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Yesterday, at my girlfriend's request, we made the trip to Woodbury Commons.

For the uninitiated, Woodbury Commons is to shopping as the North Shore is to surfing or Valdez is to snowboarding.

Described as "a shopoholic's dream", it's essentially a giant outdoor mall, made up of over 220 designer-clothing and other luxury-brand outlet stores about 1 hour north of Manhattan.

The place is so popular that travel companies run daily round-trip tour buses there from New York, and you will often see ten or more of them lined up side-by-side in the huge parking lot, like oliphaunts marching on Minas Tirith. There are even special guided tours for Japanese tourists, and many of the stores have Japanese-speaking salespeople to handle them.

Anyway, I was dreading spending several hours wandering around there with my girlfriend. There is no upside to watching your girlfriend shop for clothes.

-- First, if you're like me, it's boring. I see the value of having nice-looking clothing, but that doesn't mean I like picking it out. I wear stuff until it falls apart. And the only thing more boring than shopping for clothes is watching someone else do it.

-- Second, you have to hold all her stuff (bags, jacket, sweater, etc.) so no one steals it while she's trying on new outfits. It's kind of like being a combination security guard and porter.

-- Third, she will ask you if you like the clothes she picks out. If you say "no", she will try on more outfits, and if you say "yes," she will try on more outfits anyway.

Nevertheless, being a supportive boyfriend, I agreed to go.

Well, for better or worse, karma has a way of paying you back. The first store we encountered at this monument to ladies' fashion? Custom bike maker Orange County Choppers, with their spiffy custom machines on display.





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