You get what you pay for

Posted: Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last year I thought that I would take some serious grief from certain readers when I lamented that I missed the old days of giving gifts that made kids think and create without them being required to stick AA batteries into every opening within 10 feet of their Christmas gifts.

I was way right.

I took some serious more scat from parents who, I am now convinced, are alien pod people.

Take for example:

Jennifer W. from Kenai took umbrage with my theory that the "Star Wars Turbo Tank Vehicle with electronic lights and battle sounds teamed up with a gunner's station, missile-firing cannon pods plus extra secret stuff they won't tell about until you spring for the sales price of $99.99 (reg. $114.99), fundamentally sucked."

I commented that, "a minimum of three young dudes, each armed with one of those tanks plus full auto Nerf blasters ($49.99) and Transformers Bumble Bee battle helmets ($44.99), could annex a medium-sized hamlet while bankrupting their parents with collateral damage lawsuits and battery replacement costs. Link them up with a half dozen Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Primes ($44.99 each) that not only talk, but also turn into trucks and you're looking at the fall and occupation of Anchorage."

Either between tokes or lack of oxygen, she became unglued.

Hyperventilating Jen claimed that such toys were well worth the investment because her boys would not only be getting the gifts they wanted but, "they would be better able to understand and contribute to sublimities that would help relieve their aggressive tendencies during their developmental years thus dissipating their latent urges to join the warmongering military complex."

Yup, I don't have a clue what she meant either but at least she knows how to spell.

Jen, may I suggest less intake of caffeine, Peninsula Power Weed, pills prescribed by your pet's vet and a self-imposed abstention from anything more powerful than tap water?

Then there was the circumstance last year where Billy J. e-mailed that his daughters wanted something called Zhu Zhu hamsters and he thought that since they were cute and only cost around eight bucks he might stuff some in their Christmas stockings and wanted my thoughts on the idea.

I immediately fired off verbal flares about purchasing artificial rodents that coo and buzz around looking loveable without leaving droppings and proliferating like lemmings. It just sounded too good to be true.

He ignored me.

So Billy's household ended up with not only a couple of Mr. Squiggles but battery-powered relatives named Chunk, PipSqueak, Num Nums and Patches.

Now it seems that what he bought cheap on-line may have been knock-offs.

He informed me this week that, "I have just discovered that none of those critters you warned me about have any proper certification paperwork so they are classified as illegal alien imports and aren't covered by warrantees. What's worse is that the Feds say that there is nothing they are going to do about it and I can't send them back from where they came from. In fact they went on to demand that to keep with the latest D.C. political correctness I now need to guarantee that all of my kids' electronic hamsters are provided Zhu Zhu Deluxe Accessories Assortment Cases for $99.99 plus subsidized Hamster Housing for $32.99 along with the free Daycare Playsets Education programs for $64.99. This so wrong in so many ways, Nick, I should have listened to you in the first place." -- Billy

How does one answer an e-mail like that? It's obvious that he's drinking from the same well as Jennifer but I must admit he kinda makes a point.

Finally, Mary T from Fairbanks wrote:

"I'll bet a guy with your warped sense of humor is tough to shop for when your birthday or Christmas rolls around but I think I've found the perfect site for your wife to check out. Have her try Something there will match your cuddly persona. May I suggest a half a dozen plush brains cells? You could use a few."

Well thanks Mary. That was sweet.

I looked up the site and couldn't stop laughing at some of the products. I found several that brought you to mind, Mary, but since this a family newspaper I'll just let you guess what caught my eye. Have a great new year.

Nick can be reached at

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