Woman 1: Yes, we're looking for some hostess gifts.
Woman 2: My son is going to spend some time in Europe with some host families over Spring Break, and I need something small so it will fit in his bags, you know?
Me: Okay, well, how about some smaller coffee table books? We have some in paperback. Maybe like these Images of America historic photograph books? We have some on Georgia. We also have some tea and hot chocolate sets and some glassware over in the coffeeshop area.
Woman 2: Well, we'd like something that brings our culture to THEM, you know?
Me: Okay, well, maybe the books would be best for that.
Woman 1: They're too BIG, though. That's the only thing. I mean, it has to fit in his luggage, and he needs more than one.
[At this point, Woman 2 excitedly grabs a plastic and rubber Mickey Mouse clip bookmark off a rack and holds it up for her friend.]
Woman 2: OH, now SEE? THIS is perfect. It's very representative of America!
Woman 1: Oh, yes! That is perfect! [turning to me] What do you think?
Me: Um, that is really, uh, cute, but I'm not sure it's what you're looking for...
Woman 1: It really isn't right for a hostess gift, is it? ...Well, thanks for your help! I guess we'll go to Target or something. Bye!
[Woman 2 looked a little stricken, but went along anyway.]
Call me a snob if you want, dear readers, but a clip bookmark? Really? Wait--what am I SAYING? What an amazing hostess gift, sure to be useful and enjoyed by all members of the host family for years to come. Plus, it's not like Mickey Mouse novelties are available, like, OVERSEAS, as everyone knows. Also, too bad about that whole No-Liquids-On-Planes thing since without that rule, they could have taken an appropriate gift that was REALLY representative of America and Georgia--A CAN OF COKE! HELLO, people--it says AMERICA, it says ATLANTA! It's perfect! I don't know what could possibly be more tasteful than that, either... Okay, maybe a Special Edition Scarlett O'Hara Barbie IN the Twelve Oaks Barbecue Gown, but she said something SMALL, everyone. Geez.