Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Thought That Counts

If it is the thought that counts, why do the thoughts of advertisements count more than the thoughts of those that know and love us?

I watched a very clever ad for JC Penny’s Jewelry yesterday(here it is on You Tube) in which men were put in the dog house over getting vacuum cleaners and computer memory and gym memberships for their wives instead of jewelry. Beware of the Dog House is culturally amusing and subtle. I didn't even catch on that it was an ad until I recognized the zoom shot on the "three-stone diamond necklace" in the photo of "the only guy who ever got out of the dog house."

Kudos to the advertising team who came up with it -- it's a great gimmick and taps into a philosophy that many women in our society buy into. He doesn't love me if he gives me a practical gift. And isn't that what we tell ourselves and each other? That the truly special gifts are the unnecessary, frivolous, debt-inducing ones -- you know, like she got. Isn't she lucky.

Back up a sec, Honey.
Step away from the consumerist message of spending and self-indulgence for a moment.

What if your vacuum cleaner was broken and you really valued having a clean house? You already have 14 useless diamond necklaces in your jewelry box and what you really need is a vacuum cleaner. Why should you be upset that someone supplies this need?

Perhaps your computer is running slowly, like mine does from time to time, bogged down by large files taking up space in the memory and you get exceedingly frustrated by it. If someone thoughtfully bought you a memory drive, would your first reaction be calling them a heartless beast? Personally, I thought that guy deserved extra credit for the fun "Thanks for the memories" note he added to the gift. That right there will get you out of the dog house in my opinion.

And Okay, eating a cookie while you tell your wife she's fat and-here's-a-thigh-master is completely insensitive and not to be tolerated. But..... If you overhear your spouse commenting on how much they’d like to get in shape and they wish they could afford a family gym membership – what automatically springs to mind as the perfect anniversary gift ? Chocolate and roses? Dinner and a movie? A little extra cholesterol and a sedentary activity? Hhmmmmm...

Putting some thought into your gift giving, I think, means getting something practical and needed. It means knowing that person, loving that person enough to know and care what their true needs are.

The best gifts are not one thought fits all.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree. I saw that same ad, and I had just about the same reaction. I'm not a huge fan of jewelry. Sure, it's nice from time to time, but I'd much rather have the great stove my husband just bought me, or the washer and dryer that I can fit even my king blankets without having to hear the off-balanced thunk-thunk-thunk! that sends me racing to the basement laundry room on a regular basis.


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