June 3, 2009

People Are Spending Less This Father’s Day

The LA Times says that people might spend a little less on Dad this year.

The article quotes Tracy Mullin, president of the National Retail Federation: “Along with the usual ties, gift-givers will be looking into items that dad can enjoy with the whole family. Retailers will offer specials on new grill sets, sporting and gardening equipment and even electronics as the holiday rolls around.”

You know what I want? For you not to spend a lot of money on anything.

Getting gifts is great. But let’s be honest. I’m an adult. When I was a child, I got all excited about my birthday. Oooo! I’m getting presents! What’d you get me? Huh? Huh?

Now that I’m older? I’d rather save the cash.

Don’t get me wrong, family o’mine. I’ll be very happy with whatever you get me. But please don’t feel like you have to get me anything, especially something that costs a lot of money. My favorite Father’s Day gift so far is a bookmark I received from my oldest son back when he was in nursery school. It’s a print of his actual foot, laminated, with a little poem on it that I can’t remember at the moment. (Getting older sucks.) But even writing about it now, I’m getting a little verklempt. (“The Spanish Inquisition was neither Spanish, nor an inquisition… discuss.”) It cost nothing. (Well, there was tuition for the nursery school. But that wasn’t explicitly for the bookmark.)

As for the suggestions from Tracy Mullin of the National Retail Federation, let say this. Ties? Nah. Any tie that fits into the category of “I can afford this” is probably not worth buying. Maybe if it’s funny. But otherwise, anyone who wears a tie on a regular basis probably knows what he likes, and unless you know what that is, don’t get involved. Even if you DO know what type of tie dad likes, what kind of present is that? Why not get him some nice boxer shorts? That’s both lame AND non-traditional.

As for “gifts the whole family can enjoy” — what is this, Homer’s bowling ball redux? (For the uninitiated, in the “Life on the Fast Lane” episode of “The Simpsons”, Homer buys Marge a bowling ball, thinking that she will give it to him because she doesn’t enjoy bowling. She responds by taking bowing lessons from a guy named Jacques, with whom she almost has an affair. Good times, good times.) A “gift for the whole family” is not a gift for dad. Can you imagine if someone said the same thing about getting gifts for mom? There woud be protests. Mommy Bloggers would be up in arms. Public apologies would be demanded, and offered. An outcry not seen since that stupid Motrin ad. Getting dad a grill is like getting mom an iron. Try that one next Mother’s Day. Then take a picture of the iron-shaped imprint on your head and send it to me.

So buy dad someting if you want to but don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money. At the same time, don’t buy him something just because it’s cheap. If it feels like a cheap gift, if probably is. If you want to get him something nice without spending a lot, how about a day of rest and relaxation? Works for me.

Americans expected to scrimp a bit on Father’s Day | California Consumer | Los Angeles Times.

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