It started with the need for a nice, relaxing spot to ease back into retailing after a brief hiatus. It led to the inadvertent discovery that the Marden’s Lady has a Web page. And that the Norway native is available for hire. And once played a Sanford Water District event to rave reviews.

So. A pretty fruitful morning, all in all.

Bag Lady hit Marden’s this week to get the shopping cobwebs out after a spring spent on mothballs. The store didn’t disappoint. (Really, has it ever?) The bonus came in learning more about the Marden’s Lady, aka Birdie Googins.

The mission: finding things that were fun, snazzy or previously unnoticed and begging to be noted.

In that spirit, Bag Lady has four words: Barry Manilow. Puppy pee.

Let’s get right to it.

* Convoluted Comfort Cushion, $5.99

Nubbly, twin-size polyurethane pad. I love alliteration. I love even more that it’s convoluted.

* Big Money Rug, 22 in. x 53 in., $7.99

It’s a GIANT $100 bill. On a rubber-backed rug. That has retirement party gag gift written all over it.

* Scott Taylor ladies’ tank tops, assorted sizes, $5.99

Super-silky-feel spandex/nylon mix, color names like spice red and shredder green. Perfect as summer camis. These came from Stein Mart, according to the tag, where they were $12.99 at that popular-but-not-in-Maine discount store. As close as Bag Lady is ever going to get to Stein Mart. Sniff.

* Junior shorts that could probably get you arrested in some states, $5.99

Brands such as Red River, Tyte, Dollhouse. Sizes such as 3. Inseams as generous as an inch. No, I’m not bitter that I can no longer and likely never could rock these. Not at all. Let’s move on.

* Rivers’ Edge fish-theme blank greeting cards, 10-pack, $1.99

Fish, flies, bobbers. Really pretty and sort of artsy, and I’m not being the least bit fish-etious.

* Belvedere Vodka glasses, 79 cents each

Clear glass, and sizable. Pick up a pair for a picnic. Just Frisbee responsibly afterward.

* Pink Converse low-tops, assorted sizes, $14.99

So much fun, and perfect for casual Fridays at the office.

* “Barry Manilow: The Biography” by Patricia Butler, 25 cents

Originally $17.95 and coming in at 250 pages. How does mom feel about Barry Manilow? How would you feel about spending a quarter on a Mother’s Day gift? Proceed.

* Colgate Maxfresh mint-scented toothbrushes, 10-pack, $7.99

Nice price at less than a buck a brush, and it comes with a minty scratch-and-sniff sticker on the pack. Whatever happened to scratch and sniff? Bring back the scratch!

* Birdie Googins: Queen of Maine tote with her picture, $15 plus $7 shipping, www.birdiegoogins.com (the only thing not found in the store itself)

Read all about the Marden’s Lady on her website and at the newly redesigned Mardens.com, and check out behind-the-scenes shots from her Main-ah bargain hunt-ah commercials.

Best find: “The Complete Petrosexual: A Handbook of Style for the Modern Dog” by Paint Chip Productions, $4.79

Exactly what it sounds like. And it’s a play on words. Both of which make it awesome.

Think twice: Best Puppy Pads for indoor goings-on, 300 per case, $25.99

Um, wow. That’s a lot of anticipated whiz. Not so much a think-twice as a no-thank-you. It’s pee-free expedition for Bag Lady. Oh, shopping I have missed you.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who never wee on pads; they prefer to go rogue) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

The Complete Petrosexual: A Handbook of Style for the Modern Dog


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