It’s the thought that counts, right? But what if no thought went into it in the first place? Whether it was something that showed a fundamental lack of understanding of your interests or personality, something the gift-giver obviously wanted themselves (the old Homer Simpson maneuver), or something that you could not use because it was missing some vital component, what are the worst or most disappointing gifts you have ever gotten, Christmas or otherwise? Or were you the bad gift giver? Have you ever traumatized or disappointed a friend or loved one with an awful gift?
I still remember the Christmas my brother and I got the original Playstation, then couldn’t play it for 2 months because it only came with AV plugs and we needed a co-axial cable. Then we finally got one, and realized we needed a memory card. Another 2 months passed before we could play Tomb Raider and actually progress (thank god we had Twisted Metal 2 also).
For years my wife’s family got her Bath and Body Works gift baskets, despite the fact that she crosses to the other side of the walkway to avoid their storefront in the mall because the smells make her gag. She would give 90% of the stuff back to her mother and sisters who got it for her, yet they kept doing it for like 3-4 years in a row.
I’m thinking about all this because my wife just came back from Thanksgiving with my Christmas gift from my brother-in-law and his wife. We talk about comics, video games, and anime all the time, and share a lot of the same interests. They should be able to pick out something I like based on the creator or character, or they could simply ask my wife what I am currently reading, what games I want, and they would actually know what she was talking about.
So what did they get me? A “mystery box” from a comic shop.
Basically one of those crappy loot crates, except without even an ostensible focus on one character or franchise you might like. The crap the comic shop couldn’t sell, so they stuffed it in a box where they can say “Over $50 in value!” and then probably charge $20-30 after years of gathering dust. This is extra irritating because my wife and I have already picked out his gift, it is nice hardcover collection of a comic series he has never read, but is 100% in his wheelhouse and we know he will love it. His wife is a little harder, which is why we will ask him if she will like something before getting it for her.
My box contained:
A Funko Pop figure of Armored Batman without cowl/helmet from the Dark Knight Returns. Since there is no Bat-logo on the armor and no cowl/helmet, this is actually just an “old guy holding a gun” figure. Its the least Batman-like Batman toy ever, it could just as easily be a toy of Cable from X-Force if you took off the cape. I also hate like 90% of the Funko Pop line in general, but this one really sucks (sorry Lyona! I would give this to you if possible!).
A two-figure set of Aquaman and Black Adam from Injustice. Why isn’t it Captain Marvel paired with Black Adam? Why do these little figures look so crappy? They are like old GI Joe toys.
A Suicide Squad movie keychain of a hideous cartoon-y/chibi style Captain Boomerang. Well, Captain Boomerang was the only part of the movie I kind of liked, so yay? I have put it on my keys semi-ironically, as a constant reminder of how stupid WB/DC are (when the best part of your movie is Jai fucking Courtney, and a character named Captain Boomerang only throws one boomerang the whole movie, you know you done fucked up).
Infinite Crisis Companion trade paperback. Alright! A collection of tangential specials related to a crossover I have never read and have a passing interest in at best!
Action Comics volume 5 by Greg Pak: Hey, something I will actually read! I quit buying this series after Grant Morrison left, but I heard Pak’s run was fun. Hopefully this book is free of crossovers so I can actually enjoy it on its own.
A comic from free comic book day, some paper Wonder Woman wristbands, and a mini-poster that the store would have gotten free as promotional material. This is basically packing material at this point.
At least I wasn’t there with them to open it, as the worst part of getting a bad gift is the Academy Award worthy performance you have to give pretending it doesn’t suck. Now let’s here about all you crappy gift experiences!