The last outlet store my brother, his wife, and I shopped at was the party supply store, by my brother's demand, since his wife will have a great time there and he will not. But she needed, among other things, decorated boxes to wrap Christmas presents in, so avoiding it altogether wasn't an option. The decorative boxes were arranged, if that is the word, in a huge pile in which nothing was on top of another box of the same or comparable size, and weren't all lined up that well either. I thought this was a deliberate effect: it made the whole front window look like the underside of an enormous Christmas tree. Someone working at the store considered it a ``disaster area''. Well, it looked festive to me.
Among the many silly things there which inspired questions from me (``how many people worldwide are employed in the decorative toothpick industry? How does one fall into that business, since surely one can't deliberately intend to make cellophane-decorated toothpicks?'') were synthetic snowballs. These looked great for decorations as they were slightly oversized balls of cotton-y puff. I showed it off to my brother by tossing one at him, and showing the family athletic skill, he caught it by letting it bounce off his chest and fall to the ground. That's when we learned it wasn't just cotton puff; it was also reflectorized sparkley bits that fall off easily to give the illusion of ice crystals when it hits something like a jacket, and we're confident it will never come out.
The cashier at the party supply place agreed with my sister-in-law that decorative boxes should be on sale this time of year; then, noticing the police logo on my brother's jacket asked if he was with the police. (It's complicated.) The cashier said he had no ambitions of someday managing the party supply place; he'd really like instead to be a police officer. But most towns and counties want you to have at least two years of college and he's not sure he's up to that, but they only give out tests for people who have GEDs at unpredictable intervals. Or then he might get in to automobile detailing, if he could only learn how to weld. He had another career idea, but I don't remember it now, but it is one that would naturally fit in the grouping of ``non-degreed police officer, car welder, not a party supply store manager''. My brother gave some advice, and we were able to get outside before being fully dazzled by his future career.
Trivia: Lucille Ball had never eaten an artichoke before she was invited to Sam Goldwyn's house, following her casting in the Marx Brothers movie Room Service. Harpo Marx told her how to eat one. Source: Goldwyn: A Biography, A Scott Berg.
Currently Reading: The Last Three Miles: Politics, Murder, and the Construction Of America's First Superhighway, Steven Hart.