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Gentlemen, It’s Time to Start Shopping!


For years I have begun the dreaded Christmas shopping ritual on Christmas Eve. It takes an intrepid soul to brave such a feat year after year – one needs a steadfast commitment to procrastination (or in my case, a sense of fear fostered by perpetually purchasing exactly the wrong gift.) Here’s how the annual festivities usually unfold:

1. On or about December 23rd, I ask Jamie (my bride) what she would like for Christmas. She usually says something helpful like “I just want us all to be together as a family.” I immediately mutter under my breath an admonishment not to fall for that sucker again. “No, no, honey reeeeaallly, what do you want for Christmas?…I ask, hoping for a brief list of thoughtful gifts that will make me the hero of Christmas morning…and then it comes…

2. Jamie says, “I’ve been dropping hints all year long. Haven’t you been paying attention?” Me: (searching my internal thesaurus for an alternative to ‘hell no’ but sounding more deserving of empathy), “Seriously, Jamie: What do you want for Christmas?” To which she replies with that deafening silence that says “you’re screwed and not in a good way!”

3. Most of the remainder of December 23rd involves calling friends and relatives, hoping they’ve got some inspiration…they don’t. Apparently they haven’t been paying attention either.

4. The morning of December 24th, I get up extra early and rush off to begin my quest. Last year, I went to Wal-Mart at 6AM. I thought the store would be empty at that hour but the natives beat me there by saving precious time by skipping their morning hygiene rituals. Most even saved time by coming directly from bed in their PJ’s. The place was mobbed with more middle aged men than a Tea Party Fundraiser. Oh sure, there were a few women but they were getting scotch tape and stocking stuffers so they really didn’t have that same sense of desperation. I’m convinced that some of them came just to laugh at the men. I gather up an assortment of treasures – sure to please. As I stand in the checkout line, my mind races through the list of gifts from Christmas past:

· Her favorite CD? I know I got Jamie her favorite CD one year because she told me…right before she took an identical one right out her CD case to show me that she already had it. Apparently, I’ve purchased this gem more than once.

· A Maternity Sweater – come on now, that was downright thoughtful. Most women don’t go out and buy a lot of new clothes during maternity. They just muddle through with a few staples. I thought getting a nice cozy sweater would be well received. Who knew that horizontal stripes on a maternity sweater weren’t in fashion that year?

· The Cruise to the Caribbean – ok, ok, I know what you’re thinking…How the heck did you mess this one up? Well have no fear because I’ve proven that I can spend a lot of money AND get a gift that manages to make me persona non grata for 2 full months. Not purchasing a ticket for our new baby was the fatal flaw…go figure.

Well this year, it’s going to be different! I’ve been shopping online! My strategy was simple – just buy every frickin thing that I saw on Amazon.com. I got it all…and I got it gift wrapped (apparently by some being without opposable thumbs). If she doesn’t like it, I’ve got the return labels already printed out. Think of it as a gift certificate of sorts. If she likes the stuff that was in the Gold Circle value bin, she keeps it…if not, she gets the even more valuable gift that I’ve gotten her every year we’ve been together – store credit for those post-Christmas sales!

Mission accomplished – again!

Tim O’Loughlin

Eastward Capital Partners

432 Cherry Street

West Newton, MA 02465

o: (617) 762-3611

c: (617) 947-6272

http://www.eastwardcp.com

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Eastward Capital Partners – providing $1 – 10 million venture debt, growth capital and equipment financing to venture-backed, emerging growth companies since 1994. We also provide expansion capital to non venture backed companies.

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Tim O’Loughlin

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