Monday, June 6, 2005

The mother of bad gifts


With gift registries, there is no excuse for a bad gift anymore. Yet the bad gifts keep on coming.

My friend got a 3-foot-tall wooden, painted bald eagle statue for her wedding – from the groom’s mother. The bird has some kind of glittery stone for its eyes, and its creepy gaze seems to follow you as you walk around. The poor newlyweds don’t know what to do with it. It’s too big to hide in some cupboard and too hideous to perch on the front porch. It’s from the parents, so my friend can’t use it as firewood.

I don’t get how things like this can happen. Why don’t people stick to gift registries? You couldn’t be any clearer: “This is exactly what I want. Here’s the price. Not only did I do the shopping for you, the employees will even wrap it and send it to me, so you literally have to do nothing but pay, and I will be overjoyed.”

Yet that’s not enough. And the bad gift turns into a problem the receiver has to deal with.
It’s like people think they know your needs and tastes better than you.

“What do you mean, you want a vacuum cleaner? Who cares about clean carpets when you have a massive carved bird to welcome you home?”

My friend has decided to set her eagle in the front lawn and hope, with all of her might, that some teenagers or drunk fraternity boys will steal and/or vandalize it. Then she can tell her mother-in-law, “Darn, it’s broken. Or missing its head.”

And if the fraternity boys never come, I do have a few cans of spray paint in my garage.
Hey, that’s what friends are for.

Photo by Flickr user Robo Android.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Why my (ex) in-laws want me to name my first-born son Ross

Originally published 6/2/2005

Ahh, how the Polish in-laws do love shopping at Ross.

I call the last two weeks of my life the Polish Invasion. I housed my husband’s parents and, with that, ate more Polska kielbasa than my American digestive track could handle. I won’t elaborate.
The in-laws were absolutely floored by the possibility of buying Calvin Klein jeans for less than $20. They discovered you can swathe yourself in marked-down BCBG, if only you have the determination to dig through the cluttered racks.

They visited the Ross stores in Fort Collins and Boulder at least – I am not kidding – 14 times in their 15 days here. While I was flipping through their vacation photos, there was even a picture of my father-in-law standing in front of the store giving a thumb’s up.

He was wearing the discounted Tommy Hilfiger button-up he’d bought there the previous day.

So deep was their love that, apparently, the sales associates thought my parents-in-law were moving in. During my mother-in-law’s final Ross excursion, she was browsing through the jackets. She came across a black jeans jacket that caught her eye. Then she realized it was her jacket, which she had accidentally left at the store a week earlier. Someone had found it, hung it on the rack and tried to sell it.

My mother-in-law was concerned that her coat must not be very cool if no one wanted to buy it after one week on the racks.

I told her she should be more concerned about those shoes she bought that didn’t have a price tag on them.

Photo by Flickr user capn madd matt.