Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Oh boy, a present with strings attached!

With Pre-Christmas behind us and real Christmas fast approaching, it has been shopping time in the Kingdom of Grubb.  The Princess, being three and all, finally understands that Christmas is a wonderful time of year in which we celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus through his second in command, Santa Claus.  She loves the pageantry of Christmas with the lights and the cookies and the Jingle Belling and whatnot.  From helping decorate our tree to assembling our Elf village, every day belongs to some part of Christmas.

Of course the big pay off to Christmas for this young lass is the presents.   Like when the light went off that she can shake down our neighbors for candy at Halloween, the Princess figured out that if she's good, we are morally obligated to give her stuff.  In preparation, she's written a long Christmas list including every item in the Disney Store.  The Princess needs more of her kind, especially if they are little, plastic and painful to step on when barefoot.  She especially needs a Rainbow Dash that she can color herself.

I would try harder to dissuade this fascination with gifts, but she genuinely feels thankful for everything she gets.  I could give her a 1964 red Mustang convertible or a piece of belly button lint and the reaction would be 100% grateful.  Seriously, the child was just as excited getting an IHOP gift card as when she unwrapped her pink, big girl scooter.  This attitude makes you want to buy things for her.  Not anything expensive, mind you.  I'm not made of money, especially when everyone leaves the front door open and heats the whole outside.

With present d-day approaching, I was stoked about the $10 Toys-R-Us gift card offer in the Wendy's Chicken Nuggets kids meal.  $10 to Toys-R-Us, that's fantastic!  Watch out Rainbow Dash that you can color yourself; consider yourself bought.  I think I'll go to Toy-R-Us right now!  Or at least after I pick up some milk at the grocery store!  And go to the bank!  And finish cleaning the garage!

Then I saw the fine print.  You cannot use the gift card offer on:
  • Baby Food
  • Diapers
  • Formula
  • Wipes
  • Red Hot Deals
  • Hot Price and Unbeatable Price Items
  • Ameda
  • Baby Jogger
  • BOB
  • Britax
  • Bugaboo
  • ERGObaby
  • Mamas & Papas
  • Maxi-Cosi car seats
  • Medela breast pumps (why they would sell this at a toy store, I'm not sure)
  • Motorola
  • Pediped
  • Peg Pergo
  • Phil & Teds
  • Quinny
  • Robeez
  • Thyme Maternity
  • Electronic learning toys
  • Netbooks
  • Tablets
  • Video game hardware
  • Video games
  • Apple products
  • FAO Schwartz toys
  • Buyer Protection Plans
  • Gift cards
  • Photo studios
  • Phone orders
  • Special orders
  • Assembly fee
  • Breast-pump rental fee
  • or Shipping and handling
Whew, what a pretty exhaustive list.  It seems like the only thing the $10 gift certificate can buy is a Rainbow Dash that you can color yourself.  Except when you look harder, you find it's not even a $10 gift card.  It's an offer for a $10 gift card IF you spend $50.  So, if I read this correctly, I have to spend money to save money to spend more money.  That's marketing genius!

But I suppose I could spend $50 worth of crap on one ticket and then turn right around and spend the gift card on the elusive Rainbow Dash that you can color yourself.  Nope.  The gift card doesn't activate for 6 hours after they give it to you.  That's me coming back to a toy store during Christmas after I already bought stuff!  Toys-R-Us is perpetually crowded with other people's kids during the holidays and some of them don't like waiting in crowds while their parents buy stuff they can't immediately play with.  It's a loud, sad place that breeds anger and smells like unchanged diapers.  I hear they even have to talk Geoffrey Giraffe off the roof with promises that everything will be all right after New Year's.

Well, at least I can save the $10 bucks in my wallet for her September birthday.  Nope.  The card must be used by February 1, 2014.  The choice I  have to make is to re-shop for Christmas after I just bought $50 worth of junk OR come back after Christmas when the child is already up to her eyeballs in plastic Princess paraphernalia.  Talk about a lose-lose situation.

You know, Toys-R-Us, I appreciate what you're doing here.  Spreading a little holiday joy by giving a mostly worthless gift card that's fairly limited in what you can buy or when you can use it.  I think I'll buy my Rainbow Dash that you can color yourself on Amazon.  That way I can still play full price and I won't have to leave my jammies.  And my jammies are freakin' warm.


  1. If only my three-year-old would stay psyched about rocks and sticks and bird feathers forever, 'cause that's what she's getting for Christmas this year. Ah, screw it. That's what I'm gonna get her every year, whether she likes it or not.

  2. I'm starting to lean on giving experiences rather than gifts. I feel that I have this list of crap to buy, like I'm just going out and doing someone else's chores for them. Instead, lets go to the beach or hiking or playing Lazer Tag like its 1995! Those are memories and unlikely to get sucked up in the vacuum cleaner.