I get it.  Christmas is coming. There are cards and trees and tinsel and badly played tinny renditions of carols on every other commercial on TV. (It’s only mid-November, so it’s not /every/ commercial yet)

But that’s not all that different. Nor are the “buy your kids 12 billion things to show you love them” undertones anything new.

Yesterday, however, after driving 300 miles back from Dallas (I drove up there Saturday for my mom’s birthday), I flipped on the TV to veg out a little and relax. And the first commercial I saw?

Scruffy Dude: “Hand-made Gifts for Christmas?”

Dude looks at his smiling grandmother, sitting across from him at the table. Dude stands up and goes into the garage with the (rather nice) hand knit mittens she just gave him.

Scruffy Dude: “Who wants that? Why not buy your friends something they’ll really like.  Like a snowmobile. I hear you can get one cheap on E-Bay!”

<more e-bay paraphernalia, showing the Dude doing “fun things” with extremely expensive mechanical items out in the snow, Dude playing with expensive electronics. He’s wearing synthetic gloves.>

Scruffy Dude sniffs the mittens:  “Smells like church.”

<Cue E-Bay tag.>

Alright.  So E-bay takes pot-shots at Etsy. Great.

Just what I wanted to see after spending 25 hours over three and a half days frantically making some woollen winter things for my mother’s birthday (after she mentioned not having any before her move).

I’m sure every person who spends countless hours working on gifts so that they can be pushed aside in favor of shiny, “expensive” (previously owned/USED) things bought on E-Bay is just thrilled. I have enough of a time with gifts that I make for people. When you spend many hours working on something? Having that something get rejected … hurts. (Which is why some of my friends will not get knitted things. If I figure out that your reaction will be to act nice-nice and then shove it in a drawer? Nope.  No knits for you.)

Now, am I actually putting any stock in this particular commercial?

Not really, though (as I’m sure you noticed) I’m slightly peeved.

To be honest, it reads like E-bay is feeling threatened by Etsy’s handmade offerings, and the fact that the makers of said handmade items are choosing to sell them via Etsy rather than through E-Bay (which has kinda become an odd shamble of used items and then huge shiny stores selling all kinds of things at normal (or higher) prices).  Which, you know, whatever. If they’re threatened enough to take potshots at handmade items in order to shill their “Christmas Crap” campaign, they’ll just lose even more of their sellers to Etsy.

Still, though, I think the whole thing is misplaced and… well, not that funny.

Sure, I get that a new snowmobile is “more fun” than a pair of mittens. But you need mittens to ride a snowmobile without frostbite, and, quite honestly, I can afford to buy enough yarn to make some mittens (less than $20 even for REALLY NICE yarn).

TLDR version – Ebay is stupid, commercials are stupid, and having to put up with Christmas for three months every year is REALLY stupid.

Also?  What the fuck does “smells like church” mean?

Peeved at the TV
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5 thoughts on “Peeved at the TV

  • November 9, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I know what church smells like, can’t describe it. But a snowmobile isn’t it. It’s a stupid commercial just based on that line alone. I feel sorry for you guys south of the border. We don’t get in our commercials until late Nov/Early Dec. Either that, or I REALLY need to veg out more in front of the TV instead of pulling allnighters for NaNoWriMo. *meh*

    • November 9, 2009 at 10:36 am

      @Kris – The problem isn’t figuring out what a church smells like (though, honestly, I don’t think they all smell the same). The problem is what the hell that has to do with mittens and snowmobiles…

  • November 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I’d rather have a hand-picked, made with love just for me pair of mittens over some random stuff from eBay any day of the week. But I’m weird that way. My mother makes baskets (and often gives them as gifts) and though she’d never show it, if someone acted like they’d prefer something from eBay rather than a gift she put hours and hours into, she’d be pretty hurt.

    I’ve tried several times to learn how to knit, but I’m just really bad at it. All thumbs or something.

  • November 9, 2009 at 11:58 am

    QFT > “Which is why some of my friends will not get knitted things. If I figure out that your reaction will be to act nice-nice and then shove it in a drawer? Nope. No knits for you.”

    Personally, I would rather someone gave me a smile and a “Merry Christmas!” than some of the stuff I get. Rose-scented bath oils are an obvious sign of someone desperately fishing for a gift and feeling utterly at a loss for what to get me. I DO understand the pain and suffering of trying to gift all the people on your list so they don’t think you’ve forgotten them. I do. But I’d rather not have more “stuff” and I don’t wrap the entirety of someone’s feelings for me into a mass gift-giving holiday.

    Galadria knitted me a pair of fingerless gloves recently (I racked up enough points in her movie quote game to win a prize!) and I absolutely adore them. I use them really often, and she’s inspired me to try and learn how to knit myself.

    Although hand-made gifts can be inappropriate and have nothing to do with the receiver and their life/likes/dislikes, to say that a pair of hand-knitted mittens given to someone who obviously likes to play in the snow is somehow a disappointing insult makes my hackles raise, too.

    And furthermore, Etsy is fantastic. SO THERE, eBay! Take THAT!

    (Talk about tangents in comments. hoy!)

    And doubly furthermore, my favorite perfumer (hand-made perfumes by a single person working in a studio, GASP) has a perfume called Midnight Mass at Old St. Mary’s which is one of her more popular and beloved perfumes, and smells like a church (complete with wax and incense and old wooden pews).

    AND TRIPLY FURTHERMORE, to the selfish jerk who got those mittens in the commercial, they probably smelled like YOUR GRANDMOTHER, who loves you and slaved hours over those, and when she’s gone you’re going to WISH you had something that still smelled like her so you can remember what it was like when you were five and she hugged you hello so tightly that it made you giggle.


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