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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Decision time now to find right gift for Frau

OK, it’s about that time: time to fish or cut bait; time to grab the golden ring; time to go for the gusto ... wait a minute, that’s a beer commercial.

I mean it’s time to get serious about buying THE present.

In years past I’ve been out there with those other miserable wretches on Christmas Eve, desperately scouring the near-empty shelves of any open store looking for that perfect gift that will get me through one more holiday.

I mean, it’s not like the Frau has everything. It’s that the rules of the game make it almost impossible to get the right item.

“I don’t need anything,” she says every year. “We bought that (insert piece of furniture, set of tires, air-conditioning compressor, flood insurance policy, laptop computer, new roof, whatever), let’s just consider that our present to each other.”

And I would do that except that I know wrapped boxes with my name on them will magically appear from nowhere to open Christmas Day when it is too late to find anything except what’s at the convenience store.



So, like every other year, I made my pilgrimage to the mall, where I wandered aimlessly until I stumbled across the food court and the lady at the Chinese place handed me a toothpick with a sample of honey chicken and I was hooked.

When I was in the mall, I quickly got that feeling of desperation, knowing the thing I was looking for was unlikely to be in the mall. I wasn’t alone. Stumbling through the mall I was joined by hundreds of others, all looking like something out of that zombie show on TV.

I can’t buy her clothes. They never fit and there was that terrible year I bought something from Victoria’s Secret that she wore once and then buried somewhere near where they hid Jimmy Hoffa.

I thought about jewelry until I stopped by a couple of stores and discovered that, even at 90 percent off, diamonds are not my best friend.

I stopped by the store that has all those fancy gadgets — foot massagers, audio speakers, combination hammers and wine openers.



I noticed this year they’re featuring a “spy drone.” It’s the same wireless-controlled toy helicopter from years past, except now they’ve attached a camera so you can hover over your neighbor’s window and pretend you are a government agent for the NSA. Interesting, but not for the Frau.

She’s not really into technology and still believes phones are there to make phone calls and not send texts or play video games.

I went into Macy’s, where I was assaulted by women dressed in black who were all armed with fragrances with labels like “Amour” and “Hot to Trot” or something like that.

After four hours I had no purchases and no ideas. Defeated, I left the mall figuring I still had a few days and knowing that if all else failed there was that rack of gift cards I’d seen in the drugstore.

This holiday spirit thing is getting tougher. I mean, all Scrooge had to do was get that prize turkey still in the shop Christmas morning. He didn’t have to worry about finding something for the Frau.

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