At completely random intervals, my company lets an outside book-and-gifty-kitsch company set up shop in the cafeteria for a day. It’s never been made clear exactly why this company was chosen, and they have a very interesting assortment of wares.
The majority of their items (and the majority of what people buy) are books, toys, and craft kits for young children. OK, that makes sense. They also have about one rack of popular teen fiction and popular adult fiction — mostly the current bestsellers, although somehow the Lemony Snicket book that was first published in 1999 was there too.
Then there are two entire racks of cookbooks. Unfortunately, most of them are the sort designed for people who don’t know how to cook and don’t have the time to do it. There’s the crock-pot cookbook, the 365 days of pasta cookbook, the beer cookbook, the “best of jello salads” cookbook, etc. And to round out the book collection, they had a rack of “inspirational” literature. Half of it was daily devotionals focused on Bible readings, most of the rest was about helping your daughters to know what wonderfully special people they are, and one token book let your gender-unspecified child know that he/she/it is special too.
In other words, “Jesus knows you’re a very special little girl, now go make a Campbell’s soup casserole.”
But wait, there’s more! There were also a few gifty-kitsch items for adults. You could buy a scarf that heats up. You could buy a hood that can supposedly be worn 6 different ways. (Frankly, unless you’ve got more than one head, I’m not sure there’s more than one way to wear a hood — but I didn’t scrutinize the package.) And finally, they had some bra-hook extenders, which are probably very useful for women who need that sort of thing, but I can’t actually picture buying them in the middle of the company cafeteria.
Anyone looking to knock out Christmas shopping for their preschoolers would have been all set today. Anyone else… well, at least it was entertaining.