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Friday, May 24, 2013

Making gift registries is not as fun as it sounds

Making a gift registry, whether for a wedding or a baby or whatever else people have decided is registry-appropriate these days, sounds like it should be fun. I mean, it's like making a big Christmas list of cool stuff that you want, and that friends and relatives are excited to buy for you! How could that not be fun??!

But here's the thing: it's not fun. IT IS NOT FUN. Allow me to rant about this, if you would.


Before our wedding, I got down to the business of making us a wedding registry. I decided to make it on because I am way too lazy to actually go walk around a boring department store with a pricing gun in hand, and because Amazon lets you do a "universal registry" where you can add anything for sale online from any store anywhere. 

Just normal stuff, you know, the kind of stuff every married couple should have.

Amazon also suggests a bunch of stuff for you, which is great when you get registry writers' block and need some help! Thanks, Amazon!!

Like these fancy napkins and placemats. Oh what, you thought your guests were fine wiping their faces on paper towels? YOU F**KING ANIMAL.

But quickly, I started to realize that this wedding registry was really just a catalog of my failures as an adult. You see, I had been living in an apartment since the age of 21, and Jesse and I had been living together for two years. Since we hadn't managed to die yet, I figured that meant we pretty much had everything we needed so this whole registry thing would just be a list of neat house toys that were more wants than needs


I thought I was a functioning adult with a functioning home -- one that maybe needed an upgrade here and there, but was otherwise totally respectable.


As soon as I started clicking around through Amazon's recommendations, my world started to fall down around me. Here I thought we had this well-put-together house with everything we needed ... but then I was forced to notice that my cutlery drawer featured a cracked plastic utensil holder with four different categories of utensils in it: the ones I stole from the university dining facility, the ones I bought at IKEA four years ago that were the cheapest ones they had, the ones I bought at CVS (yes, the drug store CVS) to augment the ones I stole from the university dining facility, and then a mysterious fourth category of forks, knives and spoons that I did not recognize and whose origins would never be known to me (I mean, obviously I stole them, but from where?!). Okay, no big deal -- register for some decent flatware.

Then I noticed Amazon was recommending that I buy sheets. Oh, what, the mismatched set of fugly $25 sheets we've been sleeping on for years won't do? Yeah, I only owned one set of sheets -- I had to be smart about doing laundry to make sure that the sheet set could be stripped, washed, dried, and then put back on the bed in the space of one day. The fitted sheet didn't match the rest of the sheets because the original fitted sheet ripped years ago. Okay, so ... I guess I'll register for some sheets.

And then this continued and continued, as I looked around my home and realized all the things I'd been half-assing all this time. Instead of an end table, I had a cardboard box with a sheet over it. We had so few bowls that I often hand-washed and reused them while I waited for the dishwasher to get full enough to run. Several of these bowls were also stolen from the university dining facility. No big serving bowls? It's okay; dinner guests won't object to the cooking pot itself (which cost $9 at Safeway and was made of such thin metal that its favorite pastime was burning everything) being plopped down in the middle of the table. 

I never realized what absolute crap my home was until Amazon started reminding me that maybe, just maybe, I should consider owning a few things that WEREN'T stolen from a university dining facility. Amazon wanted to put this as gently as possible, but Amazon was worried about me. Amazon wanted me to have the best of things. For god's sake, you're opening bottles of wine with a corkscrew on a keychain that you got for free at a parade. It's time to grow up, Amazon said with a knowing look.

"Won't this be better ... for everyone?" Amazon asked, patting me gently on the back. And then my eyes welled up, remembering the time I wasn't strong enough to manually rip the cork out of a bottle of wine with no leverage and Jesse wasn't home and so the bottle of wine sat on the counter with the keychain corkscrew hanging off of it and I couldn't drink the wine and I was so upset I actually cried.

So I faced my failures and made the registry, and people bought us things from it, and then I used some of the money we got at the wedding to buy more of the stuff from the registry, and now we have like four sets of sheets AND I haven't cried because I couldn't get a bottle of wine open, AND we don't have anything that was stolen from the dining facility except for one bowl and some cups but I really like them so shut up about it okay?


So now we have a baby coming. And that puts me squarely back into registry land. This time, I at least went in KNOWING that I had nothing that I needed. But did that make me feel any better?


Babies need so much shit. Like, they need so much shit. And thus, your baby registry isn't a fun list of presents you hope people get for you -- it's an enormous shopping list of crap you need to make sure that you own before the baby is born. I mean, sure, you could get by without SOME of the stuff on the registry, but not much. As my brother-in-law said, "yeah, you don't NEED to have a wipe warmer ... if you like hearing your baby scream like a fire alarm every time the freezing cold wet wipe touches her, which is like 25 times per day." So really ... you kind of do need it.

