A Bad Idea for a Holiday Gift

You know all those seasonal stories in magazines are researched a year ahead of time. This is one of those. Here, as we launch into the season of frantic gift-buying, may we at Winslow Place tell you an inspirational story about the perils of late-night advertising?

One day in deep winter, we received a package. We weren’t expecting anything…

Peter loves packages.
Peter loves packages.
Knives? Who packs knives in a foam cooler?
Knives? Who packs knives in a foam cooler?
China's finest knives, KuchenStolz.
China’s finest knives, KuchenStolz.
Now the foam cooler is making more sense. Frozen steaks?
Now the foam cooler is making more sense. Frozen steaks?
Oh! Another Chinese kitchen accessory!
Oh! Another Chinese kitchen accessory!
Gourmet franks! What's not to love?
Gourmet franks! What’s not to love?
Stuffed Sole Fillets. Weird.
Stuffed Sole Fillets. Weird.

OK, now…if you have a television, and you watch it late at night, you by now probably know what this box is. We don’t, so we were very, very puzzled about this assortment of foods and objects all in the same package. We also had no idea who had sent it to us. So we just kept unpacking.

Life insurance ads? With the steaks? How morbid can you get?
Life insurance ads? With the steaks? How morbid can you get?
Conversation starter cards! Would you go back to life before cell phones?
Conversation starter cards! Would you go back to life before cell phones?
FINALLY, in the bottom of the box, we found a card.
FINALLY, in the bottom of the box, we found a card.

Our slightly demented friend Dan was responsible. His card said, roughly, “I’ve watched these ads so many times, I’ve always been curious about this. But I didn’t really want to try it myself.”

I think it must’ve been an ad along these lines, but more tailored for insomniacs. And Dan was probably imagining our unpacking it would go something like this.

We live in a kind of special little food bubble here. It was odd to read the brochures touting the “grain-fed beef,” and we spent a lot of time squinting at the ingredients on that stuffed sole. And the brochures were like the kind I haven’t seen since I was a kid, when we’d get them tucked in the Parade magazine. By moving to New York, I guess I thought bragging-about-grain-fed beef and life-insurance ads in fake old-computer font just stopped existing…but they’re out there, of course, and now they were in our kitchen.

We ate it all. The beef was delicious. Good little reminder about why people started feeding cows grain in the first place. The stuffed sole was just fine, and the stuffed baked potatoes were really good. The only thing that was gross were the “gourmet franks”–yes, the only thing I’d been excited to see in the box when we unpacked it. Apparently, “gourmet” means “squishy, with no snappy skin.” Shudder.

But, bottom line, even after we’d eaten everything, the best thing in the box was what we found in the very bottom.

DRY ICE! Also something I haven't seen since I was a kid.
DRY ICE! Also something I haven’t seen since I was a kid.
Sugar Duck says, "Wooooooowww..."
Sugar Duck was very impressed.

We can genuinely say thank you, Dan, for this strange and wondrous gift pack that provided such entertainment in the dreariest time of year. We just might not wholeheartedly recommend it to others.

2 comments

  1. cynthia kling says:

    this is great — oh the kind of stuff you order when you watch late night tv, almost like stuff designed for stoned peeps

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