originally published July 8, 2012

The following exchange took place in the tiny ‘Crafts Corner’ section of the free paper known as the Whismarck Weekly Bugle. The regular feature had been penned by Doris Haverton, owner of Basket Bonanza, since October of 1983. Last spring, because a rival basket store opened up within the Whismarck town limits, paper editor Tony J. Pezsnecker felt it would be fair if he offered the new store owner a chance at writing every other week’s column.

Craft Corner – March 11, 2012

Greetings, Whismarckians! I’m Jerry Mainway, proprietor of the Basketorium, now open for business on Secondary Highway 265, a half-mile past that Denny’s that burnt down in ’07. I am not merely a curator of fine baskets. I stock deals, people. Incredible deals for all your basket needs. You want an 18-inch woven bamboo straight from the slums of Bangalore? We got ‘em, only $22.95. Looking for a reed splint basket to hold a bunch of marbles or something for the shelf beside your Blu-Ray player? We got ‘em, as low as six bucks apiece. You won’t find better deals at any lesser basket store. Flame on, basket lovers!

Craft Corner – March 18, 2012

Hello, loyal readers. Like you, I was quite taken by surprise by last week’s Craft Corner. While I understand giving equal time to all members of the community, I would never stoop to using this forum as a platform for selfish advertising. Last November I showed you how to craft a basket full of potpourri using dead flower petals, cucumber skin and dental floss. The gentleman who filled this space last week clearly has no respect for the Whismarck craft community; he merely wants to turn a profit. Not only that, but boasting that one’s product was made in ‘the slums of Bangalore’ strikes me as utterly classless and ethically suspect. I apologize for the rant; in two weeks I’ll give you some great ideas for a hanging tulip display to decorate your home for the exciting spring season!

Craft Corner – March 25, 2012

Jerry Mainway here, writing to you from the heart of the Basketorium, where you’ll find no deals sicker than our great rates on wicker. I got a laugh out of Ms. Haverton’s column last week. No, she won’t use this space to advertise. But that’s because her prices are off the charts. Come on, we have a two-foot vine basket from Ponape for only eleven bucks – her knock-off vine baskets were made in Mexico and they sell for over thirty. At the Basketorium we’ll take care of you. We’ve got one of those Nestle coffee-packet machines – you can have a mocha cappuccino while you shop. You know what you get at Ms. Haverton’s shop? Overpriced plastic replicas of our quality woven baskets, and nary a sip o’ java. Come to where the deals are, Whismarckians! Flame on, basket lovers!

Craft Corner – April 1, 2012

Fair readers and crafting enthusiasts, I must apologize on behalf of basket retailers everywhere for the crass, pandering approach taken by Mr. Mainway in last week’s column. His words consist solely of misinformation and self-aggrandizing phooey-spittle. The Basket Bonanza has never stocked vine baskets from Mexico, and the small assortment of plastic baskets that we carry are clearly marked and displayed separately. I refuse to dignify his comments about free coffee – my customers are more interested in a friendly, knowledgeable environment with quality materials. I daresay Mr. Mainway is a threat to the crafting community, and a man of dubious character. Again, I apologize for filling this corner of the Bugle with a defense of my store’s integrity. In two weeks I’ll show you how to craft a delightful woven bookmark that will inspire you to sit in your garden and enjoy a good book during this welcome warm weather!

Craft Corner – April 8, 2012

Heya crafty Whizzies! Jerry Mainway here, from the seething bowels of the Basketorium, where you’ll never be finding better prices on twining. While you’re casting your baby blues or browns on our outstanding selection of baleen and ivory wizardry, hand-crafted by a wise old Inupiaq in the mountains of the Yukon (only $14.95? Are you kidding me?), try not to think of the Native American sweatshop operating in the basement of the Basket Bonanza, where poor suckers are fed scraps in exchange for making Ms. Haverton some fresh product she can sell at a ludicrous mark-up. Try not to think of how many times Ms. Haverton labeled Nantucket baskets as Williamsburg baskets in hopes of deceiving her customers. Try not to think of whether or not Ms. Haverton is a communist heathen who supports terrorism and same-sex marriages between infant children. Just come to the Basketorium and enjoy a warm cup of comfort (not free, but it’s cheap!) while basking in the welcome drizzle of quality merchandise at affordable prices. Flame on, basket lovers!

Craft Corner – April 15, 2012

Good people of Whismarck, I am in shock. First of all, the personal attacks unleashed upon me in last week’s column were not only unfair and unprovoked, they were hurtful. Mr. Mainway doesn’t seem to care that the Inupiaq are not mountain people, nor are they from the Yukon. He then implied that I operate a sweatshop in my establishment, which is not only false it is potentially libelous. We offer weekly basket-making workshops in our basement, and the finest products of those workshops are sold upstairs with all profits going directly to the craftsperson who made them. Yes, we had a signage issue last month, however I’m quite certain that it was one of Mr. Mainway’s employees who slipped into our store and moved the signs around. As for the remainder of his slurs, I won’t address them. However I am curious as to why his sign-off somehow implies that fire and baskets go hand-in-hand. I’m not entirely sure Mr. Mainway understands much about baskets at all.

Craft Corner – April 22, 2012

Have you ever seen a completely immaculate Seri basket from the streets of Sonora? If you only shop at Ms. Haverton’s wicker-hovel, probably not. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she doesn’t even like Mexicans. Just as I’m not surprised that her collection of sumac, yucca, and willow baskets are as depressing as a herpes blister. Not that I’m suggesting Ms. Haverton has herpes – I’d hate to be ‘potentially libelous’ – but you can figure it out. The Basketorium is your one-stop shop for real baskets, quality baskets, sold by clean people who have never been prostitutes. We’ve got Haida, we’ve got Chippewa, we’ve got stuff from Indian tribes you’ve never heard of. Don’t be fooled by cheap imitations and half-rate herpes-laden floozies who cheered on 9/11 and hate Jesus. Come to the Basketorium, where it doesn’t smell like feces and shame! Flame on, basket lovers!

After this article, editor Tony Pezsnecker wisely suspended the Craft Corner section of the Bugle. Life has never been the same in Whismarck.

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