For those of us involved in crisis preparedness sales, being tossed into the frothy stir of mall-churned humanity is not as scary as it could be. You see, there's a certain familiarity in the chaotic spirit of it all, since we've been slogging through our own rush of frenzied buyers for months already.
We get busy when folks out there startle to the lateness of the hour, realizing they've been letting their household readiness slip to seriously vulnerable levels. Hurricane Katrina was perhaps the biggest wake-up call of many lately.
Our sales tend to ebb and flow a bit, but they are not so much determined by the calendar as by unexpected developments piercing the collective human experience.
Hurricanes, terror strikes, disease outbreaks, geo-political upheavals ... those are the types of triggers for OUR long hours as we work to provide customers with some sorely needed peace of mind. Believe me, business has been good lately ... and unfortunately that means, a lot of folks out there have been losing sleep over their tiny place in the world.
Scary times or not, I'm always the guy who buys the most practical gifts under the tree. I CAN do the romantic and whimsical shopping when it's called for, but I really excell at the stuff that will actually get used ... OK, or might get used in the right situation.
Example--the Christmas of '99 is memorable for some reason by those in my family because they every year remind me that I purchased EVERYONE some top-quality long underwear that year--and heavy wool socks. I still think they were well-considered gifts, but I guess that is yet lost on some of these people. (Y2K DID have the imminent potential to invite Minnesota winter into our homes, you'll recall.)
Another family favorite was the jumpstart/emergency power units I gave those with cars a couple of years ago. OK, so the smiles and hugs were not the most enthusiastic ... but at least I'm true to myself. I tell you, I love giving "practical." And I always hope to get it in return.
At least, they all know by now not to be expecting bling and zing from me ... it's going to always be fine and solid contributions to the goal of maintaining a productive environment where "the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."
Seriously, if you're reading this, you're probably hoping you'll get something useful this year. You're the type who appreciates sensibility all around you, since you strive to develop that in yourself and in your household. So you might also be wanting to give sensible gifts.
I say, go for it. You never know when that gift, even if it's shoved into a drawer and almost forgotten at first, could turn out to be the most important gift ever received ... under the right circumstances.
Or what the heck, say the circumstances never warrant your genius for anticipating disaster, and life continues to deal you aces ... that can't be a bad thing.