Tag Archives: gifts

Who has the Christmas spirit? Hint: might not be me.

14 Dec

I will be buying you some of these. You're welcome.

I recently posted about a gift exchange that jumped the rails due to my keen observational skills. If you missed that post, I’ll summarize: I’ve repeatedly given earrings to a good friend who doesn’t have pierced ears. Blam!

Rolling into the holidays, you might think that I’m operating with a high degree of anxiety, knowing that another gift exchange is in my near future. You couldn’t be more wronger™. Nope. I’m not stressed at all. Know why?

Because instead of exchanging gifts, Betsy and I have decided to adopt a DC family in need and spend our money on them instead. Brilliant, right?!

Well, at least, I thought it was brilliant, until I received the family’s wish list. It’s a single mom with two sons. The boys have legitimate items on their wish lists. But the mom? Know what she wants? A gift card to Victoria’s Secret.

Please excuse me while I go all judgmental and decidedly un-charitable for a moment.

You. Must. Be. Shitting. Me.

Let’s rewind. You have two children that you’re struggling to support, so you think the answer is to… buy sexy lingerie and have more sex and potentially create another baby? No. Way.

I want to sit this woman down and say, “Honey. I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I am happy to be taxed if it means a better standard of living for everyone. But you? You’re going to ruin it for everyone needing assistance by asking for shit you do not need.”

“I mean, I’m happy to help give your kids a good Christmas, and I’m happy to help you pick up some essentials for your household. But Victoria’s Secret? That’s a luxury, not a necessity. If you need underwear, there are many, many other stores that sell them. For a fraction of the price. And with more fabric.”

Actually, it’s the holidays. I shouldn’t judge. This is my opportunity to be someone’s Christmas miracle. I think I’ll take that sentiment to heart, and go beyond what’s on her wishlist. In fact, I already have a perfect idea for a stocking stuffer:

Psyche Test for the 21st Century: What your WishList Says About You.

11 Dec
Glenn Beck's Amazon WishList by NewCorpse.Com

It can't be all bad if even the crazies are doing it. Right?

It is a fact: every one of my single friends out there has contemplated creating a gift registry for herself (á la Carrie on Sex & The City) so that her friends (whose showers and weddings and births she’s celebrated) will have an opportunity to balance the scales and occasionally recognize her milestones with a little something she’d like.

Well, fortunately, Amazon has a plug-in for their website that allows customers to capture ANYTHING on the web and add it to their Amazon Wishlist. Clever, Amazon.

I’m a believer in the Wishlist. Mainly so I can track my impulses for months before pulling the trigger on a purchase, but also so that if someone is struggling to find me a gift, they can get a sense of what I’d truly appreciate.

Seems innocent enough to create such a list, but remember: your WishList (like pretty much everything online) is searchable. By potential employers.

Why would that matter, you ask? Well, a friend recently told me about a candidate his company was interviewing. She looked good on paper and everyone she had met with liked her. When it came to the final stage in the process, the VP of HR did a quick google search and landed on her Amazon WishList, which – we shall say – did not reinforce the image she had put out there during her interviews.

That got me to thinking… what does my WishList say about me? And would it cost me a job?

Interestingly, when I was adding items to my WishList, I wasn’t aware of any themes. Yet, in revisiting the list in its entirety, certain, um, patterns start to emerge. Like: Apparently I’m cheap. Or have a high degree of guilt associated with buying nice things. Because almost every item on my list is accompanied by a comment I wrote along the lines of, “Yes. This is expensive. But it will last forever.”

I especially like one entry for a bracelet, in which I not only point out that it’s expensive, but then also offer tips on how to find it cheaper. “Don’t pay full price! Monitor eBay. Only buy it if you can get a good deal.” I’m not even sure who I’m offering this advice to, because – to my knowledge – I don’t have any WishList followers.

Other observations? I have shampoo and lotion on my list. Is this normal? For people to include toiletries on their WishLists? Maybe I’ll go one step further and start using it to create an online grocery list each week. How fun would it be to visit someone’s WishList and see that they’d like chicken stock, a bag of carrots and detergent?

