Saturday, December 05, 2015

What I Don't Want

When you were a kid and someone asked you want you wanted from Santa, it probably took you less than a millisecond to respond. No hemming, no hawing; you had a list, had checked it twice, and only hoped that you had tallied up more points on the nice vs. naughty side of ledger to make it a reality. Be it model or doll, game or bike, you could describe it in minute detail, tell the inquirer its unique features and exactly which store had it in stock.

Fast forward any number of years, and things have changed a bit. Yes, there's the old adage that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. (Mind you, it's not a sexist statement: it's the same for women and girls, and probably more so, but it doesn't rhyme.) But while as an adult you might have things you covet, the older you get the smaller the list is likely to be. Partly it's because you have a lot of stuff: how many latte makers can you own? Your taste is probably more selective as well: just any another sweater won't do it. And even though it's not your money, the cost probably figures into your desire: sure, those earnings or that jacket are exquisite, but do you really want your loved one spending so much of their hard earned dollars on you that way? On second thought, it ain't your money, so what the hell.

I'm no different from you. As I cruise through the sheaf of circulars in the mail or the full page ads in the paper or the online etailers, there are any number of things that attract my attention. But what stands out are not the things I want, but those I don't. That's not to say they don't make me stop and take notice. But once I pass the "ooooo" factor and think about it's likely lifespan in my life, I measure it in weeks if not hours. We're not talking about the joke gifts that are out there, from exploding golf balls to bacon toothpaste to dribble coffee mugs. I'm talking mainstream gifts that are proudly above the fold. From all avenues, here a few things I think I can do without.

In the tech world, the gift of the year is a drone with a camera in it. Amazing technology, to be sure, and that fact that it comes at a price point anywhere less than a fighter jet is somewhat amazing. But since I'm not planning on aerial surveillance of my neighbor, it's likely to be one and done. And any gift that requires me to file a flight plan with FAA before I unbox it probably is more trouble than its worth.

I may not be a kid, but I like do like toys. And so I'm always looking at what the little one sare clamoring for. One that caught my eye was a Wubble. Described as a cross between a balloon and a ball, it comes in various sizes up to several feet. You inflate it, and do, well, ball things with it. But it doesn't seem too durable. The first three reviews on Amazon are "Horrible product," "Don't waste your money!!" and my favorite, "Makes Kids Cry."  Next!

I'm not a gun enthusiast, but depending on which set of statistics you believe, somewhere between 20% and 45% of the country is, including 12% of women. Add to that is the fact that Black Friday is the day when more guns are sold than any other during the year, as tallied by FBI background checks. Still, even I was looking to be packing and I were a female, I would pass on the Browning Range Kit for Ladies. Consisting of eye and ear protection, the fact that the items are better sized for females is a good thing. But the fact that it's all trimmed in pink takes a certain edge off the firepower. Nothing says "self-protection" like a Glock with glitter.

I hate to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth, but if these were on your list for me, please don't. Get me some Nutter Butters, or a movie pass or just buy me a drink the next time we're together. Beyond that, keep your money in your wallet, and leave the bungee office chair on the shelf.


Marc Wollin of Bedford wants nothing for the holidays but good wishes. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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