Thursday, January 07, 2010

My First Post-Holiday Post

Christmas is over. But the stress isn't.

Christmas morning Tito barfed in my bed. Sure, it was gross and a minor inconvenience, but since it meant I could stay home with a sick kid instead of spending the day you-know-where, I'd say I got the better end of the deal.

Well, scratch that. I missed the fantastic meal MIL made. And I kinda did want to see the reaction to the gifts I put together for the Aldikids.

Remember the not-so-subtle gifting feud I've continued for years? Basically, the Aldis have a history of shitty gift-giving. When I say shitty, I mean their gifts are clearly bought on Super Duper going-out-of-business clearance and are either ridiculously age-inappropriate, discontinued and therefore impossible to find the accessories necessary to make them fun, defective and almost always unreturnable. They've done this to us for years. I've only been paying attention to it since 2001. It's so obnoxious.

When Beeb turned 4, they gave her a train engine that blew bubbles that, according to the box, was for 18 months and up. She's not a two year old boy, geniuses. So we tried to return/exchange it - at every store in the greater metropolitan area. NOBODY had this stupid thing.

Then we remembered that Mrs. Aldi's creepy dumpster-diver brother and his creepy toothless midget wife used to work at a store called Grandpa Pidgeon's that went out of business years ago. They bought up a buttload of 99% off crappy toys on Clearance and stuffed them in a closet, pulling them out as needed to give as gifts. Mystery solved, Scooby.

This comes from a 2005 post, in which I reference the following email I sent to my friend Renee back in 2002:

Well, I'm sure you remember Mr and Mrs Aldi who are notorious for giving us re-gifted, crappy, age-inappropriate and incorrectly sized gifts (remember my Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt from the Juniors department and the Bubble Train for ages 18 months+ for Beeb's 4th birthday?) that were purchased on clearance and put away for a gift-giving occasion that could be months away, rendering the shitty gift unreturnable and worth about 33 cents in store credit if you can even determine which store it was purchased from? And forget a gift receipt since you'd only get what they paid for it back, which probably isn't much more anyway. We end up giving the gifts they give us to Toys for Tots, which means I have to figure out a place to store it for 6 months.

And I'm sure you remember how we attempted to rise above this gift-giving inequity and continued to buy cool gifts for their daughter (Aldigirl), such as a really cute wooden dollhouse and a Rainbow Princess Barbie, both of which were met with Mrs Aldi muttering "oh greeeeeeeeeeeeaaat, more little pieces for me to pick up..."

Well, we decided we're going to beat them at their own game. We look for toys with lots of parts that are completely annoying on clearance and put them away to give to Aldigirl. It's like a sport, and hubby and I are great at it. In fact, it's brought us closer together as a couple. At one point we found the Baskin Robbins mini ice cream maker on clearance at Target, but then we found it at WalMart for 20 bucks, so we returned it to WalMart (hee hee) and made money on the deal.

Then we found Cootie Jitterbug - a battery-operated, noisy and annoying version of the original, and put it away for nearly a year until Aldigirl's birthday. Thank GOD they didn't have a party for her again this year. Every year they try to cram like 12 grownups and 7 kids in their house. No, Reverend Aldi had a conference in LA, so they actually purchased a plane ticket and took Aldigirl to Disneyland for her 4th birthday. Whatever.

Anyway, we presented Aldigirl with her gift at Easter (in a non-reusable slightly torn gift bag, as I had covered every detail) and to my delight, she shrieked "I ALREADY HAVE THIS GAME!!!" Gleefully I imagined the scenario that we had endured so many times before - standing in line at the return counter "um, yeah, I got this as a gift and I need to return it..." "yeah, RIGHT! we haven't had those on the shelves for 6 months! You can have a dollar in store credit, if ya want it..." "no, thanks..."

Well, apparently Mrs. Aldi knew exactly what it was worth since she probably bought it at the same time we did, and her reaction was " love that you can have one upstairs and one downstairs..." Hilarious! And the best part was that I was in the bathroom at the time, where I could hear everything and yet freely snicker without fear of an embarrassing social faux pas. I was so tickled by my triumphant victory, I don't even care if she's onto us. I suspect she is.

Over the years they've presented the Apes with some pretty kooky shit. One year they gave Beeb an uncharacteristically cool gift - an MP3 Player called the Juice Box which played little cartridges with videos and music on them. When we went to look for more cartridges for it, we found it at KMart in a clearance bin, discontinued, and we soon came to the realization that it would be a major pain in the ass to find the cartridges and accessories necessary to do anything with it. Thanks, douchebags.

And then last year, they hit a new low. From my 1-6-09 entry:

I didn't think there was anything lower than giving a kid a shitty gift, but there is. It's giving a kid a really awesome gift that doesn't work. They got the boys cool AirHog helicopters and threw in, as a bonus, these cool-looking guns that shoot nerfball-like things.

At least, that's what they're supposed to do. They don't do shit but collect dust. They don't WORK. The boys were so bummed, it was sad. Who wants to see a sad kid on Christmas?

