December 2011

Uncommon Goods

For gifts that don't seem like you bought them at the airport.

Uncommon Goods is one of my favorite destinations for online shopping. The company features homemade crafts and goods almost exclusively, and has a commitment to being an environmentally-conscious company. Perhaps best of all, they make sure that the wares that they hock are affordable to their consumers, but allow for enough money for the artisans to be satisfied.

I like Uncommon Goods particularly because the selection isn't overwhelming, and the items for purchase are smartly divided on the website. For example, during the holiday season, the website is divided into gifts for men, women, children, etc..., as well as by price and the type of product available. All of the gifts seem just a bit quirkier and individualized, like you handpicked a gift for a friend or relative, rather than just grabbed an unspecific gift.

Here are some of cool gift ideas available from Uncommon Goods:

Newegg: Canon PIXMA iP2702 - $19.99

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This stylish machine fits almost anywhere while you easily print beautiful, borderless5 photos up to 8.5" x 11", pages off the web through Easy-WebPrint EX or documents all with amazing quality. This is made possible thanks to its FINE Cartridges which contain pigment black ink for laser-quality text and dye ink for smooth, natural photos. The ChromaLife100+ system enables your photos to last up to 300 years when using genuine Canon ink and paper and stored in archival-quality photo album. Printing and automatically correcting your photos has never been easier thanks to Auto Photo Fix II which can be accessed through the popular EasyPhoto-Print EX software. So you can make the most out of your photos and easily print as many as you want!"

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Gendered Holiday Gift Guides

Useful or laughably stereotypical?

Every year around this time, companies froth at the mouth to sell us stuff to give to the people we're technically supposed to care about. They're hoping, desperately, that we'll feel the need to express our love--or at least our obligation to give--in ever-rising dollar amounts. It's pretty gross and un-Christian when you think about it, but there's consumerism for you. 

What always baffles me, though, is the gender segregation of the holiday gift guides assembled by the big corporations. All the major players in online gift-giving love to suggest specialty presents for men and women in separate lists. Got a lady in your life? She probably likes cleaning, so better buy her a Hoover. How about a dude? Might as well hook him up with a grill set so he can express the testosterone in his system by scorching dead animal flesh.

This year, though, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw included in Amazon's his n' hers gift-buying tips. Sure, they're still gender-segregated, but not as stereotypically as you might expect. There are vacuums in the ladies' section, but Amazon recommends vacuums for the boys, too. Turns out you don't have to possess a uterus to want to clean a floor efficiently--who knew?