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Gift Guide: The BEST Shopping Tip for Guys EVER (If I Do Say So Myself)

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One day, on the way home in a cab, I spotted some nice boots on some sidewalk chippie and exclaimed, as one might expect, "Oooh! Nice boots!" What I didn't expect is the immediate swivel of the driver's head and a desperate "Where?"

Turns out Mr. Driver's wife had asked him to buy her a pair of boots as a gift. And he was stymied as to where to shop and what boots to buy. Poor fellow. I suspect he's not alone in his misery at this time of year. Not every man knows instinctively that his wife will adore a set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books, as a friend of mine did when she received one from her then-boyfriend (she's a Laura Ingalls geek). More likely is a scenario from my university days, in which my can-mate recounts, with some shock, opening a gift about which her fiancé had been thrilled and finding inside a vintage hockey shirt. She did not like hockey. (Still, I'm pretty sure she married the guy.)

And yes, the thought is what counts. But there's always the hope your gift recipient will be so happy with your selection that you'll reap -- er -- benefits.

The answer is two simple words: camera phone.

Guys, a camera phone can be your very best shopping assistant. Take photos of your partner's shoe collection. Of her bag collection. Of her favourite wardrobe items. Of her makeup. Of her jewelry. Or of other things she loves -- other than you. Then, armed with your visual aids, march yourself off to the best shopping centre you know, one with at least one good department store, and lots of shops for shoes, bags, jewelry, makeup, sports gear etc. And show your photos to the sales staff so they can help you pick out something appropriate.

Actually, the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate image, above, isn't only to illustrate "phone with camera." If your other half is in the market for a new android smartphone -- and you'd definitely know if she were -- the Samsung Galaxy S series is a genius choice. Not only is the four-inch screen spectacular in its colour and clarity, it plays nice with Flash video, so she can watch her favourite YouTube beauty (or Jon Hamm) vids. Plus it has Swype technology, which for me makes texting and emailing so easy. And the camera is aces. You might want one for yourself, you know?

Image courtesy of Samsung.