It’s never too late to regret a Christmas gift whose inherent flaws were kept hidden at the time of unwrapping only to manifest weeks later like a time-delayed disappointment bomb.
My wife, amazing woman that she is, graciously loves whenever her Christmas gifts from me include nice things for around the house — decent decorations, holiday-themed towels, kitchen utensils we needed, replacements for currently underperforming appliances, fruit-themed stuff ‘n’ things, and so on. In May we’ll be celebrating ten years as first-time homeowners and we hope to have our place looking like a Real Home before we turn 80. It’s a slow, deliberate process, we tell ourselves.
Our latest need: glassware for storing leftovers — sturdy, pretty, withstands tomato sauces without collecting stains in the colors of all the foods it ever contained. We had one small set already, but occasional turf wars between her lunches and mine could be a source of mild annoyance at times. By my math, twice the bowls and lids would mean half as many containment conflicts. We’re nothing if not peaceful folks who like living in peace by being peaceable and whatnot.
My son is thankfully past his school fundraiser years and no longer has catalogs to bring home for his parents to foist upon coworkers in hopes of selling overpriced gewgaws from which the school will get to keep up to .005% of the proceeds to buy a new towel for the football team. But I have a buddy at work with two boys still trapped in that economic paradigm. He dutifully upheld his end of the system by bringing all the brochures to work; as a loyal coworker, I flipped through the pages and chanced upon the bowls that just so happened to strike me as useful. Money was exchanged; goods were delivered by Christmas; and now it’s probably already time for his boys to start selling chocolate bars so that the next time their basketball team goes out for pizza, they can splurge on cheese dip for the breadsticks.
The bowls worked fine for us on our steady refrigerator shelves and counters. We don’t tend to stress-test our possessions, but maybe that’s a flaw we need to reconsider. This week I borrowed the largest bowl pictured above to hold a leftover melange of homemade crockpot chicken-‘n’-noodles, from which I strained out all the broth and replaced with unused Super Chunky Mushroom Ragu sauce from another, unrelated meal. Because sometimes the lunches I take to work are like little episodes of Chopped in which our refrigerator provides my basket ingredients and I create curious hybrids that would earn me such a skeptical look from any rational judge.
Hours after I got to work and prepared to microwave myself a makeshift masterpiece, I opened my lunch bag and saw to my chagrin that meanwhile behind the scenes, things had fallen apart. I was not happy. More to the point, I was not happy that I’d gone to the trouble of presenting these aesthetically crafted objects to my wife in the name of Christmas Spirit and happy homeowning, only to find out too late that they were born defective on the assembly line. I pride myself on being the one relative she can trust to give her non-terrible Christmas gifts. I’m just glad they fouled up on me first instead of on her.
I was so annoyed that after lunch I emailed my wife the following creative apology to let off some steam and to warn her these bowls will need to stay on house arrest and never be trusted in motion again. And the next time a loving parent tries to sell me anything at work besides Girl Scout cookies: hard pass.
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SUBJECT: PRODUCT SAFETY NOTICE
Dear MRS A GOLDEN,
Our records indicate you were the recent recipient of Acme School Fundraiser Products item #91215225251521, NICE GLASS TUPPERWARE WITH CHEAP GREEN LIDS. It has come to our attention that this item should be subject to a recall due to the following potential hazards:
* LID MAY NOT SNAP SECURELY OR PREVENT SPILLAGE OF LIQUIDS INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SPAGHETTI SAUCE
* CONTENTS MAY LEAK OR GUSH OUT, DAMAGING OR DISCOLORING ANY ADJACENT OBJECTS
* SPILLS MAY CREATE TOTAL MESS REQUIRING SEVERAL NAPKINS AND MINUTES TO CLEAR
* DAMAGE CONTROL MAY WASTE VALUABLE LUNCHTIME MINUTES AND INTERFERE WITH TIME INTENDED FOR RELAXATION
* PRODUCT MAY BE DUMB AND STUPID AND WOULD BE MORE PUNCHABLE IF IT HAD A FACE ON IT
In light of these findings, Acme School Fundraiser Products strongly recommends that you immediately discontinue use of NICE GLASS TUPPERWARE WITH CHEAP GREEN LIDS outside the home, limiting its functionality to non-transportable use only, such as in refrigerators or on kitchen counters, taking proper handling precautions to avoid further damage or distress.
MRS A GOLDEN, Acme School Fundraiser Products thanks you for your time and hopes NICE GLASS TUPPERWARE WITH CHEAP GREEN LIDS does not discourage you from using our products in the future or in trusting relatives who gift them to you because they SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME.
A. Nonymous Intern
Acme School Fundraiser Products