But herein lies the real problem with baby registries: most of the stuff you really need is either boring, disgusting, or both. "What?!" you say, incredulous. "Shopping for babies is the best! I don't even HAVE a baby, and I still always wander through the baby section of Target!" And this is true. But tell me this same thing that always happens to me when I look through baby registries doesn't always happen to you as well:

If someone buys me a Snotsucker, that is 100% absolutely what their thank-you card is going to say.

Bras touch people's boobs, y'all. Are you really that close of friends/family? Boob-touchingly close??

They're not tampons, dipshit. They're more like ... maxi pads. For your boobs. Derp.

So then you decide to venture off the registry altogether, because none of that shit was inspiring you. And you find this:

And this:

And then this:

So then you eventually calm down, go to the baby shower with your little gift in hand, and two weeks later you get this in the mail:

Trust me, the baby is going to thank you for that Velociraptor fossil someday. Unless s/he's some kind of a f**king asshole.

Meanwhile, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that one of the blog's loyal readers has come up with a novel solution to the "this is a boring registry gift; I'm going to get them a remote control helicopter instead" problem. Yes, yes, everyone WANTS a remote control helicopter (OMIGOD I WANT ONE SO BAD NOW), but if they're sleeping on fugly-ass $25 mismatched sheets (of which they only have one set), then maybe a set of sheets is the more reasonable gift. BUT SHEETS ARE BORING! That's why instead of just giving your friends a set of sheets, you give them a FORT BUILDING KIT!!!!! 

The kit instructions are here, and she's got lots of other kickass gift ideas on her site too, so check it out if you're agonizing over what to get for someone who isn't into fossils (assholes, basically). She's at

Now, Anne, if you wouldn't mind ... could you maybe come up with a product I could use to trick people into buying me boob-maxi-pads? I'd really appreciate it. I already blew my whole baby budget on reproduction dinosaur fossils :-(



  1. OMG Jamie, I laughed so hard at this post I almost wet myself. God you are so fun to read and help me pass the boring time at work I'm having these days. Thank you so much. And believe you me, when your baby is all congested and sick and cranky you will thank god someone sent you a snotsucker ... it just won't be me.
    Cheers - Helen & Don ('cause yeah, he won't send you a snotsucker either).

    1. LOL I'll put Don down for the breast milk storage bags, then? :-P

      Even as I was clicking "Add to Registry" on these things, I was thinking "do I really WANT someone else to buy these for me? Am I going to judge the shit out of the person who thinks this is an appropriate gift?? Because I kind of think I am." Those will definitely make for the most interesting thank-you cards, though. Maybe seeing what I write in thanks will be motivation enough for people to buy me the really weird stuff!

  2. We're getting you a SnotSucker. And you can never have too many boob-maxi pads

    1. hahaha now I'm just imagining that because of this post, I'll get like 10 snotsuckers and then I'll have to be all like "hello, I am here to return these 9 extra snotsuckers that I received." And the clerk will look at me in confusion, desperate to understand why everyone I know was SO EXCITED to buy me one :-P

  3. I've GOT to stop reading your blog at work. I almost spit coffee all over my keyboard. Can totally relate to this post! :D

    1. The really terrible people are the ones who are married/have kids and have done the registry thing but are like "I have no idea what this chick is talking about; I LOVED registering for gifts!" TAKE YOUR PERFECT LIFE AND YOUR NICE SHEETS AND YOUR FOSSIL COLLECTION AND GET OUT OF HERE!!!!

      Haha glad to know you've shared in my pain! :-D

  4. "hello, I am here to return these 9 extra snotsuckers that I received."

    Please, please God, please let this happen. I need to read a post about this sure to be incredible return counter exchange!

    1. Just think of all the extra fossils I could buy with my snotsucker money!!! If I get 423 of them, I can return them all and BUY THE T-REX SKULL!!!!!

      (shut up IT'S FOR THE BABY)

  5. Haha, I would buy you a breastpump bra XD Go ahead and judge me :P Maybe boob maxi pads would be easier to mail to Washington though..

    For the record, I never went through the whole registry thing with my kid, and so we never had a wipe warmer, and I don't actually remember whether she screamed at the freezing cold wipes or not XD

    And as for cutlery, nearly 30 years into being married and (possibly) being functional adults, my parents still have mismatched cutlery, including some from my dad's university years that he cherishes like heirlooms XD But then again, we Finns are known to be frugal to the point of obsessiveness XD

  6. Given your affinity for dinosaurs, and laughing, you ABSOLUTELY MUST I COMMAND IT, like the following page -
    Yes, I understand it's for a Best Western. They have dino jokes. Daily.