Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yoo Hoo, Jew!

Want to get the attention of a member of my tribe? Try the phrase 40% off.

But much as we love a discount, not just any discounted dreck will do.

So I was reminded as my delight at this sign turned to dismay at the merchandise in question.

Because, despite his Yid-esque name, Fred Meyer was not a Jew. Even nuttier—he was Rosicrucian.

Which perhaps explains why the Hanukkah stock at his store is as nutty as a pareve Tishpishti.

Snuggled beneath the 40% off sign are stocked Hanukkah stamps. Hanukkah stickers. Hanukkah salt and pepper shakers.

Not to mention "Chanukah Spreaders." Which you might think refers to any Ashkenazi set of thighs after eight nights of fried latkes slathered in sour cream.
Actually, it's a set of cheese knives.

Apparently meant to commemorate the blessed and burnished weapons with which the brave Maccabees fended off the armies of the evil Antiochus. Not to mention the occasional rogue wheel of cheddar.

What they do not have at the local Fred Meyer, alas, is Hanukkah candles. AKA, the one damn thing I actually need for Hanukkah.

And so the quest began.

My goytoy the Cheez checked at the Safeway downtown. Where they tried to sell him Yarzheit candles instead.

Apparently all you Jewish wax products look alike.

For those of us who can tell the candles that commemorate when Jews survived from the ones that commemorate when a Jew died, well, substituting Yarzheit candles just doesn't seem kosher.

New Seasons, the locally-owned grocery store filled with upscale enviro-hippie delights, has plenty of Etrogs in stock.

Which is great if you want to get your Sukkot shopping done early.

Sukkot being the Jewish holiday for which Etrogs are needed.

And there being only 282 shopping days until Sukkot.

Clear on the other side of the store, nestled among the seasonal displays, I did find some Hannukah candles.

They were mislabeled, alas.

Because they claim to be "Down to Earth."

But at $24 a pack, um, well, for that much, the Earth in question shouldn't just be a tribute to prime Middle Eastern oil. It should be drenched in a barrelful of it.

Listen up (non-Chosen) people: you are trying to sell to Jews. And while we don't drink the blood of Christian babies, and we're not all hook-nosed . . . well, the part about always looking for a bargain—that's not ugly stereotype.

That is genetic/cultural fact.

I still had a few leftover candles from last year's standard $1 box, so I knew I could make it through the first couple of days. And since my college roommate was coming to visit from Semitically-saturated San Francisco, I figured she could just bring me a box.

What I didn't figure was that said college roommate, being an Irish lapsed-Catholic originally from Boston, would have no idea what to look for in Hannukah candles. And yet would take the assignment incredibly seriously.

So while I had assumed she'd just pop into the Lucky's in her neighborhood, and scoop up the usual Manischewitz 144-pack for a couple shekels, unluckily enough she headed to some shmancy Judaica store in Berkeley.

Where she proceeded to buy one of each kind of Hannukah candles that they had.

Which means I now have five sets of hand-dipped, highly decorated Hanukkah candles.

So I am all set for Jewish observance.

And not just because I've got menorah supplies through the first of Tevet, 5774 (or, as those of you paying retail know it, the end of Hanukkah in 2013).

Also because my roommate has refused to let me repay her for the $50-plus so she blew on not-to-be-blown out high-end Hanukkah meltables.

Yeah, I'm feeling guilty. Which is very observantly Jewish of me.

After all, who needs Hanukkah gelt, when you can have Hanukkah guilt? Guilt being the true currency of my people.

actual Todah Raba gift from the Tru Value Hardware store

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