Christmas Shopping Techniques to Avoid
By Jonathan Dao Sunday, 9 Dec 2007

What is today, the 9th? That leaves us less than 3 weeks until the Christmas Day. Now, I know the “spirit” of Christmas shopping is controversial in itself. Those scheming market ploys turning the entire holiday into an item and monetary focus and whatnot. I believe a man of eight bits said something to that effect.The thought counts, we all know this. But, there’s times when you’re still struggling to find out what the hell to get a pal of yours (also applicable to secret shizzie santa shopping). Other times, it might be someone who merely got you something before, and there’s that sense of obligation to return the favor. So if you’re going to take that step, here’s three things to avoid:

Using the “interests” on myface/spacebook/friendjournal/xanga as a Basis
You’d think this would be a great place to turn especially if you don’t know a person that well. Wrong! Three major problems lie within the items people list in their interest field.

First, too little information. One person might say they like heavy metal when they only like KoRn. Does KoRn count as heavy metal? See where I’m heading at? It’s too general and vague, and ultimately it’s up to your discrepancy on what you can infer. Throw in the fact that everybody has some personal definition, and you’re left in a big guessing game mess.

They like reading Harry Potter? Well who the hell doesn’t like reading Harry Potter.* The thing is, just from that bit of information, you can’t even tell if they’re a fanatic or not. Are they the type of person who didn’t mind reading it at a boring family reunion? Or were they late to the midnight showing of Order of the Phoenix because they were too busy trying to draw the line on their Dumbledore cosplay?

Second, too much information. If someone loves music, and their interest includes: KoRn, Muse, The White Stripes, Tupiac, Diddy, Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, anything gospel, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ayumi Hamasaki, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Avenged Sevenfold, Hardcore, Sisqo, George Michael, Tom Petty, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, Chamillionaire, all rock and country

What can you get out of that? You’re right, nothing!

Finally, outdated information. I have a friend that I know pretty well, the thing is he already has everything I can think of. He likes swords, so why not get him another one? Well, he already has 12. He has more video games than I can count. Ever since I helped him explore anime, his collection has nearly tripled mine. So why not browse his interests. Well, I’ve known the guy for a long time, and seeing some of the stuff surprised me. Tom Clancy books? Lord of the Rings? What the hell? He likes this stuff? Wait a second… oh yeah, that’s right. He hasn’t updated this thing in five years.

All right! There’s no other options left! I can find anything on eBay! All I can say is just be careful. I’ve had two pretty bad experiences using this.

Once, I bid on a guitar just because it was $.01. Surely, it would be impossible for me to win it. Days would pass, and another person would jump in on the last second. I mean, no one would let their item go for only a penny. Besides, I really didn’t want that guitar anyway. It was purple. But, whoops! I won the thing and what I didn’t check was the shipping price. $30. Still not a bad deal… I guess. Well… yeah, it was a really bad deal.

You would think I learned my lesson to read the fine print. Well, not quite. More recently, I screwed up on an Ipod purchase. I made sure to check the shipping. No way in hell I’d be screwed on something like that again. My bid for a 30G was just too good to be true: $28. I read the basic information: a little scratched, but in good condition. It even had pictures. I was pretty satisfied, and to my surprise, the guy ended the auction early. I was the victor! What did I win? An Ipod that doesn’t start up! I didn’t read the itty bitty piece he tacked on in the middle…

Participating in Black Friday
Well, it’s already passed, but keep this idea in store for the years to come. Let’s face it: the sales and mark downs are tempting. Too tempting. The problem with Black Friday is being wrapped up in the whole money saving bonanza.

Case in point: what did I buy during this year’s Black Friday? A blanket. It was $5 at Kohl’s. A maroon eight piece luggage set at Target. Why? Dude, it was only $50! Yeah, and I know many of you guys are out there for the DVD sales. I managed to pick up Domino, the Notebook, and
Guess Who all for the amazing price of $5 each.

Of course they had movies like 300 and Blades of Glory marked down, but I already bought those when they first came out.

Now that I have a blanket, a luggage set, and three so-so movies, comes the task of deciding the recipient. Oh wait, no one wants that stuff. So I guess it’s all for me. I forgot to keep a target audience in mind when shopping. That’s something that screwed me up in last year’s Black Friday too. I spent the entire time trying to get a 2G flash card. I went everywhere for that thing, and it was always sold out. I completely lost the notion that I was supposed to be getting things for other people. Oops.

*Actually, I don’t

One Response to “Christmas Shopping Techniques to Avoid”

  1. Zach Patterson Says:

    i hear you on the black friday sales.

    i usually end up buying crap i dont even need for anyone if i end up trying to take advantage of those deals.

    and as for ebay, i pretty much gave up on it a few years ago when some shit sent me a cd burn instead of a real game. fool me once…well, i wont wait to be fooled again.

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