(What You Shouldn't Buy This Christmas)
Every year, I see Web sites filling up space by publishing holiday gift guides. And every year, I see parents standing in line outside of Best Buy trying to buy the items listed in those holiday gift guides. Coincidence?
I think not.
This year I offer the Web's only honest holiday gift guide as a remedy. It's list of really cool stuff and reasons you shouldn't buy that cool stuff.
The Nintendo Wii
Every parent I know is searching fruitlessly for a Wii. It's the cheapest game console on the market and boasts revolutionary controls that encourage players to actually move and exercise when they're playing games.
My family got one last Christmas. It took my kids about an hour to figure out that big, wild, vigorous movements (you know, exercise) can be completely replaced by small, controlled wrist movements. Luckily for my kid's health, they enjoy playing a virtual reality game called "Running Around" on a revolutionary game console I call "The Outdoors."
The Lowdown: The only exercise benefit you're likely to get involves standing in line at Best Buy.
The I Phone
I really, really want one of these $400 phones with the revolutionary multi-touch interface. I want one of these so much that I harangued my wife into getting me one for Christmas - and then I withdrew my request.
You know why? It's a $400 phone. And it doesn't actually do anything better than other, cheaper phones. It just does it cooler. It's like the high school cheerleader of phones.
Hmmmm. Now, I want an I Phone again.
The Lowdown: It's expensive and won't improve your life. It does have the ability to make early adopters look cooler than they actually are, but if you don't have one by now...save your money and buy another black turtleneck.
Big Screen Televisions
The old adage says it all: size does not matter. Unless you plan to sit more than 20 feet away from your television, a huge screen size is cool for exactly ten minutes - and then it looks like every other television screen.
The Lowdown: Bigger does not mean better. If someone tries to tell you different, they're either trying to sell you a television set, trying to justify why they bought one or compensating because of other, uh, size issues.
You realize that this is a scam right? Stores offer them because up to 30% of the money put on these cards is never used - resulting in pure profit for the stores.
The Lowdown: If you'd like to approximate the purchase of a gift card for a friend without actually buying one, do this: withdraw $100 from your bank account. Hand $70 to your friend. Light the remaining $30 on fire and hug while you watch the money turn to dust.