "Lite" in it, or is enjoyed in large quantities by people named "Billy Ray," I don't drink it. I want hearty, manly beers with flavor. Hearty, manly flavor. Some Guy wannabes think that drinking beer that rhymes with Spud or Swiller Lite makes them manly.

That is wrong. Drinking beer that is thick, heavy, and takes longer than a bottle of ketchup to pour is manly. Drinking watered-down water is not manly. So, my shopping creche must contain good beer. Anyone who asks for those others will be immediately thrown out.

Satellite dish - I don't want a satellite dish that gets every station. I only want one that gets Guy stations. That means no Home Shopping Network, no E! Entertainment Television, and certainly no Lifetime Network ("the network for women who hate men"). This satellite dish would only get woodworking shows, home improvement shows, and football. And if football wasn't on, there would be DVDs of every pro and college game. I would also allow basketball, unless NFL Europe was on.

A "No Children Allowed" sign - Don't get me wrong, I love my children. Other men love their children too. But if our kids come, then we have to actually watch them and make sure they don't break anything. This could cause us to miss the biggest play of the game. Or spill our beer. So instead, they would have their own creche, much like this one, but without the beer.

Food - This should probably be at the top of the list, but beer and TV are a little more important. Man does not live by bread alone, which is why God created TV and beer, which is like bread, but only runnier. But instead of plain bread, we would also have pizzas, sandwiches, and steaks. We would also have a nearly-empty platter of vegetables, so if our wives came in, they'll think we've been eating healthy.

Laptops and wireless Internet access - Very useful for shopping online for your wife/girlfriend while they're out in the mall. It's also useful for checking your email, looking up the stats on your favorite football team, or Instant Messaging the guy on the other end of the couch to hand you a beer.

Dozens of roses - Let's face it, Guys, you're going to be in a heap of trouble when your wife realizes how much fun you've been having in here, while she's been out there, fighting the crowds and buying Christmas presents for your family. Grab a dozen roses on your way out to show her how much you love her, and how important she is. And tell her that -- *sigh* -- if you have to, you could probably come back again next week.

Kickoff is at 1:00.

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