When you're crazed enough to send the very worst:
December is a time of short days, long nights, and a universal determination to convince
the gift-buying public that your product is the perfect Christmas Gift, no matter how utterly
inappropriate or absurd it is.
RadioShack was an early contender, with their pre-holiday flyers hawking a "Christmas gift idea"
that I certainly never would have thought of, the "Mouse Cleaning Kit." Maybe I'll be branded
forevermore as being among the great technologically unwashed for admitting to this, but up until
I'd seen the flyer in question, I hadn't even known that there were such things as mouse cleaning
Though, in my defense, I should point out that I really don't like mice; never have. I got spoiled using
digitizing tablets long ago and I'll put up with trackballs if I must, but mice are way down on the list
of desirable data entry products. So, since the only mice around here are the Sun optical mice down
in the server room, maybe it's not so eggregiously uncouth that I'd have missed some of the details
of modern mouse hygiene standards.
Some tried-and-true bad gift ideas keep surfacing, year after year, somewhat like I'd imagine a
really old pickle would if it had been stuck at the bottom of a pickle barrel for a year or two. For
example, the "name a star after a loved one" scam, where in exchange for a mere fifty bucks,
any one of the many "name a star" companies will send you an ornately inscribed parchment
that will proclaim to the whole word that your gullibility level is of truly stellar magnitude.
The interested reader who might be unfamiliar with the legal status (or lack thereof) of the
large assortment of companies in the "name a star" business may wish to gaze into the
International Astronomical Union's FAQ on the subject
[ http://www.iau.org/IAU/FAQ/starnames.html ].
Another tried-and-true bad gift idea is that of registering a domain for someone who
doesn't know what to do with it, especially if you've signed your soon-to-be-former-loved-one
up for a hosting service which they can enjoy paying the fees for. One thing that might be
even worse is if you threw an embarrassing site together on their behalf, especially if it
included a lot of pictures from some office parties that the recipient might prefer not to
be showing up in image search engines all over the world.
By and large, if somebody wants a personal vanity page of their own, they probably already
. . . or at least twenty or thirty partially completed ones, scattered randomly across as many
free hosting sites.
But the winner of this year's "worst last-minute perfect holiday gift" award goes to the ad I just
heard on the radio which asked the rhetorical question, "what could be a more perfect holiday
gift for that special person in your life than a gift certificate for laser hair removal?"
Um . . . I think I could come up with a long list without a whole lot of effort.