Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Christmas In The Bag

ENTRY 0022

Okay.  Currently, I don't have anything active on Ebay.  So while I'm familiarizing myself with my new toy (see previous entry), I'll go back to something I mentioned a couple of entries ago.

As I said at the time, with one notable exception, I didn't do any of my Christmas shopping on Ebay.  Using Ebay might work if I actually knew ahead of time what I was going to get everyone on my list.  But since I generally don't know what I'm going to get until I see something on the shelf of some store, it's much easier for me to go into combat mode and brave the crowds at the mall.

(I'm not kidding about the combat mode thing.  I realized a long time ago that Christmas shopping should be treated as a full-contact sport.  I navigate the mall as though I were a bulldozer competing in the Indianapolis 500.  Get in my way at your peril.)

That one exception to my avoidance of Ebay really doesn't even count as the actual present.  Make that presents, plural.  It all stems from one itsy bitsy thing.  The one thing I really dislike about Christmas -- other than "Silent Night."  I dislike wrapping gifts, probably because I really, really suck at giftwrapping.  Obviously, if I am presented with an opportunity to reduce the number of gifts I have to wrap, this is a good thing.  and I will take full advantage of the opportunity.

For instance, a few years ago, I was shopping in Walmart just after the big back to school rush.  At one particular display, I observed that the store had a variety of backpacks and similar items marked for clearance.  Among the items in the display were some messenger bags by Eastsport, and I suddenly had the bright idea of getting a couple of these bags, and using them as the "giftwrap" for the presents I would be giving my niece and nephew.  (Keep in mind that this was mid-September, and I wouldn't be doing any other Christmas shopping for another couple of months.)

It turned out to be a pretty good decision.  A few months after that Christmas, I asked my sister-in-law if the kids had liked their bags.  Short version -- yeah, they did.

Okay, getting back to this past Christmas.  Back in October, I had another, similar lightbulb moment.  I was doing some browsing on Ebay, and the lightbulb went on as I was looking at some vintage TWA flight bags.

I picked up one of these TWA flight bags for myself many years ago.  It's tan with red lettering that says "TWA Getaway Vacations."  (From what I can tell, these were given to passengers who booked certain vacation packages on TWA, and they date back to the 1970s.)  It measures about 12"x14"x6", and it has one large zippered main compartment, an outside pocket, and an adjustable shoulder strap.  The shoulder strap could be a little longer, but that's my personal preference.  It holds several books quite nicely, which is the original reason I acquired it.  In recent years, though, I've used it mainly for carrying CDs when I go on a road trip.

I don't have any photos, but if you're curious as to what it looks like, just go to Ebay, and type "twa bag" in the Search box.  The number of search results will vary, but you should see at least a dozen or so of the style I just described being offered at any one time.  (This will not be the only style to show up in the search results, but it won't be hard to miss.  It's the only tan flight bag I've ever seen from TWA.)

During this particular search, I encountered a seller who was offering two of these bags in a single listing.  And at what I considered a bargain price -- $4.95 for the pair.  I decided that since the kids liked the last bags that I used as "giftwrap," they would probably enjoy these as well.  And after all, inside the bags would be their real Christmas presents.  Most important of all, this would mean that there would be two Christmas presents that I wouldn't have to wrap.

I saved the listing in my Watch List, and I sent my usual inquiry to the seller.  In other words, "Do you accept money orders?"  The reply came back in the affirmative, and I wasted no time placing a bid.  Surprisingly, mine was the only bid, especially considering that I placed my bid on the last day of the listing.

As soon as I won the auction, I got the seller's mailing address, got the money order, and mailed the payment.  A few days later, I knew he had received the payment when I saw the feedback left for me.  And about a week or so after that, when I went by the post office, there was a key in my mailbox.  Inside the locker, of course, was the package.  (Also of course, I promptly left feedback at the next opportunity.)

As I suspected, my niece and nephew thought the bags were pretty cool.  And if I'm not too terribly mistaken, the flight bags gave them somewhere to put all (or at least most) of their presents in one place.  That probably made my brother and sister-in-law happy.


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