Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Shopping for Dad
Jennifer Flaten

We were out shopping. The ostensible goal is a gift for Father’s Day but things kept ending up in the cart that didn’t have anything to do with Father’s Day. Nope, I am quite positive a pedicure set or a package of Pokémon cards would not be welcome by dear old dad.

Although, I was getting desperate to find a gift, both Grandfather and Father are hard to shop for perhaps maybe, the pedicure set. No. Best put that back on the shelf.

Poor dads, it is simply very hard to shop for men. If they want a new (insert obsession here) they go out and buy it. Moms tend to think, “Oh it is so close to Mother’s Day, I will just let the kids buy me that new waffle iron.”

There is never a shortage of things to buy for women, my gawd. Just the jewelry possibilities are overwhelming. Not many men have a need for things like a watch, with a different colored band for each day of the week.

Women also circle things in catalogs and fill out online wish lists so that their clueless, well loved, but clueless, family members can shop for them. Men on the other hand, see an item think, “Hey I need a 3/8 inch wrench,” and buy it. I'll wait for Father’s Day is an idea that doesn't enter his mind.

This is why dads end up 52 BBQ sets. Really, you only need two: a good formal BBQ set and the one for everyday use.

Father’s day strikes fear into even the bravest shopping heart. Even women, who love shopping and could do it professionally, don’t even know what to get their husbands. Let alone the children, who figure everyone should be happy with a new video game; preferably, one that is on the top of their must have list.

Prior to Father’s day, these unfortunate family members find themselves desperately trolling the aisles of all the stores in the tri-state area trying to find something, anything the men in their life will like.

Don’t even suggest a gift card. Men hate shopping or at least the ones I know do. If you get them, a gift card they will tuck it into their wallet, you know the one protected by a steel bear trap, and leave it there for when they need something “special.” Uh huh, 10 years later when the wallet finally disintegrates and they must buy a new one they will find the gift card, long expired tucked into the bowels of their wallet.

Heaven help the dad or grandfather who shows even a remote interest in something collectable. The family will glom onto that and give them pewter frogs until the day they die. In fact, they just might bury him with his beloved pewter frog collection, not that I did that or anything.

I have exhausted every single useless, only rolled it out for desperate shoppers at Father’s Day, gadget known to humankind, a robot that opens beer bottles and doubles as a flashlight-get me two!

Now, I settle for something sweet, say a 5lb block of fudge. Yes, I know boring, but tasty. Who doesn’t like fudge? I know I do. Any maybe they will share.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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