Lumg: Internet shopping spree |

Lumg: Internet shopping spree

I like to buy locally whenever I can, but where in the valley could you find a can grabber? They used to have can grabbers in grocery stores before they discovered the miracle of self-service, when you’d go in with a list and the clerks would take the mechanical can grabber and reach up on a high shelf for a can of tuna fish or peas and pluck it down for you.

My daughter Hillery has one of these devices and uses it all the time, and since everything on my third and fourth kitchen-cabinet shelves might as well be on Mars, I started poking around on the Internet, first looking for can “grippers,” which led me astray into the land of jar openers.

Can “grabbers” did the trick, and mine arrived last week. It seems a fine alternative to sitting in my web like a black widow spider, waiting to pounce on the first person to stop in: “By the way, could you get me down that box of tea bags?”

I went on the net to find a new backpack for my portable oxygen equipment. Can’t find that in Aspen. The pack I had wasn’t made for liquid oxygen (300 degrees below zero), so it kept freezing up, freezing me and running out.

The pack I ordered was well-ventilated with netting all around but — buyer beware, or buyer pay attention — wasn’t a backpack but a sling, quite a different animal. It may be OK, but I won’t know for sure until my new (rebuilt) portable tank arrives. I ordered that a couple of weeks ago on the Net but due to various snafus, it hasn’t been shipped yet.

I ordered a pottery medallion designed to keep brown sugar soft in a zip-close bag. I might have been able to find this locally but didn’t know where to begin and, since it was a five-buck item, not about to have an impact on the local economy.

My last softener was accidentally flipped into the garbage disposal a year or so ago, mistaken for an extra-hard lump of brown sugar. Neither the medallion nor the disposal survived.

A few decades ago, a friend of mine gave me an expensive silver Cross ballpoint pen, now black with tarnish and long out of ink. I hope I couldn’t have bought a refill at Carl’s, but in the end, it was a moot point. I ordered two refills from Office Depot at hideous shipping expense, which arrived in a package large enough to hold a man’s terry-cloth bathrobe, only to find that a spring was missing and the pen was still useless.

Several months ago I found myself addicted to Rocky Mountain Popcorn Co.’s butter popcorn at City Market. The butter popcorn came in smallish bags, and I, not being a fan of pre-popped corn, don’t even know why I picked one off the shelf (the miracle of self-service impulse buying), but when I did, I was hooked.

Next thing I knew, I was on a half-bag-a-day habit.

Despair ensued when the butter popcorn disappeared from City Market’s shelves. John, the ever-friendly manager, said it had been on order for several days. I went online and found caramel corn and cheesy corn, but no butter. I called the company in Centennial, left a semi-hysterical message and got no return call.

Three days later, I called again and was assured I could order the butter popcorn, no problem, no explanation. Relieved and elated, I ordered two cases, only to find it back in stock at City Market that very day. Sorry, John — I won’t do that again.

Su Lum is a longtime local who has learned that the portable oxygen tank she ordered (Companion 500) has been taken off the market, putting her back to Square A. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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