I have recently got in Human League Dare T-shirts for just such an occasion but it turned out this lady had some very specific needs. I left her to look while her daughter who it turns out was also going to the party asked if the Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction t-shirt she had pulled out would count.
I said that indeed the album had come out in 1987 but most of the 80s parties seemed to be more focused on 80s pop. It was starting to remind me of the challenge on Bargain Hunt where they have to buy an antique that fits a certain criteria.
Anyway her mum then chipped in with more detail. They were going to an eighties themed weekend at a holiday camp for ladies only over 18.
This was a whole different party from what I had had in mind but the lady had already settled on buying a Blondie T-shirt. I confirmed that yes Blondie did release music in the eighties so any of the different designs we had would do.
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A shirt with Debbie Harry holding a mike was produced and a discusion about whether it would fit ensued. However always wanting to give the customer the best possible service I suggested that maybe the X Offender shirt we had might be more in keeping with the description of the party I had been given.
X Offender is, I should add, the first track on the first Blondie album. After a little bit of discussion it was decided this indeed would be the best choice and both ladies went away happy.
Later on in the week I had an old lady in looking for a shirt for her “wee grandson” who it turned out was 20. All she knew was that he definitely liked Queen and was there any chance we had a shirt she could buy him.
Now we have a wide selection of Queen T-shirts from their crest to album covers so she was happy with the black shirt with their crest on that her and the friend she was with settled on.
What has definitely changed, at least at Avalanche, is that I would say most adult customers we get now are actually buying for somebody else.
Youngsters obviously tend to buy for themselves but even then there is a fair smattering of presents being bought both for their peers and the classic “my dad is going to love this” shirt", normally something of a punk persuasion.
Whether this is a general trend I’m not sure but there is certainly a feeling among customers that when looking for an interesting present there is more chance of finding something in a shop than trawling the internet.
Visitors to Edinburgh in particular like to find something unusual or interesting to take home and with Christmas coming up this trend of buying for others will only get bigger.