Steering clear

Steering clear

My gift list doesn’t include automotive gadgets

By Jennifer Hadley 12/12/2013

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There are very few areas in which I’m anything close to qualified as an expert. I know what I know, and I know that what I don’t know is infinite. I also know that the word should makes me gag when I hear it directed toward me. Case in point: When people tell me I should take the freeway instead of side streets when I mention I’m going somewhere. It’s different, of course, if I’ve asked for directions. But, by and large, I feel pretty comfortable in planning my routes around town all by my big-girl self. 

It is with that record of success in being a female that I feel I might be able to help out when it comes to holiday shopping for women. In short, if you’re shopping for a sister, an aunt, a girlfriend, wife or mother, and she has not specifically asked for an automotive-related gift, she does not want one. If you get her one, she may even cry about the gift later, and I speak once again from two recent personal events.

My boyfriend had told me a few weeks ago to be on the lookout for a present he’d bought me. Day after day I waited, wondering what on earth he would have gotten me out of the blue. It wasn’t my birthday, but hot dog, was I excited. Finally came the morning, when he texted to let me know it would be delivered that day. On pins and needles I waited, and then tore into the box when it got here.

It was a Sirius satellite radio, the kind that mounts on your dashboard. Suffice to say I was surprised, but not because I wanted a Sirius radio for my car. Rather, I could not understand why on earth he would buy such a thing for me. I tried to imagine his thinking when buying me the radio. I’m guessing it went something like: “Her CD player in her car has been broken for more than a year. This will be a nice treat for her.” 

Thoughts such as, “Why on earth would he think I need satellite radio?” were quickly followed by thoughts like, “Oh, my God, another gadget I have to learn how to work?” and “I’m going to have to take this thing out of my car every time I park so no one breaks in.” 
He and I had a huge argument that he was not privy to, since he was at work and I was alone, but one during which I actually shed tears. Fortunately, I had the foresight to call his best friend, explain that it was a super nice gesture, but I hated the radio and the last thing I needed was another distraction while driving. But how could I tell him that without hurting his feelings?

His friend gave me some solid advice and my boyfriend handled the rejection of the gift remarkably well. It was an impulse buy, he said, and it was no big deal to send it back. I was feeling like the two of us were really learning how to communicate. Yee-haw.
Two weeks later, he comes into my home office and says, “I got you a present.” Once again, I found myself delighted by his thoughtfulness. He hands me the box, and it is a dashboard mount holder for my iPhone.

“You can mount it to see the navigation easier,” he says proudly. I tried to gently explain to him that I never need navigation since I’m only driving about 30 miles a week. He counters with, “It will keep your phone from flying all over the car when you drive.” I came back with, “My phone is in my purse, and because I take side streets everywhere, and the speed limit is generally less than 45 mph, it isn’t flying around the car as often as you think.”  

Dejected, he walked out of my office, saying he would take it to work and give it to one of his friends there. I kicked myself for not calling his friend again for advice. I came off sounding like an ingrate and I made him feel bad for trying to do something nice.
I can’t change that, so I’m aiming to be helpful to you fellas this holiday season. Therefore, please take it from me; unless the ladies in your life have requested something specific for her car as a gift, steer clear of that idea. 

Contact Jen Hadley at jmhadley624@yahoo.com.

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