High-tech gifts strike fear into the hearts of many

December 6, 2011

He’s making a list and checking it twice. We all know that refrain from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” No, I didn’t participate in Black Friday; I don’t even know what Cyber Monday means, and the only list I have is someone else’s I found in the bottom of my grocery cart. Yes, we are turning the corner for Christmas or holiday gift buying. It’s been an especially difficult season to find gifts for those of us who have teenage grandchildren. In this day and age of high technology, I’m one of those throwbacks who still longs for my electric typewriter. Teenagers used to consider you elderly if you used a cane; now if you are still using just a cellphone, it puts you into that category. Children often submit wish lists, which I think is a great idea. Once you get past the items like a Porsche and a one-way ticket to a remote island for their sister, you can get down to the business of trying to decipher the rest of the list.

My holiday list came from my grandchildren via email, which only meant one thing; the dreaded internet is where I will be shopping. Eventually I opened this document that looked like some kind of hieroglyphics written on the wall of an ancient cave, except there were no depictions of animals, which would have been nice.

Anyway, these items came with links to an online site that would let me purchase the item right there and then. I could tell this gift was not going to be anything as simple as something like gloves, extra large.

The problem is, once I moved my cursor to this site, well, first there was a lot of laughter coming from inside the computer, but then a warning popped up sending me to another site, because the computer had disabled something for my own protection, which it failed to inform me or my attorney.

I tried it again and another message popped up telling me that I didn’t listen to the first message and I was probably the kind of person who never listens or reads directions before putting anything together anyway and this behavior has been going on since I was in kindergarten.

About an hour later and a couple of dozen donuts washed down with 300 Advil, I finally found the right place and the first item, a video, displayed itself. I’m not saying it was a violent video, but I think the guy in mercenary fatigues hijacking a station wagon full of nuns was a sign that maybe another hobby might be in order.

Now the thing about buying things online is you have to put them in an icon that is called a shopping cart, which I think is a good idea. The only problem is I kept losing the shopping cart. It would totally disappear off the screen, which led me to believe someone either took it or I left it in a different aisle. It could also be that it tipped over from another shopper hitting it when I wasn’t looking.

Okay, so I’m not adept with this stuff, but I hate when the computer balks at my efforts and sends up another message that says, “We told you so and now that you’ve lost your stupid, stupid shopping cart, you have to start all over again like a little crybaby, because we know people like you have a brain the size of a Styrofoam peanut! Sit up straight and pay attention this time!”

So now I find the cart and get it loaded with items that are mostly duplicates, such as 46 purchases of the same video game because I don’t know how to delete them from my cart and I’m also afraid to make the computer any more irate than it is; the thing is probably armed.

But there is a saving grace when ordering gifts online. It’s even more difficult to figure out how to check out and pay for these items, ergo, eventually you will shut it down and go out and buy those gloves, extra large, in a real store. Good luck with your high-tech shopping.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.