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Much-needed exchange
December 26, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

The gift-giving winter holidays are officially over which can only mean one thing — it’s time to take back all the bizarre reindeer sweaters, redundant pre-packaged flask or flashlight sets and “A Christmas Story” DVDs and go get what you really want. No need for yet another cheese board or scarf? Get thee to the return and exchange line pronto.

While you’re at it, there’s plenty of other stuff in the world worth trading in although some might question how much value they actually hold.

For instance, can we trade in former basketballer-turned-even odderball Dennis Rodman and his bromance with Kim Jong Un because frankly it was always ill-fitting? Actually, let’s just give him outright to North Korea, complete with a big fat bow. We could instead stick him in the closet with all the other unwanted junk like that Salad Shooter or the fake parakeet that sings but why take up the room? Besides if Kim doesn’t appreciate the gift it’s pretty clear what he’ll do with it. Just ask his uncle.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is too easy a target and obviously nothing more than a gag gift. Save him for next season’s white elephant exchange.

Credit card security breaches can go back, too. I’m not sure how exactly we return this; ironically, some refunds require a merchant to swipe a consumer’s card again which we all know — and yes, Target, I’m talking to you — might not be the smartest idea at this particular point in time.

Let’s go back to cold hard cash just like that $5 bill grandma used to slip in the holiday and birthday card no matter how old you got or how little that fiver could buy anymore.

I’ve been trying to exchange real shows for anything of actual value for more years than I can count but just like the Strawberry Shortcake cereal my childhood self once begged for (and got one Christmas — thanks, Grandma! Better than a $5 bill), the masses tend to prefer saccharine over something more fulfilling. Of course, if patriarch Phil Robertson’s goose continues to be publicly cooked, A&E may return “Duck Dynasty” for us. Too bad the network has no say over the Kardashian clan and the like because even the most generous recipient can do without hearing more about Bruce Jenner’s trachea and Kanye West’s delusions of self-grandeur.

Also put in the return pile the “legitimate rape” spouting Republican politicos, NSA spying, the California Public Utilities Commission’s mixed messages on Pacific Gas and Electricity’s trustworthiness, drones, George Zimmerman, the majority of unsolicited “selfie” portraits floating about and bizarre new flesh-rotting street drug Krocodil. Although that last one might ensure not having to buy the recipient a gift the following year. Users don’t seem to last that long.

That fake interpreter from Nelson Mandela’s memorial can stick around a while. Just like that Kung Fu Hamster a few years back, he’s silly and it’s hard to believe anybody spent quality money on it. But hey — at least it brought out a few laughs.

Multi-vitamins and antibacterial soap can go back if recent reports are true that they do very little for one’s health. Maybe the refunded money can go for booze and e-cigarettes instead.

But the biggest thing to return is the draining holiday shopping season itself. After weeks of crowds, spending and headaches, nobody really needs to keep that around.

The only problem with hauling these things back is the very good chance nobody will accept them, gift receipt not withstanding.

Oh well. Guess there’s always regifting next year. As with life, in news everything old is eventually new again.

Michelle Durand’s column “Off the Beat” runs every Tuesday and Thursday. She can be reached by email: or by phone (650) 344-5200 ext. 102. What do you think of this column? Send a letter to the editor:



Tags: return, mdash, might,

Other stories from today:

Letter: Leaving the pole bare
OP-ED: Hoping for rain not a winning state water plan
Letter: Draper seeks Six Californias

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