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Long story short



As a staff last week, we watched more Billy Mays YouTube clips than would be acceptable to virtually any self-respecting CEO.

Thankfully, we have a CEO who got as excited to put together an "As Seen On TV" story as we did. He not only approved a series of dubious purchases, but also introduced many of us to the epic, minute-long infomercial that probably trumps all others: a 30-year-old spot for Mr. Microphone.

When the guy with the blond Afro looks out from the jam-packed convertible and shouts into his wireless mike, "Hey, good-lookin', we'll be back to pick you up later!" it encapsulates everything there is to love about these products.

Now, we harbor no illusions that our write-ups on 10 of them will be as entertaining as those TV bits. However, we do hope that if you ever feel a moment of weakness in front of your television, or in the checkout line at Sears or Bed Bath & Beyond (where a tiny fraction of these products are sold), maybe we can help you fight it.

More seriously, we hope you'll check out some of the local stores and sales also covered in this Gift Guide. Whether you shop whenever you can or whenever you have to, you'll probably find a new destination that's worth a drive.

And come to think of it, Friday's supposed to be 60 degrees. Don't be afraid to put that top down.

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