Beware duty-free shopping wizardry

A traveler pushes her trolley past a duty free shop.

TEXT OF COMMENTARY

Doug Krizner: The fifth film in the Harry Potter series opens today. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be shown in 9,000 theaters in the U.S. As in earlier films, Harry will do his wizard shopping in Diagon Alley, but could he just as easily find what he needs at an airport? Commentator Moira Manion says yes. She works at a jewelry store at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.


Moira Manion: You'd be surprised how much the airport is like Diagon Alley. Not everyone can enter. You must go through a special portal with a special ritual performed by security wizards with wands.

Once through, you find yourself in a bustling lane lined with shops and places to eat, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Like Diagon Alley, it crackles with the energy of people arriving and departing. It's a separate, isolated world with is own population of exotic characters.

There are black-capped wizards with the power to fly, and there are goblins in gray, zippered jumpsuits — like the short, wise-cracking New Yorker and his tall, silent friend with a sexy Mona Lisa smile, who can make your baggage appear or disappear.

The rules of the World Outside don't apply here. You're supposed to save your money for the vacation, or the wedding, or the funeral reception. But once you're in my shop, well, it's my duty to use my witchcraft on you.

Look how beautiful that $200 Apple Coral necklace is! Admire the summer-blue of that $895 Larimar bracelet — yes, Larimar, found only in the Dominican Republic, and this unique piece was made exclusively for us.

You won't find this one-of-a-kind, gorgeous artistry out there, because our shop exists only here. Once you're beyond the TSA portal, you'll never see it again. And it probably won't be here should you ever return.

Like Diagon Alley, there's a hint of danger. Do I dare spend the money? My wife will kill me, my husband will murder me . . . but oh, Merlin's Beard! Do you take credit? Yes, I'd love a gift box.

The magic is so complete, that it's not until well after the heady traveler is flying off that he thinks to open that package he crammed into his carry-on case. Well back into the real world, the traveler thinks, "What possessed me to blow all my money on chunky, semi-precious blue stones?"

Krizner: Commentator Moira Manion. She's works for airport retailer. In Los Angeles, I'm Doug Krizner, make it a good day.

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