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Sunday, January 02, 2005

It's a Mall World After All

Today I packed up the car and bravely set out to do what has needed to be done since December 25. Returns.

It's not that we're ungrateful people, oh, no, we are very grateful for the bounty of presents lavished upon us this Christmas, and even more for the thoughts of love and appreciation they represent, it's just that sometimes, the gifts are not quite right...

I always thought that you gave holiday gifts to business associates to thank them for all the work they send your way. My husband has been receiving gifts from his clients, the ones that he does all the work for. Paid work. So he collects large checks for his efforts and then collects a slew of goodies at the end of the year too. Not bad! One friend in particular, who started out as a mere client, sent us a lovely holiday floral centerpiece, a nice bottle of wine, and a boxed cologne set for my husband. Now, G has a Papa Hemingway kind of thing going on. He's not the cologne wearing type, even if it is a he-man, manly brand. He won't even wear deodorant because it's too perfumy. Fortunately for everyone he comes in contact with, he seems to have been born without sweat glands. I had an inkling which store this gift came from and since it was on my list of stops I decided to give it a try. My guess was correct. I was stunned when the store credit came back with the amount of $95.00 on it. He is so going to be in trouble when he does not show up at our friend's business reeking of expensive cologne.

Two stops at two different Burdine's trying to exchange the sheets Papa bought me for ones not specifically marked, "Extra Deep Pockets." Seems that in your higher quality bedding you cannot buy fitted sheets that were not made for giant, fluffy, pillow-top mattresses. I ended up keeping them. So they will require a little extra tucking from time to time, they're worth it.

Another gift I reluctantly returned was the harem pants Papa bought me from the Tommy Bahama store in Sarasota. I say reluctantly, only because it's a long drive. When I think how nice it would be to live in a city that has an opera company and some excellent art museums, I need to take a drive up to Sarasota and remind myself how congested and pretentious the place is. The pants had a nice bamboo print on them, but they were meant as a beach cover-up and were see-through. Now, when I go to the beach and feel the need to cover up, that's what I do. That means my butt should not still be visible through my pants. Sorry hon, I know it's the thought that counts. Disgusted by the gross materialism I saw exhibited in the store, and feeling guilty and sad every time I spied a label from India or some Southwest Asian country, I left without making a purchase, ending up with another store credit.

Hit The Gap to exchange pants for my husband, who has finally fessed up to needing a larger waist size, and Old Navy to return an unwanted and unnecessary winter hat. Target swapped out a broken LeapPad that Santa dropped off, and Walmart took back a ridiculous looking purse, pants that were four sizes too large for my daughter, and a boxed set of noxious smelling Black Cherry candles, all from a well-intentioned cousin.

Too bad the present to my husband from my father was a mail order purchase, because that means there is no local store to take back the half brown, half white bath towel with "Face" and "Butt" on each end, stitched in contrasting colors.

Off to slide into my freshly laundered, 600 thread count, Egyptian cotton sheets with a new book or two. Those are presents I can really appreciate.

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