The Aldis included batteries, which was surprisingly generous. So when we got home (of course I couldn't let the boys open them at Chez Inlaw because they'd shoot them all over and I'd be the worst parent in the world) we put them in, and couldn't get either gun to work. R thought perhaps we should get some NEW batteries, as we wouldn't put it past the Aldis to include some mostly-dead batteries that they'd taken out of one of their kids' toys. New batteries didn't work either.

R did a quick internet search, and found these items on Super Duper Clearance at We kicked ourselves for not opening them at Chez Inlaw so the Aldis could be exposed as the crappy giftgivers they are.

Anyway, finding out what discontinued tchotkes the Aldis gave the kids for Christmas is one of my favorite things to look forward to during the Holidays. And, because I like to make the magic last all through the year, I am constantly on the lookout for shitty clearance rack gifts to give to the Aldibrats. I don't care if I have to hide it in my closet for eleven months, fuck it, I'll smile every time I see it in there.

This year I totally outdid myself.

About four or five years ago I found a huge Thomas the Tank Engine set with miles and miles of blue track. I really don't know why I bought it, other than that it was a really great deal I found at a toy store called Zany Brainy that was going out of business, and Tito already had a million train sets, so I put it away in the garage at the old house (the one we moved out of three years ago), and then when we moved to our new house I once again hid it in the basement inside a garbage bag.

Maybe a year or so later, I found a Whistle and Go Thomas toy on Uberclearance at WalMart, thinking it would make a deliciously annoying gift for Aldiboy, should we be invited to Aldiboy's birthday party. We weren't. Boo fucking hoo.

This year was considerably leaner than last year when R was making phat commission and Santa brought my Dyson, a bigass TV and an Xbox 360, so this year I raided the gift stash (and the yarn stash too, come to think of it - I knitted crappy garter-stitch scarves for the kids' teachers).

Bottom line: Aldiboy got a gift with a whistle in it AND another with a million little parts. Oh, and if the fact that the train set was in a visibly discolored box doesn't clue them in to its age, just wait till they try to find additional parts for it.

Noisy, check. Little pieces, check. Impossible to return, check.

It gave me the same physical sensation of the shamelessly indulgent bliss that you get when you eat too much on Thanksgiving. So totally satisfying you almost feel guilty, but you don't. It was almost like a food coma, except it was more of a Screw You, Asshole coma. I rode that high for days.

And the best part? Out-of-pocket cost? ZERO. It was a muthahfuckin Hat Trick (for those who don't understand sports terminology, it's when a hockey player scores three goals in a game), muthahfuckers!!!

But there's more - I got a $10 gift card in the mail from Kohl's so I thought I'd see if I could find something for Aldigirl. I found a Ralph Lauren purse for $3.74, a wallet for $6.00, and a set of three little rings with pink stones in them for $2.00. I had to spend at least $10 to get the $10 off, so I ended up spending less than $2.00 out of pocket.

But then the purse looked a little bare, so I got a SnowFairy perfume solid from Squish and, the piece de resistance (yeah, I know it's supposed to have accents cuz it's French) - a cute little case from Claire's with four hideous colors of eyeshadow, three lipglosses, and MASCARA. Hee hee!!! I'll bet you anything she puts it on her eyebrows.

I was so bummed that I didn't get to witness Mrs. Aldi's reaction to the makeup, but R said she rolled her eyes or something.

I don't know if it's irony or coincidence, but the Aldis gave Beeb a purse for Christmas too. It's huge. It's zebra print vinyl with a giant pink bedazzled peace symbol on it. It's CRAZY. Beeb loves it.

But because I was home with sick Tito I missed our semi-annual church pilgrimage and the trip to Chez Inlaw, Christmas didn't really feel like Christmas to me. It was just like any other Saturday. I sat in bed next to Tito all day, which, in a way, was a gift to me.

More Post-holiday posts to follow...


Stickyfingers said...

Oh dude . . . that Thomas thing . . KILLER!

Carol said...

My uncle and his friend have an on-purpose crappy gift exchange at Giftmas. the one with the cheapest, tackiest present wins!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Thanks for the smiles...

turtlegirl76 said...

Oh that's so awesome. hehehehe

Don Newbury, said...

You're really a funny lady - keep up the good work and I hope the kid feels better

Batty said...

If you ever need me to pick up a cheap toy on sale somewhere in Germany... the kind where the parts were only available in Germany, and it's been unavailable for 10 years now... let me know. Next time I go, I'll find some super-duper surprises you can pass on.

SiressYorkie said...

I can pick ya up some good German porn, if you like. They stock it in the Esso up the road, right next to the Twix.

ZantiMissKnit said...

You make me wish for family drama and passive-aggressive relatives so I can learn to write hilarious stories about them. Almost.

I'm so glad that I can sit here and read it from far, far away and laugh with you.

Oh, and I had a moment when I thought of you and Puffinger, but it's really TMI so I won't spill.