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The Oracle Gift Guide

Traveling to the Super Wal-Mart with a budget of $20, I found my task to be more difficult than it looked. My special someone will spend this holiday season overseas serving our country, so I had to keep my presents small. However, after an hour of looking, I found three perfect gifts for my boyfriend.

First, I feel that one of the best morale booster gifts that I can give him is a picture of me. Now, this is no ordinary picture of me because what I purchased at Wal-Mart was a talking picture frame that can hold a 2-by-2 1/8 picture of me. The picture frame was $4.94, and it allows the buyer to record a 10-second message for the loved one. Not only does he get to see me and how I am doing, but he gets the added bonus of hearing my voice over and over.

The next item that I purchased will serve as a more meaningful gift. In his letters, he writes to tell me what he can about what he has seen and done overseas, and while in search for the perfect gift, I found a Marine Corps. Service Journal. This journal, at $9.97, a bit on the expensive side for a journal, will allow my boyfriend to record his journeys and pictures in the book. He has taken a camera on the ship and will have a lot of pictures when he returns, but now this journal will be able to help explain what he did in those pictures.

Finally, my last gift was something more spiritual. I found an inspirational key chain, $2.68, and an angel pin that reads, “I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way.” The possibility that our military might attack Iraq scares me, and I am not sure where he is, but I can feel a little more at ease knowing an angel will keep him safe while he is away. Plus, I know that he will remember me and think of me knowing that I sent him that angel.

With a grand total of $18.65, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find more. However, I stayed within my budget and I feel that with these three gifts my significant other will appreciate the thoughtfulness. I hope the gifts will give him a boost in morale to get him through the rest of his time at sea, as well.

Stefanie Green

Wal-Mart stores made more than $1.4 billion the day after Thanksgiving, and I was a proud contributor. But my contribution was not made in the name of capitalism. It was made in the name of love. The love of buying poorly manufactured products that are absurdly cheap and passing them off as sentimental gifts, that is.However, I actually didn’t make off that bad. My girlfriend and I had already set a $20 price limit on gifts this year, so shopping at Super Wal-Mart was adequately justified, right?

I took to the extra-wide aisles of the superstore in New Tampa with some rough ideas of what I could buy. And when I say “rough,” I mean I was clueless.

The sheer enormity of the store was intimidating. The $36 electric shaver was appealing. The 13 cent bag of Ramen noodles was appetizing. But after overcoming my own wants and needs, I got down to business.

Item #1: Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets poster. You can’t go wrong with the four-eyed Hogwarts wizard, especially when your girlfriend’s a muggle with a Potter fix. It should complement the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone poster that hangs in her dorm nicely. Cost: $3.96.

Item #2: Harry Potter figurine, complete with cauldron and slime. I stuck with the Potter theme here, unable to pass up this action figure — robes included — that will allow my girlfriend to live vicariously through the 12-year-old icon of the children’s world. Cost: $6.77.

Item #3: Betta fish, with bowl and food. This little guy is sure to make a good dorm-room pet. He requires little attention and little food. In fact, Betta fish, according to the literature posted at the store, thrive in neglected environments. He’ll have a true survival test living in my dorm until Christmas. Cost: $3.47 (fish), $2.67 (bowl), $1.97 (food).

So, the total cost comes out to $18.84. Not bad, considering I had enough left over for seven bags of Ramen noodles.

Hey, the reality of it is this: You can’t put a value on love. But if you must, at Super Wal-Mart, the price is right.

Ryan Meehan

This January, I’m officially moving in with my girlfriend Metta. I know. It’s a huge step. But Christmas offers the perfect opportunity to make sure we get things started right. With that in mind, I decided to look for gifts at Super Target to help Metta and me ease into life in the same apartment. For maximum impact, I opted for practicality rather than sentimentality, and quantity rather than quality. I ended up with seven items, and I still had a quarter to spare.

My first priority: morning breath. I debated the available options and decided on Bínaca Fast Blast Breath Spray for $1.69. Just to be clear, the spray is actually for me, or rather for her to use on me if she ever wakes up to a foul-smelling boyfriend. I thought the breath pills would work better, but they wanted to charge almost $10 for them, so they were out of the question. The next item to get on the list was a bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser, for $3.99. Febreeze tempted me, but in the end, the wrinkle releaser won me over with its no-laundry-plus-no-ironing hedonistic appeal.

Next, I went hunting for some playful gifts, which netted a $3.99 pocket Etch-a-Sketch and a stuffed puppy for $2.99. The puppy is a stand-in for the pet we’re not allowed to have in the new domicile, and it’s cute as a button.

At this point, I knew I only had about $5 left, taking tax into consideration, so I knew I needed a clincher. I found four.

Considering that this was, after all, a Super Target, and not just a regular shop, I headed for the grocery portion with the idea of cooking a gourmet meal to celebrate our first night living under the same roof.

Sixteen ounces of generic Fettuccine noodles set me back exactly 79 cents, while the Roasted Garlic Parmesan Ragú cost $1.49. I congratulated myself on the bargains and strolled confidently toward the vegetable aisle where I picked up Metta’s favorite side dish: cut green beans. This may sound like an insignificant choice, but don’t underestimate my girlfriend’s appreciation for the green beans. I have seen her plow through an entire bowl as a complete meal.

Finally, we needed a beverage, something to celebrate the occasion. It should be noted that the Super Target, being in the ultra-rich New Tampa burbs, has an excellent wine selection, but I am far too poor to afford any of their choices. Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice, however, sells for a mere $2.89, and I think it tastes better anyway. And with that, I was at my limit.

Dustin Dwyer

Superstores are more than likely the future. Think about it, why go to the mall and schlep all over the place, when you can go to Super Target or Super Wal-Mart, find everything you need, and spend less money?

So, it is no surprise that at 7 a.m. Friday I was in a Super Target, elbowing other ladies out of the way so I could get a shopping cart. But on Black Friday, the extra crowds are worth it. You go for the deals.

I walked in armed with $20 to spend on my boyfriend for the expressed purpose of writing this article. I had perused the flyers the day before, and I pretty much knew what I was going for: the ultimate LEGO set and a pair of pajamas.

With more than 170 pieces, and a nifty carrying case, the LEGO Creator set is the coolest toy for kids who like to build. Or for the man in your life who likes to build. While it’s a little awkward to carry around, I know it’ll be a hit under the tree.

The pajamas were harder. Target is known for its novelty pajamas in a variety of characters. I skipped over Sponge Bob and Scooby-Doo for the candy-themed Sugar Daddy ones. It’s kind of a joke between my boyfriend and me, since chances are that he, the teacher, will be looking to me, the public relations specialist, as a sugar mama, and not the other way around.

So $12.88 for the LEGO set plus $7.99 for the pajamas (both on sale) came out to $21.87, but plus tax came out to $22.12. Not bad. Now, I just had to find the shortest line.

Megan Sullivan