The Father’s Day Blitz

Electronic Junk

With less than a week to go until Father’s Day, the ridiculous parade of allegedly dad-focused marketing is already well upon us.  On the way to work this morning, I heard a countless number of commercials trying to convince me to buy my dad a new cell phone.  On TV, I’ve survived a constant barrage of pleas to pick up new flat-screen sets, stereo equipment, and various implementations of carpentry hardware.  Online, it’s been cameras, camcorders, USB memory sticks, hard drives, and all sorts of other computer gadgetry.

Each holiday it gets worse.

I’m not against the idea of getting someone a thoughtful gift, either.  I think that if your dad has been pining for something for a while and you’ve got the means to get it for him, then maybe you should.  But isn’t the whole idea of the holiday lost when you’re stuck in some infinite loop of trying to one-up last year’s gift with something more and more expensive and outrageous?

The idea of buying someone a cell phone as a gift is utterly absurd to me.  A cell phone is a personal thing that you should shop for yourself, since you’re the one who’s going to be using it most of the time.  Not only that, but if the gift receiver doesn’t have a cell phone already, he / she’s going to be stuck with a new monthly bill, thanks to your thoughtfulness.

The notion of gifting a new television is just as bad.  As if people need another $1,000+ added to their burgeoning credit debt.

Since when did the idea of showing your appreciation for someone include buying them a menagerie of electronic gizmos?

While retail world is busy buzzing in peoples’ ears about its newest pile of shiny garbage, I’ll be taking a quiet trip up to the country to my parents’ house.  I’ll probably end up wrestling with some technology anyway; I hear my dad’s been having some computer problems.  But I think that he’ll appreciate the help a lot more than being saddled with an unwanted new cell phone.

Unfortunately, the balance of the entire universe will be thrown off anyway – because for Mother’s Day, I only sent a card this year.  Sorry mom!

Image courtesy of Creative Recycling


  1. PickleMan - Over a year ago

    And to think that they are just people, trying to make a living…

    For me, TONS of advertising…crude advertising…makes me NOT want to buy something.

  2. RevJack - Over a year ago

    This is your Dad and I demand that you get me the $1000 electronic gadget AND the new cell phone!! Oh, and when you come up you can work on my computer too….thanks!!

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Hey, we have a guest appearance from my dad!

      Yes, I will fix your computer when I come up there. Or at least try. As for the other stuff… I can help you pick something out. That’s good enough, right? Heh heh. :D

  3. RevJack - Over a year ago


  4. xot - Over a year ago

    This year’s Father’s Day is really sucking for me. There was a time when I could get my dad a nice tool, but as he’s gotten older, he’s collected every tool he could ever need, and he doesn’t use them anymore because of his age. Then I could always count on a book or crossword puzzles, two things he really loves. But in the last couple years he’s pretty much gone blind and can’t enjoy those things like he used to. I’ve been giving him lots of music lately, but I don’t want to do that again. I’m considering audio books but they are so hit-and-miss in terms of quality. I want to do something nice for him, give him something he can enjoy for at least few days, and I don’t really know what. It’s heart-breaking seeing your folks grow old.

    Yep, you can always count on me to cheer things up around here.

    1. RevJack - Over a year ago

      xot….if your Dad is anything like me, and I bet he is, the only thing he probably wants to do is hang out with his son for awhile on Fathers Day and to heck with the presents….

  5. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

    Is that actually Fred’s Dad? Or someone pretending to be him?
    I’m confused. :P

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      No, it’s actually my dad. :D

  6. kc lc - Over a year ago

    So… vendors are exploiting a holiday for commercial benefit? I’m shocked… shocked to find that capitalism is going on here!

    Fred said “A cell phone is a personal thing that you should shop for yourself, since you’re the one who’s going to be using it most of the time.”

    You’ve never given your girlfriend perfume? Or something personal, that only she wears?

    Anyway… I don’t mind commercialized holidays. It might be different if we all gave our loved ones more gifts at random times throughout the year. But most of us don’t.

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Hey, I don’t have that much of a problem with people trying to sell products for a holiday. I know that it’s a good retail opportunity, and times are tough, so it’s more important than ever to get the sales up. But I still think it’s ridiculous to consider a cell phone purchase or a TV for such a holiday here you’re supposed to show appreciate for your parent. And I get sick of the barrage of commercials.

      You’ve never given your girlfriend perfume? Or something personal, that only she wears?

      Sure I have – but I secretly made sure she’d like the scent first. Us guys have our tricks, KC. ;)

  7. kc lc - Over a year ago

    Well, I’m glad to hear you haven’t become Ebenezer Scrooge. ;-)

    I wasn’t arguing with your issue against cell phone gifts — just with your suggestion that gifts shouldn’t be personal items. Frankly, personal items make wonderful gifts, provided they’re given by someone close to you.

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      I agree, personal gifts are good… I think my generalization was a bit too broad on that one.

      Cell phones are an easy target, because the newer they are, the more advanced they get… and I just can’t see many middle-aged people using the more complicated phones. Not very comparable with other personal gifts like perfume though – so good call. :)

  8. PickleMan - Over a year ago

    It really depends what type of phone you get…I mean…I don’t think there are that many people that would be unhappy with an iPhone, but they should at least be able to choose what carrier…

    (and don’t mention ‘unlocking’, because there are a vast number of people who can’t do that…)

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      I’ve seen older people using them, but I disagree with that PickleMan – I think the iPhone would be either completely confusing or just wasted on someone who isn’t into new technology.

    2. PickleMan - Over a year ago

      *coughs very loudly* Then sell it!

      Well, I’m not into old technology, but a computer from the 80’s would be cool

  9. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

    Wouldn’t that make the gift-giver feel bad?
    That the gift that they picked out for that person, to show how much they appreciate them (in a small way), gets sold?

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Probably, yes… if the selling was done indiscreetly. To be honest though, I wouldn’t expect my parents to not understand a new phone like the iPhone; in fact, I’m sure they’d understand the thing perfectly well. The thing is, I wouldn’t consider myself a very good gift-giver if my gift came with a $90 / month price tag for the receiver. That’s terrible!

  10. PickleMan - Over a year ago

    Ah…that bill…But what about an iPod Touch[?] (I do not do very well with Apple Products). That is jailbroken, and has some phone app[?]?

    1. PickleMan - Over a year ago

      Well its finally Father’s Day…

      Happy Father’s Day!

  11. desertdweller - Over a year ago

    My family and I cooked breakfast and lunch for my dad. From what I can tell that is more than satisfactory for him.

    To be quite honest I don’t like the idea of expected gifts, as in birthday or christmas gifts. If I buy a gift I want it to be sometime the recipient doesn’t expect it, ya know? I find it more and more awkward to buy gifts for my friends as we get older. This past year I’ve paid for two friends meals, and webhosting for one year for another’s website. I’m running out of ideas. :(

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      I’m sure your dad appreciated the meals, desertdweller. As for your friends, they’d better be showing their appreciation too, or you might just have to start giving them cards (with nothing but ink inside). ;)

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