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All aboard at "Valentine's Central"

Last minute shoppers swarmed the University bookstore yesterday afternoon in search of all gifts expressing love and devotion for Valentine's Day.

While some ventured off Grounds in search of the perfect present, the bookstore seemed most convenient for many students.

"Valentine's Central" is that area of the bookstore awash in candles, picture frames and stuffed animals.

"I'm just here to browse and see what I can pick up," first-year College student Vivek Taneja said.

Taneja had already picked up some fruit as gifts for his friends but admitted "fruit doesn't really cut it."

His gift quest continued, but not for traditional fare such as the standard teddy bear. Instead, Taneja said he was looking for something more unique, such as an eggplant with a heart on it.

Amy Graffum, a third-year College student and resident assistant, was still searching for a card and present for her hall gift exchange last night.

However, she encountered a few difficulties in that department.

"There's a lot of suggestive cards here that I don't feel very comfortable giving one of my residents," she said.

If Graffum thought the cards were suggestive, it's a good thing she did not see some of the items the bookstore had already sold out.

According to Mary Pat Glover, the bookstore's gift-buyer, this year's popular merchandise included chocolate body paint and body powder.

Also in the "kinky" department were love cuffs - handcuffs covered in a faux animal skin print.

These gifts may have added plenty of spice - and a few laughs - to Valentine's Day. Yet many people also explored more conservative avenues of expressing love.

University Florists general manager Sheldon Anderson estimated that the store had received approximately 1,500-2,000 delivery orders alone for yesterday, excluding those picked up at the store.

And last minute order-placers were out of luck if they wanted their arrangements delivered. After 10 a.m., the store could no longer accept delivery orders.

Still, not every couple felt the pressure to buy a token of affection.

Second-year Engineering graduate student Yash Kurami shopped for cards but did not partake in traditional gift-giving with his girlfriend.

"I'm getting a nice big steak. She's making me one," he said.

Compiled by Catherine Dunn


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