Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After Gift

Christmas, like no other holiday sets up up for so much joy, or for so much room to be disappointed. There are almost always high points and low points, hopefully more of the former than the latter. This one was no exception.

Walker has generally been the easiest of my children to shop for. His list was ever expanding and negotiable, and with few exceptions, I could buy a huge pile of plastic stuff half price on Christmas Eve and he always seemed happy with whatever Santa brought. Except this year.

Walker's journey down memory lane into his childhood has had me searching on Ebay for toys that I probably threw away or sold for fifty cents in a garage sale many years ago. The only affordable “collectible” I could find in what seemed like mint condition for a toy from 1984 was a Ghostbusters Ghost Zapper. It is essentially like a flashlight with a disc that projects pictures of six ghosts on the wall of a darkened room.

When the Ghost Zapper arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the good condition of the original box, essential to the quadruple value I had paid for the thing. The ad on Ebay had made no mention of any parts missing. You Ebay buyers and sellers out there probably know that the description of the item is a serious thing. You have to read every word, check the ratings of the seller, etc. Sellers generally describe every possible defect to avoid returns or the ever dreaded negative rating.

Walker opened his package on Christmas Eve, and was initially delighted. But a minute later, he said, “Didn’t it come with stickers?” As per the first item in the instructions, he was looking for the Ghostbusters logo decals to apply them. We looked through all the packaging materials, and indeed there were no stickers. “It’ll be okay,” he assured me. He hates to see his mama upset about anything as much as any kid I’ve ever seen. We moved on to other gifts, but the Ghostblaster was his main gift, and was ever so slightly tainted.

I wrote to the seller, who offered a small refund, which I refused and let him have a lesson on how to write a description. He offered a mild apology, but there was no way to make it right, or so I thought.

This morning, Walker proudly showed his new toy to his speech therapist, carefully enunciating “Ghostbusters” with his recently acquired “r” sound, and as I darkened the room, he demonstrated for us how it worked.

That was when I noticed that the toy now had stickers on the side and commented. A closer look revealed that they were scotch taped on. “Where did you get those,” I questioned, surprised and kind of pleased. At least I was until he told me had cut the box up to get the symbols. I guess it is okay. He’s happy, which was the whole point of the gift, and I’m not likely to auction his toy off anytime soon, but damn I wish I’d bought one without the box, but with the stickers for half the price.

I’m thankful for my inventive little guy who found a way to make his gift all that he dreamed it would be. I hope I always remember that happiness is what you make it.


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