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The lighter side of politics

  • Author:Tony
  • Source:postbulletin
  • Release on:2016-10-26

If laughter is the best medicine, heaven help us, has there ever been a presidential campaign season when we've needed our laugh medicine more?

Can we see a show of tiny hands if you agree?

Yet, these have been boon times for the gift shops and stores that traffic in politically weird and often downright ridiculous knickknacks and gag gifts. Today, there is a profusion of products aimed at making light of this seemingly unending campaign and diverting the weary, however briefly, from our national pain.

At Rochester stores such as Tangerine at Wild Flowers, Shades of Green and 99 Giggles, whole shelves are devoted to election-year gadgets and silly political kitsch. And to hear store owners and managers tell it, demand for these products has been yuuuuge!

Rolls of Hillary and Trump toilet paper now fly off the shelves. Feel free to use more than one square. Has this political season made you feel dirty? Well, now there's "Trump's Small Hand Soap" to help wash away the film.

Joan Blakley-McCoy, owner of the Tangerine store in downtown Rochester, says her choice of products to stock her shelves almost entirely is based on saleability, with little thought to whose political ox is being gored.

"We really try and buy things for our customers because this is what they want," Blakely-McCoy said. "It's not necessarily what I want. I learned that a long time ago."

Trump gag gifts have been selling at a faster clip than the Hillary stuff, said Tangerine store manager Caitlin Wang. There is a Trump talking pen, Trump coloring book, Trump Halloween mask and Trump plastic small hands that you put on your finger tips.

"It's more comical," Wang said. "We have some funny Trump stuff."

Julie Green, owner of Shades of Green and 99 Giggles, says this is the first time she's had a political shelf, although she has sold political knickknacks before. She says she tries to have an equal balance of Republican and Democratic products to avoid the appearance of bias.

"I try to have both sides," Green said. "If one went negative, I would try to have the other one negative; I try to even it out."

But Green has noticed people at her store are more reticent about giving their political opinions, even when they come up to the register to make a purchase, than they may have been in the past.

"People are more quiet on giving their opinions," Green said. "I feel we're so strong on both sides. It's either hate this one or hate that one."

Wang said the products can at times generate conversation that can get overly loud in the small store.

"It can get a little uncomfortable when somebody's really excited about it," Wang said. "But I just try to stay out of it best I can."

Here are some of the top-selling items:

 Trump's Small Hand Soap, $3.95. Was there ever a greater gift to the inventors of gag gifts than when Trump let the world know that, "Believe me, I have no problem with small hands"?

 Donald Talking Pen, $13.95. Just press the button and Trump's best-known sayings begin to play. My personal favorite: "We will have so much winning if I get elected, that you will get bored with winning."

 Republican and Democratic dammit dolls, $12.99. Frustrated with the political season and your choice for president? Take your dammit doll of whatever political stripe and slam it against the wall. Really beat the stuffing out of it. It's what it's there for.

 Trump and Hillary toilet paper, $5.95. We're told this is a great gift to have loaded in your toilet paper dispenser when you have guests over. Really puts them in a bind.

 I kissed a Democrat gum (also comes in Republican versions), $1.95. The Democratic gum with a picture of a woman vomiting was sold out when we visited Tangerine. But there was still plenty of GOP gum available. Draw your own conclusions.

 Mints, 3.95. Get the "National Embarrassmints" version featuring Trump or the anti-Hillary "Hell No" peppermints. Either way, keep them handy when you have to kiss and "you just can't wait."

 Red, white and booze shot glasses, $20.99. A set of four. Use them for drinking games during debates. Or wait for that special occasion — such as Election Day, when one-half of the country is definitely going to be in the mood for a stiff drink.

 The Trump Coloring Book, $11.99. Already likely to be classic for young and adult colorers. A must-have for Trump lovers. See Trump crossing the Delaware. Trump plays chess with Putin. Trump hits the dance floor Saturday Night Live-style. Make coloring great again.