Bait and Switch!

29 12 2010

Christmas has passed and New Year’s Day is quickly approaching. The remains of the turkey, or in our case, the prime rib, are slowly disappearing, along with the other leftovers. We find ourselves in the midst of bowl season and holiday basketball tournaments culminating in some type of athletic event on a daily basis. On top of that, it is still December, which means lots of good guy-flicks such as In Harm’s Way, Tora, Tora, Tora or Christmas Vacation. It is also a time for shoppers, with many heading back out to the stores to return unwanted or ill-fitting gifts or duplicates or to take advantage of the after-Christmas sales. It’s a risky convergence of events-the husband at home enjoying football and the wife wanting to get to the mall.

Usually, the husband has no desire to spend hours walking around a busy shopping mall while his wife makes exchanges or looks for next year’s center-piece. But that works out fine because the wife doesn’t usually want the husband tagging along with his long, loud sighs and constantly asking, “How much longer”. But occasionally, for whatever reason, the wife will want the husband to come along. Enter the bait and switch!

Here is how it works. My wife will ask me if I want to come along with her to the mall. Well, of course I don’t and she knows it.  Clark Griswold is just about to go on his rant about the Christmas bonus. So, she is quick to point out that she will be near Sears, and while she is exchanging one or two items, I can check out what’s new from Craftsman. She knows there are few places I would rather be than cruising the hardware and tools aisles at any place that sells hardware and tools. True to her word, she takes only a half-hour to make her exchanges. Then, as we are leaving the mall, she will mention we need this or that from the store. Oh, and we need to run by our son’s house to drop off something for the granddaughters. Then we need to run by Pet Smart because the dog is out of food. “And as long as we’re going in that direction”, she adds, “we can stop and pick up the laundry”. What starts out as an enjoyable thirty minute trip to check out the new line of saws, and perhaps, with a little luck, spend the gift card I got for Christmas, turns into a three-hour jaunt criss-crossing the county that ends up costing about $300. And I still didn’t get to spend my gift card!

Happy New Year! Stay on the couch!

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