Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One bad mom ruins the whole batch

This is a caution against daughterly thoughtfulness. It's just not worth the pain.

Today I was in my old bookstore, that glorious Gift Destination, with a friend, indulging in that most annoying of all bookstore customer activities: reading magazines at the back of the store (Very dicey behaviour, you know. When I worked there, we used to roll our eyes at the customers who built up a big pile of magazines. If you have the time to read it, buy it! heheheh). My friend was working her way through all the "mother" Chicken Soup for the Soul books, when she came across the following:

Inside it? This:

Have you connected the dots yet? I mean, beside the fact that a cashier accidentally gave store credit for a book that shouldn't have been returned because of the writing inside? Oh, yes, that. A mother receives a sentimental book from her daughter, a book of stories meant to "warm the heart and honor the relationship," with a nice little personalized dedication inside. But, mom doesn't want the sweet but cheesy book. She would rather have the $20 credit to... spend on coffee? The Kama Sutra? Chick-lit? Canadian lit? A book on knitting? Ciggies?

Thank goodness today is not Mother's Day. I don't think I could stand it. That would make this *really* depressing. I'd be tempted to lose faith in all mothers. I mean, gift returns are one thing. But returning a personalized book, thereby cheating a company out of its money? That's just tacky. Sometimes letting something take up shelf space is just more loving. And tasteful.

Oh, and don't worry Mom. I trust you.

EDIT: If you think I'm heartless, please read the comments. There's a bit more of an explanation there.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

May be "mom" returned it so she could spend the money on something for the daughter or heart surgery or to bury some loved one. I mean it would have to be really serious and important for a loving mother to do this. But may be, just may be, the daughter returned it after have a fight with mom and/or just needed the money?

Don't hate me for saying it....but there are two sides to every story. I like your twist because it has the greater impact while mine is "just normal."


Sarah O. said...

Thanks for the thoughts.

I hope it is clear that I don't know exactly what happened. I'm not relating an "absolutely true" story here - this is a hypothetical story, drawn from my experience and my imagination. That being the case, I don't really think I have to consider the decidedly un-normal suggestion that someone returned a personalized book worth $20 to a book store in order to pay for an emergency heart surgery! (Yeah, that's right, I still think my explanation is more likely! :)

Since this is a made-up explanation, it's just as possible I could have imagined that a daughter bought it for her mother, who, before the book could be given to her, died in a tragic car accident, and the daughter, struck with grief, decided to return the book to buy a bag of coffee beans, or a book by the mother's favourite author, to leave at her grave.

Except, I'm more of a cynic than a romantic, and that isn't the imaginary explanation that popped into my head. The post you just read is.

I can pretty much guarantee you that whoever returned the book (receiver or giver) did not have a receipt. Or (as often happens with Chicken Soup books) it was purchased a full year ago, and coming across it with a gift receipt tucked inside, the recipient thought, "I'll never read this, might as well return it." Both circumstances mean the returner only received store credit, not any money. I stand by my assertion that it is tacky and dishonest to return goods to a store that have been damaged post-purchase, no matter what the reason.

Finally, you hypothesize that "it would have to be really serious and important for a loving mother to do this." It is unfortunate that my post leaves the impression that I think this woman is a "bad mother." I don't. She may be a strong, supportive mother who has absolutely no appreciation for sentimental gestures. However, her relative goodness or badness as a mother has nothing to do with her relative tackiness in cheating a store out of its money, and in being unable to accept personal gifts graciously. If her daughter gave her a candle, I wouldn't be so sarcastic.

Lori said...

The comments are almost as good as the original post!!