Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shopping advice from the star: The Marden’s lady lets you in on her secrets of surviving Black Friday

Published in the Portland Phoenix

If anyone in Maine knows how to shop with gusto, it’s the Marden’s lady. You’ve seen her all over the TV — you may have even seen her around town. The woman knows how to spot bargains, values, deals, and great items like nobody else in the state.

She doesn’t give out her name because of “trouble with paparazzi,” but we managed to find her, which led right into one of her problems: “One of my hardest things about shopping is the people that follow me because I am not only glamorous and a sex symbol, but they know I’m a consummate shopper. Sometimes I go in disguise.”

The Portland Phoenix convinced her to take a break from shopping in a quiet part of town, and got her to share her thoughts on how to survive — and even to thrive — on Black Friday.

“You gotta start early,” she says. “Like about a week and a half, two weeks in advance, you gotta start stocking up on the mini-marshmallows. ... You start drinking cocoa and you think of everything you can stick ’em in. Load the sugar on, because from here on out, it’s gonna be a sprint.”

She also observes that you might not be able to fit everything you buy into your car at once, and advises: “Get a few rental storage units, strategically placed between shopping areas, so you can drop off what you’ve got and go on to the next place. All you gotta do is rent ’em for a week.”

“You don’t ever want to eat turkey on Thanksgiving. All that tactrotactlycicerin or trychtelactin, everything that slows everybody down. ... The goal is to get speeded up. My mantra is ‘Caffeine, caffeine, caffeine, burn, baby, burn.’ ... Tofu turkey is never okay. I’ve eaten enough tofu in my life to know that. ... The bottom line of Thanksgiving is to stay away from things with feathers. If the Pilgrims had stayed away from everything with feathers, there’d be a lot more Native Americans here today.”

What to bring
“Allen’s Coffee Brandy could come in handy. I suggest you always keep your flask with you. I store mine in my hat.” Also, “Daddy’s wallet. Daddy’s huntin’ while I’m shoppin’. The men are all out wandering with their guns at all hours.” We think that means they don’t need their wallets.

Dealing with kids
“Daddy can’t take ’em huntin’ and you can’t take ’em shoppin’. You gotta feed them a lotta lotta turkey, and you tuck ’em into bed real tight. If they’re too young to be on their own, then maybe you have the neighbor kid look in on ’em.”

Dress the part
“Get deep into your own kind of style, because that is going to help your intuitive being. Do not wear one of those coordinated tracksuits — you’re gonna be confused all day.”

Find the perfect item
“It is kind of a religious experience. You walk in the store and you gotta receive, and when you start seeing an aura in a particular aisle, you gotta run. Until you see that aura, I suggest you run in place. You don’t know where they’re going to have hid the best stuff, so you gotta stay ready.”

Handle other shoppers
“I think a Taser might come in handy.”

Keep up your health
“It’s imperative at one point during the day to get some of that fresh-air shopping — do not miss it. Inhale short, quick breaths to recharge.”

If you shop in groups
“Be very careful, because you can avoid strangers, but it’s always your friends that hurt you the worst. If a friend grabs that one item you had your eye on, she won’t put it down. You can will a stranger to put an item down and then you grab it, but a friend know it’s worth something to you. ... I never shop in a herd. I like it when Daddy goes huntin’ alone — it’s safer.”

Share deals with friends
“Stay connected, cell phone at the ready, but hands-free. Do not call arbitrarily. A good friend is gonna buy two — if she finds something she’s going to buy two because she knows you need it. That may be difficult when it comes to ponying up for the things she bought you, though. ... You can lose good friends. If they like it and you didn’t buy them something, they won’t forgive you.”

Find a checkout line
“Pick a cashier that’s smilin’. If they’re not havin’ fun, then you’re not gonna have fun.”

Pay for your purchases
“Always pay in cold, hard cash. However, cash can be hard to come by, so what you want to do and what you end up doing are two different things.”

Get it to the car
“You’ve seen those people on TV who carry things on their heads. There’s a real advantage to that because when the cart’s full, you can push it with one hand and hold more on your head with the other. Also, people get out of your way."