I could only handle so much self-analysis, so I decided to look for some odd items on Amazon that I could’ve included on my list but didn’t, to make myself feel better. And I learned a few things…

  • Did you know you can buy Cremation Urns (and corresponding necklaces that allow you to wear your loved one’s ashes) on Amazon? Per the reviews, they are quite a good deal. I feel sorry for the people who have had to buy so many urns they  now comparative shop for them.
  • When you search “Adult Diapers” on Amazon, the most common item in your search results is “neoprene lunch totes.” Is this some kind of well-kept senior secret? Those would-be retirees aren’t bringing their lunch to work, they’re carrying a disposable toilet with them? Smart.
  • We’ve all seen “wall art” – those images and words that people apply to their walls for a graphic effect. This by far has to be the most bizarre image I’ve seen. I think it will look fantastic right over my bed. No, seriously – in what context was this invented, and does anyone ever buy it?
  • You can buy a 12-pack of fake mustaches for under $10. I’m tempted to add them to my WishList just to leave someone scratching their head when they think they have me figured out.
  • And if you’ve never visited this product to read the customer reviews, you must. It is the best free comedy you can find on a major e-tailer. This is my best guess regarding their market segmentation for this product:

Pie Chart showing Amazon sales of infamous wolf shirt
What does YOUR WishList say about you? Other than that your middle name should be Greedy McGreederson for expecting people to give you gifts?

Make your list. Check it twice. Then check it again.

3 Dec

I generally pride myself on being a pretty thoughtful gift-giver. I try to pay attention throughout the year when someone mentions a guilty pleasure or item they’re coveting. There is little more satisfying than seeing a person completely surprised by something they can’t even remember saying they wanted.

Clearly, a preface like that can only mean one thing, right? That I am an absolute, utter jackass. Let me explain.

My good friend Betsy came over for dinner on Wednesday. The last time I saw her was a few weeks ago, when we celebrated our birthdays. It’s become something of a tradition to make dinner together and exchange gifts.

The thing is, other than the year I had postage stamps printed featuring a photo of her dog, I always come up short when trying to think of creative gifts for her. She already HAS a lot of the things I would naturally think to give her, so I often find myself “giving an O’Connell* Gift,” as my family calls it.

[An O’Connell* Gift is when you give someone a present that you would like yourself. We call it this because as a high schooler, my friend Ryan O’Connell’s brother – drawing his pre-school cousin’s name in their annual gift exchange – gave her a subscription of Sports Illustrated. Yeah.]

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It’s already paid for itself and we haven’t even planted it.

16 Jun

One of my colleagues received a George Washington Chia Head as a gift for Christmas. It has been sitting in a box on his desk for months, begging to be re-gifted. After a glass of work-place wine, we all decided to open the box and get the Office Chia started.

I’ve never owned a Chia Pet before, so I’m absurdly excited. When I saw its claim that it will be fully-grown in two weeks, I made a bold decision:

“You know the guy who took his own picture every day for eight years?” I asked.

My colleagues nodded. “Well, get ready to give it a run for its money. Because we will take a picture of Chia George every day until it’s fully grown. Except on weekends.”

I could tell they were pretty impressed with my commitment to the project, based on the silence that followed.

Or maybe they were just thinking, “But then we’ll have to watch our chia start young and awkward, have a brief hottie period, then end up looking like a bike courier who refuses to groom himself.”

Or maybe that’s just my take on the photo guy.

Regardless, upon examining the contents of the box, my excitement was dashed. No one warned me that there would be PAPERWORK involved! Ack!

Apparently, it’s important to register your Chia. (Because someone might steal it? Not sure.)

Here’s a photo of the form:

Paperwork like this is why I've never adopted a baby.

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I’m pretty sure the real gift he’s trying to give me is religion.

27 Dec

Not safe for communion.

Last week while I was in Michigan I got a phone call from a stranger informing me that she had erroneously received a holiday package intended for me. My suite number at work is 630-E; apparently FedEx delivered my package to a church at 630 E Street SW.

From her voice, I gathered that Mrs. Marshall was an older African-American woman. I thanked her for letting me know she had received my package, but then went on to explain I was out of town and couldn’t retrieve it immediately.

“I’ll be back in DC on Monday. Could I come by for it then?” I asked.

“Monday, you say? That could work.” She paused. “But, uh, it says ‘alcohol’ on the box.”

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