December 27, 2001
Certificated


We spent a good chunk of the evening, last night, doing the exact same thing that I'll bet 43,897,621 other people around the world were doing:

Searching for The Missing Gift Certificate.

The day after Christmas is always the day you realize you've misplaced some absolutely critical/totally irreplaceable Christmas-related paperwork: a receipt, a warranty card, a rebate coupon, the instructions, the antidote. In this case it was a Guitar World gift certificate that we'd managed to misplace: a special gift, this year, from Jaymi to David. David was positive he'd stuffed it into the same box with a dress shirt his mom gave him. I was equally positive he hadn't: in fact, I would have bet that half-box of Mrs. Fields Chocolates I have hidden under my pillow that we'd accidentally thrown the gift certificate away with the discarded gift wrap.

We tore the apartment -- and the dumpster -- apart last night, trying to prove our respective theories.

We love gift certificates in the Ю僱êrvØ¡/SecraTerri household. We don't care what anybody else says about them. Every couple of months or so, Miss Manners gets a fresh new stick up her butt about gift certificates: how tacky and facile they are, how inappropriate they are to give on special occasions, how people who give them as gifts should be immediately buzzcut and shipped off to military school. "Presents are supposed to symbolize that one cares enough about the recipient to be able to make a fair guess about what would be pleasing," she sniffs. "Wrong guesses should be appreciated for the effort, and the item discreetly given away if it cannot be exchanged without the knowledge of the giver."

Fine. Let HER figure out what to do with a Ronco Electronic Cottage Cheese Maker.

Frankly, *I* think gift certificates are the greatest thing since Chocolate Reddi-Whip. I don't care if you're talking about the online variety or the offline ... paper or plastic ... immediately redeemable, or spread out through the coming year, like one of those Gift of the Month deals. I LOVE gift certificates. I love giving them to people: they're the Stymied Shopper's best friend. I love the idea of the recipient being able to select something they're actually going to need/use/appreciate/not re-wrap and accidentally give to *me* next year. Plus I think that a carefully-selected gift certificate conveys every bit as much thought and imagination and love as soap-on-a-rope or a cheese-and-cracker basket. And I love receiving gift certificates, for a lot of the same reasons. This year my mother sent David and I a joint REI gift certificate, along with a personal note instructing us to use it on "bike stuff." This tells us that 1.) She pays loving attention to our lifestyle and our interests, as a couple, and she has carefully attempted to match the gift certificate accordingly, and 2.) she knew that David wouldn't see any part of a Bed, Bath & Beyond certificate.

(Smart woman, my mother.)

Eventually last night we found the missing Guitar World gift certificate: it was stuck between a couple of library books on the headboard above our bed. We immediately tucked it away in a safe place until we can get around to redeeming it ... along with the gift certificate I won at The Dirt Company Christmas Party (dinner for two at the local snooty Vietnamese Restaurant), the much-ballyhooed CDNow gift certificate (thank you, EdmundKaz!), the Barnes & Noble gift certificate from my sister (thank-you card is on the way!) and my Mom's REI gift certificate, which we may or may not actually use on "bike stuff." (We both enjoyed hiking so much, the other day, that we're thinking we might do hiking boots instead. We'll see.)

So poop on you, Miss Manners, and your snotty, outdated 20th Century attitude. I hope that nobody sent you a gift certificate this year. I hope you get to spend no time at all, in the days and weeks ahead, leisurely shopping for best-sellers on Amazon.com, or browsing for customized Welcome Mats at Tails By The Bay, or enjoying your membership in the Biscotti of the Month Club. 

In fact, I hope that right now you're tearing your hair AND your house apart, trying to find the missing instruction booklet for your new Ronco Cottage Cheese Maker.



tell 'em secra sent you

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"venus and mars." i'm definitely going with "venus and mars."
[and perhaps something by that delightful BOB DYLAN person.]