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Feb 01, 2007 10:30 PM  By

Swimsuit deal inspires Venus envy

Some catalogers have all the luck. Women’s apparel merchant Venus was named the official swimwear brand for the 2007 Miss America pageant, scheduled for Jan. 29 in Las Vegas. So for the all-important swimwear competition, the 52 Miss America contestants were to strut their stuff in Venus’s bathing suits. Though the affiliation with Miss America should bring Venus some exposure, Venus is doing more than helping the contestants cover their assets: The Jacksonville, FL-based merchant has also donated $50,000 to the Miss America scholarship program.

Course catalog earns school some hard knocks

Pikes Peak Community College may need a stiff drink to weather criticism from its spring course catalog. Area high schools were not amused with the Colorado Springs, CO-based catalog’s cover, which depicts several liquor bottles and the slogan “under the influence.” The cover was sort of clever — each bottle had affixed to it an image such as Einstein, fingers playing a piano, and a woman in a lab coat, with the copy “…Studies prove that an intelligence-induced high can drastically alter the state of your future. Side effects include: better job, bigger salary, happier life.” We have to give Pikes Peak Community College an “A” for creativity, but bottles of booze on the course catalog cover may not be the best way to attract future Einsteins to your institute of higher education.

SwapThing, you make my heart sing

Looking to unload that reindeer sweater your well-meaning aunt gave you for Christmas? You may be able to exchange it for something better on SwapThing.com, a Website that lets users swap or sell unwanted gifts. The swap-based (as opposed to auction-based) site enables the barter of any combination of goods and services, using cash to balance transactions that seem unequal. Cupertino, CA-based SwapThing.com offers free registration and item listing, with a $1.00 transaction fee for each exchange of goods regardless of how many items are involved in the swap. Founded in 2005 by online entrepreneur Jessica Hardwick, the site currently has more then 3 million “things” available. Now if we can just find someone with whom to swap something for the hideous crocheted toilet-paper cover we got stuck with in a holiday grab bag.

Spencer Gifts under fire for “pornaments”

Novelties merchant Spencer Gifts in early December drew the ire of a Miami lawyer for selling Christmas tree ornaments depicting elves, snowmen, and Santa characters in sexually explicit poses. Attorney Jack Thompson warned the Egg Harbor Township, NJ-based merchant via letter that displaying such items where children can see them is illegal in several states. Citing Florida’s law against displaying sexually explicit products where minors can see them, Thompson gave the cataloger/retailer a deadline to remove the “pornaments” from Florida store shelves. Spencer Gifts complied by pulling some of the X-rated ornaments, though Thompson remained irked that it continued to display them on the Internet and in its stores in other states. We’re not sure what Santa Claus would have to say about all this, but we’re guessing he would find the pornaments more naughty than nice.

CONTACT US…

E-mail: melissa.dowling@penton.com Phone: 203-358-9900 Fax: 203-358-5823 Letter: 11 River Bend Drive South, Stamford, CT 06907 or visit us on the Web at www.MultichannelMerchant.com