Christmas bonus – some restrictions may apply


If I designed that sign I wouldn't have split "apologize" and I would have put a space in "thank you." That's why I'm worth the big bucks.

Ah. What a dilemma. What to get the employee who has nothing?

It was mid-2011 and my wife’s employer had already announced there wouldn’t be any Christmas bonuses. A few key people were laid off and replaced with fresher and more inexpensive ones. (Good management is hard to miss.)

And yet, when Christmas rolled around, management had one more surprise up their sleeve. Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas bonus, although, in this case, interpretation of the word “bonus” can be a wee bit tricky.

It was a little something that made my $50 Walmart gift card look like a gift from the Gods.

Can you even guess what her “bonus” might be? Close your eyes and try to imagine it before reading further.

My wife’s Christmas bonus was a book. On the front it proudly proclaimed that it would help you save thousands of dollars.

Yes, it was a coupon book.

The back of the book even contained one of my favorite phrases of all time. “It’s a win-win for all.” Isn’t it sad when your employer has a low opinion of themselves? I mean, don’t try to shield us from the glory of your magnificence or anything. It’s a gift. Be sure to tell us how you shine with awesomeness!

Even I had never heard of such a thing. I was impressed. They had managed to make a $50 gift card to Walmart actually looks good. I knew that took no small amount of skill.

I leafed through the book. It offered discounts on hearing aids, the gym, a sewing and quilting center, Segways (I shit you not), dog grooming, a local motel (when you want to get away from it all), a bucket of “range balls” at the golf course, window tinting, a fucking tanning salon, and, of course, a few restaurants.

I was impressed. They knew us better than I had ever guessed. They knew us enough to offer very little that we actually desired. Well played!

Out of curiosity, I grabbed a coupon for a restaurant we actually liked and checked out the fine print. It offered a whopping $5 off. Holy shit! Five whole dollars? Wowie! By Grabthar’s Hammer – wow, what a savings!

Nay, they opted to stay away from traditional savings like, “Buy one dinner and get another of equal or less value – FREE.” Something like that would be dangerously close to having actual value. Or even the eminently lame, “Buy one meal and get the second half price.” Which, in my neck of the woods, we call a 25% discount. It still works dramatically on the weak-minded.

Let us break down this coupon, shall we? As always, they seem confused by the word “any.”

  • $5 off any purchase (but only on purchases of $25 or more). Thank God they added “or more.” Otherwise our options for savings would be extremely limited. It’s hard to spend exactly $25.
  • Good only on Monday through Thursday. Oh yes, our Christmas bonus shouldn’t include the days we normally like to go out. We are only worthy enough for the “off” days.
  • Good only “4 p.m. to close.” Good gravy, they even want to dictate the hours we can eat. Control freaks.
  • Not valid on alcoholic beverages. Shit. There goes my reason to live.
  • Not valid on to-go orders. I honestly can’t figure this one out. Why in the name of Zeus’ butthole would they actually want to increase the length of time I’ll be in their business? They must have a death wish.
  • Coupon cannot be combined with any other offer. Now they’re just repeating shit they’ve heard elsewhere. Fools.
  • And, for the finale, there’s an expiration date one year hence. Better get on enjoying your gift. Don’t delay or it’s worth nothing, sucka!

Now, for the record, I wish to officially state I am expanding my New Year’s resolutions to a total of two. Like my hero, Don Quixote, I am on a quest. My quest is to find another Christmas present that comes with as many restrictions at this coupon book.

Be of good cheer! If I complete this quest you’ll all be getting a gift from yours truly. Wish me luck!

Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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