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BARGAIN HUNTER A GIFT THEY'LL NEVER TOSS OUT.

Byline: JULIA SCOTT

BEST GIFT OF XMAS: My family opened dozens of presents Christmas morning, but the best gift came unwrapped, didn't cost a dollar and wasn't even for me!

It was a photo album of a rarely admired subject: garbage trucks. Huh?

A few mornings before the holiday, my sister heard a knock at the door. She opened it in her bathrobe and found the garbageman standing in front of her. He handed her a thick photo album and said it was for her three little boys.

Apparently, every Wednesday for the past two years my nephews (twin 3-year-olds and their 5-year-old brother) have run outside in their pajamas at 7:30a.m. to greet the garbagemen. The boys chase the truck up the block as it sucks down smelly refuse and stare in awe at the amazing machine the men operate.

Now, how many people admire garbagemen like these boys? Not many, which is why I'm guessing this man put together an album of dozens of pictures (I guess it did cost a few dollars) of trucks collecting trash, smashing the debris down and ejecting it at the dump. In many pictures, the garbageman and his colleagues are smiling and waving in their soiled jumpsuits.

The boys pored over the pictures when they arrived and still look at the album, an unexpected gift that came from the heart. Now that's the Christmas spirit.

ESPRIT 20 PERCENT OFF: Get one-fifth off new items at Esprit online with a coupon code at www.insidesocal.com/bargain. The deal ends today. I spotted a cute wrap sweater for $20 (originally $49.50) that is machine washable and can be paired with a tank top if it is too low-cut for work.

FREE ADDRESS STAMP: Get a free address stamp or address labels through VistaPrint.com. There are six style choices for the stamp plus four that say FAX, COPY, THANK YOU or PAID that would be useful for a business owner. Shipping is $5.45 and up.

LINCOLN LUNCH SUBS: The cold weather called for a hot, hearty lunch so I zipped over to Dan's Super Subs in Woodland Hills. The sandwich joint came highly recommended, and a long line boded well. Almost as soon as I decided to order the hot roast beef sandwich with melted cheese, a server walked up to me to take my order. She scribbled it down on a slip of paper, which I handed to the cashier nary a minute later. They are quick!

Within five minutes of sitting down, my sandwich was ready. Good thing because I was hungry and time crawls by when your belly is empty. A regular sandwich is $4.83 and is an inch longer than the widest "V" I could make between my pinky and thumb (about a ninth on a piano). The jumbo is a foot long and costs $7.50. Great for splitting with a buddy! They have 28 sandwiches at these prices, plus a few special ones for a bit more. Each sammy comes with mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onions, a pickle and Italian sauce.

Visit them at 22446 Ventura Blvd. 818-225-8880. Parking is tight.

STOP LAME CATALOGS: Cut down on unwanted catalogs at CatalogChoice.org, a Web site sponsored by The Ecology Center, which wants to cut back on the 19billion paper catalogs discarded each year. Put your name on their list, select the catalogs you don't want and they take care of the rest.

DAILY FIX: Sign up for the day's new blog posts by plugging in your e-mail on the upper left-hand corner of www.insidesocal.com/bargain. Thanks!
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Title Annotation:VALLEY INC.
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 31, 2007
Words:606
Previous Article:MAKING STORAGE A SMART OPETION.
Next Article:VALLEY CONTINUES TO ADD JOBS ECONOMY: PARTNERSHIP PAIRS EMPLOYERS WITH POTENTIAL WORKERS.


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