You missed the Black Friday sales due to a drunken stupor from your grandmother’s rum cake (not sure what else it had in it, but it definitely had rum) and enough tryptophan to knock out a rampaging herd of drug-immune Reedies who have a developed immunity to sleeping toxins after years of on-campus abuse of all things narcotic; that’s a LOT of tryptophan. Now, you’ve woken up and realized that you forgot to buy a gift for your impossible-to-shop-for relative/friend/other-of-some-significance who also happens to live in Portland.
In Portland, the worst kind of “natives” are the ones who moved here from somewhere else (in Portland, you can be a native by simply claiming to be one). Nothing ensures full development of Epic Portland Snobbery like moving here, acting like you’re the first to discover the city, then proceeding to proclaim that it just isn’t the same since all these people started moving here from elsewhere. For some odd reason, there’s a direct correlation between this attitude and being absolutely impossible to shop for.
Have no fear. Stumped in Stumptown has put together a list of gifts with just enough pretension to entertain and amuse even the most snobbish of Portland natives. In addition, we made sure to include some for every budget to ensure you’ll be able to find something cool for that special Portland person you care about (even if you’d rather not).
Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon
Book, $16.95 list, $11.53 from Amazon*
Fugitives and Refugees is exactly like Fight Club except it’s set in Portland, there’s no fight club, no multiple personalities (*SPOILER*) and nothing else that resembles Fight Club. In fact, it’s not at all like Fight Club besides the fact that both were penned by Portland native, Chuck Palahniuk. Fugitives and Refugees is a blend of memoir and travel guide for Portland – it’s fun, funny and a good read. Even if your Portlander knows everything in Portland that Palahniuk references (and it’s highly unlikely they will), they’ll still appreciate the book because every local-boy-makes-good becomes revered as a god in Portland (as long as they’re not too successful, because then they’re just sell-outs). Hell, Portland named most of the streets in NW after Simpsons characters just because Matt Groening was born here (okay – maybe it was vice versa, but Groening’s still a god here).
Despite all of their arrogance, most Portlanders are a good-natured lot, and, in certain cases, are self-actualized enough to laugh at themselves. Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander (a Canadian like myself, coincidentally) lives up to its namesake with chapters dedicated to all of the things white people like including marathons, bicycles, arts degrees and hating corporations (I took the liberty of linking each of those examples to the corresponding post on Christian’s blog, if you want to read a few). Seeing as how over 90% of Portland’s “diverse” population is made up of white people, it’s almost a sure-bet that your Portlander will resemble this book in some way (or, at the very least, be able to use it as a guide to identify what their fellow residents might enjoy).
Given that Portland’s considered a forward-thinking and progressive city, you might think a show about advertising agency men in the 1960s replete with secretaries being sexually harassed, cigarette smoking in the workplace and the mistreatment of minorities would find no home here. You would be wrong. How does a show become popular while still committing such offenses? Though it helps to be good (and Mad Men is), for Portlanders, it’s more important which channel is airing the episodes. For example, if Fox or Spike TV aired Mad Men, Portlanders would scream that it was an atrocity and start boycotting the use of deodorant. Instead, since the show’s aired by AMC, Portlanders are able to gently coo themselves to sleep leaving only those residing in SE to boycott the use of deodorant. AMC is truly the greatest television station of all time for Portlanders – it’s almost as pretentious as PBS except the shows are actually watchable.
A high school chemistry teacher with a genius IQ discovers he has lung cancer, and decides to start dealing crystal meth with an old student he failed in order to develop a nest egg for his family. This is prime Portland material: we have an underdog, we have crystal meth (which is huge here, for some reason) and we have yet another show that airs on AMC. That alone make this show a trifecta Portlander gift, but throw in the facts that it regularly wins awards and stars Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle fame, yet another underdog show, and you’ve got a super-mega-Portland hit on your hands.
If your Portlander loves an underdog more than they love Apple products – which may be likely since we have three Apple stores in the city limits meaning that Apple is successful and, therefore, must be hated as written in the Portland Code of Conduct – then the Roku HD Streaming Player fits the bill perfectly. Though Roku had a 2-year head start on the new Apple TV, that won’t stop the Apple Marketing Blender from chewing up and spitting out poor, li’l, underdog Roku. On the bright side, the Roku blows away Apple TV’s capabilities. The new Apple TV currently only streams Netflix, while the Roku HD streams Netflix, Amazon Video-On-Demand, Revision 3, MLB TV, Hulu, Pandora Radio and many more channels. Plus, it’s $30 cheaper and still has the ability to output to both standard and high definition televisions in optical or analog audio! Take that, Apple! Viva la revolution!
Portlanders practically coined the phrase “Kill Your Television” with many of them taking the concept of anti-electronic bashing to new levels by refusing to own or eat food cooked in a microwave oven (easily-made, readily-available hot food is the devil in Portland). When Amazon released its Kindle e-reader, however, many Portlanders readily donned their Hypocrite Hats (you’re fitted for your own when you become a resident), and purchased these amazing e-readers so they can read books on an electronic device instead of watching shows and movies on an electronic device.
Interested in more Portland gift ideas? Check out our Amazon “Gifts for Portlanders” boxes at the top right corner and bottom of every page. Stumped in Stumptown is an Amazon affiliate, so if you buy through our links, we get a small commission that helps keep our site going.
* Amazon.com’s prices change on a regular basis. These prices were accurate as of the writing of this article, but might be completely different when you click on the link.