Excuse me, but how does that great old Christmas song go? Oh yes, I remember it. It’s that time of year when the world falls… for the biggest scam of them all. We’ve done it for years, and you’d think we would learn, but we love the scam. We don’t care that we’re being scammed. The scam makes our lives easy so we perpetuate the bigger scam. Therefore, when we do, we end up scamming our friends and neighbors. They thank us for making them part of the giant scam, until everyone we know is in the super colossal scammity scam scam, all together singing Kumbaya. You might ask what is scam is this? Or you might ask how can you profit from it? You also might ask about the weather in Alaska. In theory you actually might ask any number of things relating to the scam or not. Who knows? Then again maybe it isn’t a scam and I am just overreacting. You decide.
What I’m talking about is gift cards. The scam comes in when you think about the amount of the card. They usually come in dollar amounts of five, ten, twenty-five, fifty, and a hundred. Nothing costs those amounts. You can check anyplace. The closest you come to ten bucks is nine-ninety-five. So now you have five cents on a gift card, you’re never going to use. But your friend gave the store all ten bucks. They have your money and you can’t get it back unless you buy more stuff. So, you trundle back to the store and quickly find there is absolutely nothing you can buy for five cents, therefore to get the value from the card you spend ten more dollars. How intelligent of you. To prevent a store from getting an unearned nickel, you give them an additional nine dollars. That’ll teach ‘em.
Think about it; You either don’t spend the whole card and the store gets extra cash, or you spend more than the card and the store gets extra cash. Where’s the situation where you get some extra cash? That sounds like Scammity scam scam to me.
Of course, now its holiday time. Everyone and their brother are telling you to buy gift cards for all your gift giving needs. Don’t buy a gift your friend MIGHT return, force them to return to the store so they can spend their gift card. Besides cards take no imagination, time, and you don’t even have to think about the friend you’re giving it too. Remember, It’s the lack of conscience thought that counts.
As you may have guessed I am not a fan of gift cards. That’s okay though. I actually like to buy Christmas gifts for my family. It might be because I have a smaller list than others do. Perhaps it’s because I am a creative person. Then again it could be because of that lobotomy I had a few years back. Either way, you will find me out shopping.
My wife says that I have a unique shopping strategy. I hit the shopping center at eleven and head straight for the restaurant. Two shots, three beers and a huge hamburger later, I am ready to hit the stores, blasted. The gifts I buy are unique, and they are hardly ever returned. Then again that could be because I can rarely remember where I purchased them. This year however I am in a bit of a quandary. The restaurant and many of the best stores are closed. So how is Good Ol’ Uncle Ohh! supposed to get all those presents and keep up his high standards?
The biggest problem with all this is that children get older every year. Not just even numbered years, like I was led to believe before I had my own children. You see when young kids accept things like pajamas and Spiderman underwear. Then they get older and somehow these things aren’t any good anymore. Younger folks also believe in quantity. At one time thirty bucks at a dollar store got everyone five gifts, and for three days Uncle Ohh! was better than mom. But no more.
Older rug rats know about value. They only want one thing and it costs seven hundred bucks. Therefore, we start to see negotiations between relatives. “Hey Johnny, this gift is from Mom, Aunt Myrtle, Uncle Fred, Grandma Tuti, Sissy, Aunt Morgan, Gaga, Henry, Uncle Mike, Bowzer the dog, and Nunzio the pizza delivery kid.” Yes, Johnny got what he wanted but he only opened one present.
This is where socks and underwear rear their ugly Christmas head once again: Under the Tree Filler. I mean, think about it, an eight-foot tree with a thousand assorted lights, balls and ornaments collected over the last several years, and one present. You need the filler. Like I said socks and underwear to the rescue.
Of course, things have gotten better over the years. When I was growing up there were only two colors of socks: White for playing sports and black for everything else. Now-a-days socks are in all sorts of patterns and colors and the don’t have to match your clothing. Heck, my kids’ school have offered the chance to wear mismatched socks as a reward. Boy have they ever lowered the reward standard, if instead of candy or extra recess, mismatches socks is what appeals to them. But I digress.
Okay you get a couple of socks and then you start thinking about underwear. If you’re a father you don’t want to do that. Think about it. When your kids are ten their underwear look pretty much the same. BUT then they turn fifteen and it changes drastically. Especially for girls. I admit, in my youth and when I was dating, I thought about girl’s underwear quite a lot. I’m a father now. I don’t want to think about my daughter’s underwear. I certainly don’t want to come down the stairs, half asleep, at six am, on Christmas day, before I’ve had my coffee, and watch my daughter gleefully tear the wrapping on a package, scream “How Cute!” and show me something powder-blue and covered with lace that I don’t even want to think about on a fifteen-year-old.
Another thing, can anyone tell me why an early girls bra needs to have padding? And don’t tell me it’s so charming that she’s growing up, because it’s not. It’s expressly not at Christmas when you’re looking for traditions and memories and a whole lot of extra caffeine.
Pajamas have a similar issue. Last year I tried to get my kids each a set of PJs. I even tried to get them all the same color so we could match. My boys took one look at them and said they’d rather sleep in sweatpants. My daughter thanked me, kissed me on the cheek, and informed me she no longer wears pajamas. How do you respond to that? The next question is obvious, but I’m not going to ask it. I don’t want to know the answer.
So welcome to the holiday, with no drunk gifts, underwear, or jammies. Maybe, this year, I’ll just get them a gift card.
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