Monday, November 21, 2005

Parental guidance in gift cards

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I really am an old fogey, despite my pathetic attempts to reassure myself that I'm still semi-hip. But I don't know. I went to Sam Goody with my daughter on Saturday to get a music gift-certificate for her friend's birthday party. A gift certificate. Seems harmless enough, right? The girl behind the counter started to pick up a gift card with a dog in a Santa hat, but then asked: "Is it for Christmas?" And I said, "No, a birthday." And she grabbed a different card, one that ... Well. The card was glued to a larger carboard piece that folds up to make a nice little gift card presentation. And on this larger piece was a black silhouette graphic of a young woman rocking out. She had her punky-haired head tilted to one side and her chest positively thrust out on the other, so that when you look at this item your eyes immediately go to that part of her anatomy. Making this more disconcerting is the fact that the fold in the cardboard piece hit right across this area, giving the ... chest a rather sharp tip that looked like a, well, let's just say she appeared to be either braless or clothesless.

By the time I had adequately taken this little piece of artwork in, the girl had already encoded the card with my purchase amount and handed it to me with a receipt. I examined it as we walked to the car, and I examined it again in the car, and I had my daughter examine it, and I asked if it would make her uncomfortable to give it to her (male) friend. She finally allowed that it did bother her, although maybe because I was bothering her so much, and so I walked back into the store and told the kids behind the counter that I had a teen-age girl giving this to a teen-age boy and the design was just too suggestive. They looked at me as if to ask if the caves were cold and the dinosaurs scary back when I was their age, but they exchanged it, and we got the dog in the Santa hat. It's bad enough that so much of the music being sold to kids these days has an X rating. Can't the gift cards at least be rated G?

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