Normally my blog posts are reflective. I ruminate on a situation I went through; analyze what I did (or didn’t do); why it happened; and deduce lessons learned that I can hopefully apply going forward.
This blog post will be more topical. I’m going to see if I can apply lessons that I already know to a new situation that I’m currently knee deep in.
My immediate family doesn’t exchange Christmas gifts (we call it The Gift of No Gift), but my extended family has a “grab bag” gift exchange. It’s basically a 4-step game:
- Everyone buys one gift for less than $35.
- When it’s your turn you can select an unopened gift or steal an opened gift from someone else.
- If the gift you selected is stolen, repeat 2
- Continue until all gifts are opened
Pretty simple, right? You bring one gift and you leave with one gift. In between, calamity and entertainment ensue.
There are two types of gifts that show up in the grab bag pool:
- Overly pragmatic items that you might use every day – like a shower radio or reading lamp
- Useless white elephants – like a Magic 8 Ball or Rubik’s Cube
This year, I decided to go with the latter and bought a Chia Barack Obama on Amazon.
My older sister was hosting Christmas this season, so I had the gift shipped to her home in Washington DC. Or so I thought…
Much to my chagrin, Chia Obama showed up on my front door in Portland, 2,500 miles away from where it was supposed to be.
All of my options at this point suck:
- Complain to Amazon & get a new Chia Obama delivered to DC – Not possible. The package couldn’t be delivered in time for the Christmas
- Take Chia Obama with me on the flight to DC – $25. There was no way I was going to pay $25 to check a bag to bring a $20 gift with me. To hell with that! I take pride in packing light and carry my luggage onto all flights. (Seriously…I took a roller bag and backpack on a 2-week work trip to China.)
- FedEx Chia Obama to DC – ~$30. See #2. Why would I pay $30 to ship a $20 gift?
- Return Chia Obama – $7. OK $7 is more reasonable, but it still annoys me that I have to pay 35% of the cost of the gift to get rid of the stupid thing. Plus, then I have to go out of my way to the UPS Store on an obnoxious little chore. Thanks, but no thanks. It’s just not worth the time and effort.
Instead of choosing one of those four bad options, I’ve decided to keep Chia Obama and run a personal experiment: to see if I can develop a green thumb and embrace Portland’s gardening culture.
Let me preface this by making it clear that I am NOT a gardener. I have not had a live plant in my home since 2005. That poor thing withered away under my care, dying a slow death. Since that time, I dress up my home with fake plants
But hopes spring eternal, and Chia Pets are the equivalent of Color by Numbers. If I can learn how to grow a Chia, maybe this silly goof will become a Badge of Honor Mistake like my murse. At the very least, I think growing Chia Obama’s unkempt afro will be worth $20 of personal entertainment, well really $13 ($20 – return shipping costs).
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
Thanks for reading.