Shopping For Dummies

Clinton Detweiler is the owner and ventriloquist figure maker for Maher Studios. He recently began blogging at Newsy Vents. Clinton was the publisher of a book I wrote back when I was 16 years old.

One of the oddest things I think a ventriloquist has to do is buy clothes for his/her dummy. I raised a couple of eyebrows when I took Skyler in for a “fitting” at Old Navy once. Clinton tells about his most recent experience with shopping in bulk for his studio.


A local discount store was having a one day half-price sale this week on back to school clothes. Needing to restock my supply of pants for male ventriloquist figures, I went to the store and selected 34 pair of boys slacks. It’s not unusual for me to purchase kid’s clothing in large quantities, and I’ve learned to expect some raised eyebrows and/or questions from the store cashier when I go to pay. The cashier this week was about my age and when she began to ring up my cart load of clothes she commented, “You sure selected a LOT of nice pants.” I simply replied, “I have three grandsons.” Normally such a “tongue in cheek” answer receives a follow up question and I am then able to explain what I do with my large quantity purchase, which is fun. Not this time, however. The cashier without hesitation said, “Oh, I have fourteen grandchildren”, and she proceeded to tell me all about them as she rang up my 34 pair of pants! Glancing back at the line of customers waiting behind me to checkout, I knew this was one time I needed to move on without clarification. Nor was there any need to do so – by the time she finished ringing up 34 pair of pants and telling me about those 14 grandchildren we’d BOTH forgotten the original question!

You should see the looks I get when purchasing shoes. “What size do you need?” the sales clerks ask. “It doesn’t really matter as long as they look about right”, I often reply. “I’ll just squeeze the feet in and make them fit if that’s what it takes!” Someday someone may call security, but that’s okay – I carry pictures!)

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