Friday, August 29, 2008

Tradition or Tat?

At some point I seem to have signed up to the University Of Oxford Shop's newsletter. I don't recall ever having bought anything from there, but nonetheless, every few months that delightful Outlook envelope pings up and there it is, my entertainment for the next few minutes. At first I decided to unsubsubscribe, but as usual I procrastinated, and I now relish these amusing bundles of marketing.

What puzzles me is who exactly the shop is aimed at. Tourists must make up a fair amount of the business, but why would they want cufflinks or a scarf advertising the uni? The hoodies seen sportingly worn by tourists in London screaming 'Oxford University' are garish enough. But then why would students want toys or games about their own university? All current students seem to favour college merchandise, rather than generic university labelling, and I don't know many who would be caught dead throwing around an Oxford University frisbee. (Although it is undoubtedly a great symbol of tradition and academic!) Perhaps, then, it's for the parents of students. I can't imagine anyone else wanting to buy an 18ct gold graduation ring with the university logo engraved on it. You can also get a wooden plaque with the university symbol on, as if as a prize for surviving the gruelling workload. Personally, I'd rather have an enormous cake and a bottle of bubbly, but whatever floats your boat.

Anyway, pop in and have a goggle and a giggle; it's great for a laugh. My favourite items:

* Cuddly toy dodo
* College crest teatowel - polish your finest crockery with your favourite college and the inside of the old teapot with your rival one.
* Botanic Garden teacosy - how did you ever live without one?
* 'Tiny Oxford' baby bib - talk about pressure from an early age!

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