I worked hard last year to make sure that I had enough money to buy nice gifts for my family for the holidays.  I researched purchases, earned some Amazon giftcards through swagbucks (you can see here how to get a free tv like I did from swagbucks) and saved a little cash each month so that I would not have to worry about how to pay for gifts.  All of this planning paid off!  I got some really great deals!  One of the deals I was most excited about were some Beyblades that I bought for Ben and my nephew.

They were super cool!  They lit up!  They spun!  The packaging said “Let it Rip!”  I kept thinking how neat they were that they lit up when you pulled the strip and how cool they would look when they were spinning in battle!  I knew the boys would be thrilled!

Christmas day went off without a hitch. Sure enough, the boys were excited about the super cool, new Beyblades! “Wow!  They light up!  Yeah!”  They had so much stuff to play with that they didn’t actually open the Beyblades until that evening. My sister called and asked if we had opened the Beyblades yet.  Nope. Not yet.  She said that they didn’t work.  What?!?!?!?!?  I tried them in the store !  They light up great!  They spin great!  She said “Yeah but they are just flashlights.” WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?

Sure enough I tried Ben’s Beyblade and all it did was spin and light up.  Nowhere on the packaging that it came with (it has since been changed) did it say that it wasn’t a “real” Beyblade.  It was only a flashlight. How disappointing.  I immediately emailed the LARGE toy company that owns the Beyblade name.  They sent me a response that they don’t manufacture ALL the Beyblade items and they couldn’t help me.

I emailed them back again saying (name of LARGE toy companies deleted where ***** are):

“So, although ***** is all over the Beyblade name, and I bought a Beyblade branded product, there is nothing you can do for me as a consumer? How is that possible? That is insulting. I have never even heard of ***** ****** ********** and they certainly aren’t mentioned on the Beyblade website (where it says ****** everywhere). I am beyond irritated. This is NOT right! I would think that a toy company that manufactures the Beyblade items would want their customers to be satisfied? How can I get a resolution to this issue? There must be something you can do. It is hard for me to accept that a company as large as ******, who makes the Beyblades items for children, just doesn’t care that they disappointed children on Christmas day and that they are not interested in correcting the issue? Seriously? ESPECIALLY since the EXACT ITEM that I purchased was listed as a selection under Beyblades on the subject of the email I previously sent you (you know, where I am supposed to select the product I am emailing about. WHY would the EXACT ITEM be listed there if you don’t provide customer support for it?) There must be something you can do to make this right. Please let someone else review my complaint and come up with an alternative solution because your previous response is unsatisfactory. Thank you in advance for your help with this matter.”

Long story short, they apologized and sent us two REAL replacement Beyblades.  Don’t take NO for an answer.  Be polite but state your case.  You have the right to complain if you aren’t satisfied with an product or service you have purchased.
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This is the time of year that inspires joy, wonder and amazement in the world.  Except in my family.  In my family this time of year inspires hope and fear.  Hope that you get everyone the right gift and fear that you bought the worst Christmas gifts.  Please allow me to explain……

Ever since I was a child, I had a big thing about “fairness” and a definite idea of what a “good gift” was.  These building blocks were helped along by both of my parents.  For instance, the one year I used all my money to buy candy and play Ms Pac Man and realized too late that I had forgotten to get my mom a Christmas gift.  I had a dollar and change left.  I got her a tiny bottle of Orange Blossom cologne (which I actually thought smelled pretty nice).  It did NOT go over well.  I remember getting a stern lecture from my father about the “cheapness” of the gift.  I also remember my mother crying.

Fast forward to my teen years. By this point in time, we were accustomed to making lists and everyone buying off the lists.  So, on my list was a request for Ralph Lauren perfume (I think it was called Lauren… it was in a burgandy square bottle).  One of the first gifts I opened on Christmas was a container of Lauren body powder.  Ummm…… body powder???? Not on any teens wish list.  The fact that it was the right scent but not the right item made it worse.  I got so upset.  Finally my mother insisted I continue opening my gifts.  There, in the last gift opened was the perfume.  Ugh.  Damn.

Later in life, while pregnant with my first child, my now ex-husband thought that three sweatshirts were the PERFECT gift for any pregnant woman.  Do you need to ask why he’s an ex?  That man had a definite death wish.   The list of examples goes on and on.

Needless to say, gifts and I have never really gotten along very well.  I LOVE giving gifts!  I hate receiving them.  Sure, everyone says “It’s the thought that counts” but does anyone really believe that.  Besides, if it’s the thought that counts, WHAT were you  thinking about when you got me a “keep it hot” tray for Christmas?????? Realllllly??????????  I would rather get a candy bar than some generic gift that obviously was not picked with me in mind.

Following that logic, if it is the thought that counts, okay I can live with that.  But at least put some thought into it!  One of the best gifts I ever got was from my grandmother when I was a kid.  She had heard my mother talking about how my sister and I kept eating peanut butter out of the jar.  For Christmas, my grandmother got my sister and I each a jar of peanut butter.  See!  THOUGHT!  It is never about the money and always about the thought!  I loved that gift!   I still talk about that gift all the time!  My kids even think that was  a cool gift!

Over the years I have gotten better about receiving gifts.  Being a parent for 22 years will tend to do that to a person.  When my children crafted flowers for me out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners one year because they did not have money to buy me any, how could I be anything but thrilled?  But the THOUGHT was there!  That’s what makes it special!  They thought about it and took the time to create it just for me!

For me, the reason to give a gift is to let the person know that you were thinking of them and to make them happy.  Why would anyone want to give someone they care about something that they don’t want and that won’t make them happy?  It makes no sense! When I give a gift, I want the person to love it and be happy I got it for them!

Anyone who thinks it is about money has it all wrong.  It’s not even really about the list (although my girls and I are stern believers in the lists and the men in our lives have learned to cope!).  It is all about the thought….. as long as the thought actually occurs.  That is what makes gifts great, no matter the cost!

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