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Funny Money: Shop Around the Clock

Marketers consider new advertising outlets as back-to-school shopping gets under way.

Editor's Note: Welcome to "Funny Money," a feature written by New York-based comedian Jeff Kreisler. Lest there be any confusion, please note that this column is a work of satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy the weekend.

The back-to-school shopping season kicked into high gear this week as plans leaked out for a partnership between




to release an iTunes-capable phone. The product will help students listen to music, talk on the phone, and generally avoid learning, thus relegating them to a life of minimum wage jobs wherein their only refuge from their unfulfilled dreams will be the music and movies on their upgradeable iTunes/movie/video/phone/computer/PDA.

Analysts called the long-term plan dark and sinister, but profitable.

In other corporate conspiracy developments,


expanded its product line by offering instant messaging and voice communications. Google execs were later seen with


leaders in a hidden lair, muttering "everything is in place," and maniacally laughing.


Other retail news featured


opening a new chain of stores aimed at post-35 women. It's called Forth & Towne, because there's nothing women like more than improbable spelling. Gap execs hoped the store would be more hip than

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Ann Taylor



. They shouldn't worry,


is more hip than Ann Taylor and Talbots. Gap said the move was necessary because "there's one segment of the population we haven't totally homogenized ... now mature women can all look the same, too."

Elsewhere in homogeneity, sales at

Pottery Barn

rose last quarter though

Pier 1

experienced a loss. The news comes as a shock for everyone whoever shopped for a wedding and didn't know there was a difference.


bought an interest in the luxury boutique Jeffrey. Analysts worried that the move could "dampen the creative spirit" of Jeffrey founder Jeffrey Kalinski, though one must question the creative abilities of someone who names a business after himself.

What, was "Luxury Boutique" already taken?


admitted it overcharged vendors $34 million, but won't admit it's ridiculous to charge $30 for a pair of boxers.

Playmates Toys

introduced a new doll, Amazing Amanda, which promises to "listen, speak and show emotion." Look for the male version, Regular Robert, which will ignore her, get drunk, and have a favorite chair.

Rolling Along


, the largest U.S. dealer of used cars, announced a huge increase in sales, attributed to the deals being offered by new-car manufacturers. And if there's anyone you can believe, it's used-car salesmen.

A union representative said that

Northwest Airlines

had unethically been planning for replacement workers for 18 months. While it may seem that there can be no "winner" in this strike, don't forget that Ronald Reagan fired all the air-traffic controllers and they named an airport after him.

In an unrelated labor development, the Russian airline


canceled numerous flights this week because its pilots were sympathetic to striking vodka brewers.

Due to low ratings, the Emmy Awards announced that they'd broadcast 20-minute commercials on

United Airlines'

flights. Haven't air travelers suffered enough?

In M&A news,

OSI Pharmaceuticals



for $750 million, a move that allows them to advertise in the only place they haven't already: directly on people's corneas.



Knowles Electronics

, the world's largest maker of hearing-aid transducers, which prompted analysts to

say "Whaaaa? Could you repeat that?"

SBS Broadcasting

was sold to two firms that plan to enter the European television market with "The Dutch Shoemaking Apprentice" and "Who Wants To Be a Guy With Lots and Lots of Euros?"

In regulatory news,


agreed to pay $1.25 million to consumers who were unable to cancel subscriptions because of employees known throughout the company as "save employees," "retention consultants," or more accurately, "jerks." AOL will notify people with a beeping message that says, "You Got Screwed!"

Several former


employees are expected to be indicted by authorities over tax-shelter scams soon. The company is not concerned because, for 18 months, it's been secretly training replacement workers.

Fidelity Investments

announced it would join the Boston based BSX Group, a competitor to the

New York Stock Exchange

. The shift in the rivalry sparked the owner of the New York organization to fire Billy Martin.

Finally, new figures show that 24.5% of Americans are obese. Half of those polled said they would have exercised more, but they couldn't afford the gas to drive to the gym.

A graduate of Princeton, Virginia Law School, and the fictitious College of Asparagus Lovers, Jeff Kreisler ( is an accomplished comedian, writer, producer and person. In the past year, Jeff has worked with Dick Gregory, on Air America and Sirius Radio, and in the 'Comedy Against Evil' tour. He's hosted a dating show, worked on a cooking program, and developed comedies for MTV Networks. Jeff's a regular on Satire for Sanity, and was featured at the Edinburgh Fringe, Freedom Cinema, and San Francisco Comedy Festivals. He lives in New York City with his pet microphone, plays blues saxophone, speaks French and Russian, was a sports broadcaster, taught English in Russia, helped start a non-profit dedicated to at-risk youth, played college football, and is available for birthdays, circumcisions and bachelorette parties. Kreisler appreciates your feedback;

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