Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Arbitrage

Christmas this year was quite the adventure. Around mid-December, Jeff and I were patting ourselves on the back because we had successfully persuaded the kids that they wanted four-wheelers for Christmas. Since their birthday was in October, it seemed like they had every last transformer, bionicle, and star-wars figurine ever made. Plus, they were at the perfect age for that wow-factor gift. You know, the one they will remember forever.

We influenced...and they took the bait. I didn’t feel too guilty doing this since every time I would ask Hayden what he was going to ask Santa for, he would sigh…a completely exhausting sigh…and say he just didn’t have time to go over the whole list. It was toooo long. After a few weeks of this we decided to take the bull by the horns and lead them into what they wanted.

So, everything was going as planned. We were going to get two Blue Yamaha Four Wheelers. There were dozens in stock at the local Wal-Mart, so waiting until a few days before made perfect sense because it meant less time to hide and conceal.

Then it happened.

Hayden saw a commercial for the Fisher-Price Power Wheels T-Rex and became convinced that he didn’t just want a four-wheeler, he now wanted the T-Rex four-wheeler.

No big deal, we thought.

Until Jeff searched every last Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us in the DFW Metroplex. No easy feat 3 days before Christmas. Every store was out of stock.

On a whim, I decided to check Craigslist, and sure enough there was one listed..."new in the box". When I met the man at his location, it became clear that he was one of those evil people making money on poor procrastinating parents (like us!) by buying up all of the most popular toys and charging double for them. The floor was lined with Wii’s and Ticklish Elmos and Bakukan’s (whatever the heck that is)…and there in the corner sat the T-Rex Power Wheels that I (Santa!) needed. But the man wanted a hundred extra bucks for it!

I refused and left, furious that people in this world are so awful. Who would do such a thing? I hoped right then and there that he would one day have a five year old that wanted the most sought after toy - - - and it would be impossible for him to find. Karma, I guess.

Jeff and I decided that we could manage our way through this. We had several options.

1) Buy both boys the Original Blue Yamaha Four-Wheelers and throw some dinosaur stickers on Hayden’s.

2) Buy both boys the Original Blue Yamaha Four-Wheelers and get Hayden on the technicality that he didn’t officially ask for the Dinosaur Four-Wheeler in his note to Santa. (My idea, but Jeff said this was cruel).

3) Buy both boys the Original Blue Yamaha Four-Wheelers and convince Hayden that the Dinosaur Four-wheeler is slow, and he doesn’t want it anyway.

We have a way of manipulating our kids, you see, so we of course chose the third option. We spent one full day talking to each other about how the four-wheeler that Davis was asking for was so much faster than the T-Rex four-wheeler that Hayden was asking for. It was probably discussed 6 or 7 times throughout the day and although we weren’t ever talking directly to Hayden, we knew his tiny ears were recording every word we said. We just knew we were making progress and any minute he was going to change his mind and ask for the Blue Yamaha.

But then, right before bed, we were once again discussing the amazing speed and agility of the four-wheeler Davis was asking for when Hayden finally just interrupted us and said,
“Yea, Davis’ four-wheeler is going to be the FASTEST, but mine is going to go RRRROOOOOOOOOAAAAARRRRRRRR!”

That’s when I knew we didn’t have a chance. About five minutes later I sent a quick email to stupid-buy-all-the-cool-toys-man (Dwight Schrute!) and started negotiating. We agreed on a price that was much more reasonable, but still about a $20 profit for him (UHH!).

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