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02/11/03

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Thoughtful Boyfriend Buys Valentine's Day Gift
Before Feb. 14th Deadline



DOVER, Del. (DPI) - Chet Fitzpatrick surprised his girlfriend of seven months with a gift of flowers, teddy bear and tennis bracelet a full day before the mandatory date. The gift was actually chosen and ordered an unprecedented four to six weeks ago to insure on-time delivery.

This is an important day for Jen (his nickname for Jennifer) and I didn't want to leave anything up to chance," said Fitzpatrick. "I actually picked it out before Christmas. I mean, it's not like we don't know that Valentine's Day will be right around the corner."

But not everyone is pleased with Fitzpatrick's foresight, including several local men who feel this might start an ugly trend. "If our wives find out about this, it will be trouble for all us regular Joes," said Earl Swarski, a neighbor and long-time gift procrastinator. "It's hard enough picking up some leftover daisies at Kroger's floral department on our way home from work, and a Valentine card, or at least one that doesn't say 'Happy Birthday,' at the checkout line. I don't appreciate him coming in and raising the bar for the rest of us."

The sentiment seems to have split down gender lines. "I think he's sweet," said Gloria Ventner, a secretary and receiver of last- minute tokens of love. "Last year my guy gave me $15 to go get my own, and told me to give him back the change! My friend Susan got a gift certificate for KFC."

Another complaint came from Sam Wilkins, electrician and typical inconsiderate male. "Just wait till he's been married a while," said Wilkins. "Mr. Loverboy will be singin' a different tune." Also concerned are those associated with convenience stores and roadside flower stands. Rameen Aboosh of The National Association of Convenience Store Owners (NACSO) does not like the idea of such a break with tradition. "I have stocked up on many $4.95 boxes of chocolates for the mad rush of desperate men at 7:30 pm on the 14th," he said. "If this does not happen, I will be forced to sell them at heavy discount on the 15th."

The full impact of this thoughtful act remains to be seen, but Chet hinted that his plans for her birthday in June are already in the works and will be even bigger and better. An anonymous male bystander, clinching his fists, was heard mumbling, "Pretty boy's going down!"



(Reported by Buddy Fisher)


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