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 November 5, 1999

Ideas for those who already have just about everything

BOULDER — Suffering from a severe case of affluenza or worried about catching it from one of the many people who seem to have too much money and not enough things to spend it on?

Worse yet, what do you do about that successful “person of accomplishment” for whom you have to buy a gift, but who appears always to have the latest gadget?

Not to worry. The Business Report has done some research at a few of the area’s stores with cures and offers the following guide on how to spend money. These are items nobody really needs, but just about everybody would like to have.

Starting with the most basic, take a look at the tea kettle selection at McGuckin’s Hardware on Folsom between Walnut Street and Canyon Boulevard. We’re not talking about the $20 model that everybody has.

What we have in mind is the train kettle whose wheels turn when the water boils, or the merry-go-round whose horses prance when the water gets hot, or crème de la crème — the blast-off station that tells you the water is ready when the rockets rotate. For between $80 and $100, one of these kettles can add just the right note of pizzazz to a newly remodeled kitchen

Also in the just-for-fun category for the kitchen are the blenders with swirling neon designs that Aria carries. Refurbished from actual old blenders and made in Boulder, these colorful blenders, at $325, can either be functional or provide a most unique night light.

Speaking of night lights, check out Aria’s potted neon flower light. For $45, these faux flower pots afford a colorful glow. Aria also displays, on a long cord behind its sales counter, a variety of uniquely shaped lamps in a varied palette for prices ranging from $35 to $45. If you’re looking for a lamp with nostalgia, there’s the indoor model of the 1950’s ubiquitous front-yard flamingo.

Aria’s Travis Railey also points to an inflatable moose head, imported from Italy and selling for $33, if the pink flamingo doesn’t fit the recipient’s decorating scheme. If you know a fake animal would supply just the right artistic touch, head for this just-off-the-Mall store.

If the kitchen is in fine shape, but your garage has been sadly left out, how about the red laser beam that alerts you when you’ve pulled in exactly to the right spot in the garage? Only $35, also at McGuckin’s, its helps you avoid hitting the lawn mower while pulling forward enough to avoid the automatic door.

For pure practicality, “Ran” Ransom at McGuckin’s suggests two-way radios. He tells the story of a customer who was peering anxiously up and down several aisles, obviously looking for someone. After several unsuccessful such ventures, he whipped out a small radio from his pocket, beeped his wife who was also in the store and arranged a meeting place. For $100, with no air time or licensing fees, losing a member of your group is a thing of the past.

One step up (and five times as expensive) is the StreetPilot GPS. This hand-held computer shows positioning, in color, based on coordinates entered by means of address or longitude and latitude. Ransom tells the story of a motorcycler in Moab who had an accident and severely injured his leg. Using his StreetPilot GPS he was able to give the 911 dispatcher his precise location, enabling a medical helicopter to find him immediately and get him to a hospital.

The above items lack the practicality for which you’re looking? How about one of the all-purpose tools that, according to Ransom, “are such hot sellers that we can’t keep them in stock at Christmas time?” These $22-$80 upgrades on the ever-popular Swiss Army Knife can contain diamond files, saw blades, screw drivers, can openers, scissors, seven knife blades plus a wire cutter.

On the practical-but-creative side are gift baskets at Peppercorn. Huge pasta bowls, planters and/or popcorn bowls can be filled with your choice of body care or food items, household or personal linens or decorative knickknacks. Peppercorn has no fixed price nor rigid list of items; they’ll create what you need in terms of container and contents. As an example, for a “huge” food basket they created recently, they included not only foods for meals, but restaurant gift certificates in case the gift-basket receiver wanted to phone out.

On Pearl Street at Mike’s Camera there are all kinds of ways to part with cash, from the backyard telescopes for beginning star gazers that start at around $200 to observatory-quality scopes in the $5,000 range. Then there are always cameras. The 8×25 Minolta shirt-pocket model with a neck strap and weather-resistant case, good for sports events, bird-watching and sports, sells for $150. As Mike’s Tom Wilson says, “There’s no excuse not to take it everywhere.”

Want something a little pricier? Consider the $1,500 DVM-70, a 6mm digital camera with a PC on board, or the $900 image-stabilizing binoculars.

A little more than you were planning to spend? Tocata albums featuring “archival” acid-free paper that doesn’t interact with film come with a leather slip-cover and sell, depending on size, for $100, $190 or $300.

One of the nicest parts about purchasing a gift at McGuckin’s or Mike’s Camera

or any of the many Boulder County stores is the many extras that go with purchases. At Mike’s, for example, there are ongoing classes in how to use photographic equipment, information on getting the most out of star-gazing tools, or – on a more basic level –reatively putting pictures in albums.

Whether the gift is for you or for someone on whom you’d like to make a good impression, Boulder County offers not only unique gifts but the opportunity to learn how to fully appreciate them.

BOULDER — Suffering from a severe case of affluenza or worried about catching it from one of the many people who seem to have too much money and not enough things to spend it on?

Worse yet, what do you do about that successful “person of accomplishment” for whom you have to buy a gift, but who appears always to have the latest gadget?

Not to worry. The Business Report has done some research at a few of the area’s stores with cures and offers the following guide on how to spend money. These are items nobody really needs, but…

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