How To: Advanced Tips for Getting the Gear Gifts You Really Want
Tony Sculimbrene 10.29.13
Fellow gear fiends, we are approaching a critical time of year, a time when your gear dreams could come true or be dashed against the rocks. You could get that scope or knife you’ve been pining for since SHOT Show, or you could get the dreaded package of Gold Toes. It is time, gear fiends, for us to employ all our skills of persuasion, all our talents of subtle suggestion, and all of our shameless begging to get what we want.
For a general approach to this topic, consult this article I wrote a while ago. It has tips for getting gear off-season, but as the holidays loom on the next page of your desk calendar, we need to go from basic training to advanced tactics. It’s time to pull out all of the stops and take no prisoners. You need that 1,000 lumen flashlight, and you need it badly.
Getting an Oxford button down instead is not only wasteful, but it means that’s another $40 you don’t have available to spend on your Photon Beast when the time comes.
Tip #1: Order 1,000 Catalogs Online
Spyderco gives catalogs away, and even mails them to your address. So do Filson, Benchmade, and Kershaw. Surefire has great PDFs. Cold Steel makes catalogs with copy as ridiculous as their meat murdering videos, but catalogs are important. They provide ideas and lots of information for your significant other. As they roll in, leave them everywhere – in the kitchen, in the dining room, and drop a few in the bathroom. Hell, if you’re really intent on getting something, bust out the Sharpie and circle the “it” item in the catalog. Then leave it open or, better yet, crack the spine to the important page. Eventually your significant other will get the hint.
Tip #2: The Classic Home Screen Swap Trick
Remember in The Christmas Story when Ralphie, desperate for a Red Rider BB Gun, dropped an ad in his Mom’s Look Magazine and then tucked the magazine on her bed? This is even better. Go to your significant other’s computer, load up the Spyderco Techno’s product page, and then set it to be his or her Home Screen. Subtle, right? They log on to find out what happened in the world and instead of their normal CNN home page they get a glimpse at luscious Ti goodness in pocket knife form. Brilliant.
They might come to you howling in protest, but remember two things: the point was made and message received, and these darn computin’ machines have a mind of their own (the editor should know, he wrote the book on them). Apologize and tell them that something must have happened when you were looking at the Techno on their computer and that you’d be glad to change it back. Then set it to the ZT 0560’s product page and be ready for the next round. This trick only works twice at the max, though, so put those things you really want up.
Tip #3: Checklist It
Everyone understands the grocery list. Especially with things crossed out. You’re still looking for those damn green chiles that should be in the Mexican aisle but for some reason are in the canned goods aisle. The unchecked things stick out like a sore thumb. They are beacons to your eyes. Use that.
Make a checklist with a bunch of stuff and cross out all of it but one or two things. Make those things the things you really want. Then leave the list in the same place that your significant other leaves other such lists, like the grocery list. Even better, drop it next to your Honey Do list and then the pangs of guilt might spur a gift purchase from your checklist.
And if you really need to draw attention to the list, ask for it. “Hey, have you seen my Gear I Really Want and Need Checklist?” You might get an untruthful “No” but again, you have driven home the point.
Tip #4: Contextual Begging
You’re on the phone and talking just loud enough for your significant other to hear. Think of it as a chance to put your begging into context. The conversation goes something like this:
“Man, [insert buddy’s name here], whew! Remember last year, out on the hike? Yeah, yeah, the time you were caught in that bear trap and used your Leatherman Charge TTi to extract yourself? Remember that? That was amazing. Its so cool that you could do that with the same tool that you used to save your buddy’s life when you both in Afghanistan. Man that Leatherman Charge TTi is one heck of a tool. Sure, [insert buddy’s name here] I remember the time you used it to open the can of beans when we were camping and lost all our food. That Leatherman Charge TTi really saved our lives. I am so impressed, given the very reasonable price. I wish I had one. No, no keep your Leatherman Charge TTi, I know you have bonded with it, given all it has done for you in the many years of service it has provided.”
Just don’t let your significant other catch on to the fact that you are not really talking to anyone on the phone.
Tip #5: The Lavish Tit for Tat
I mentioned this in the basic skills article linked above, but the Tit for Tat is amazingly effective. In this most crucial of times though, you need to bring out the big guns: the Lavish Tit for Tat. Beyond that you have but one final option: the Blue Box Tit for Tat. I will cover both here.
Once have you placed the hint, you need the spur to buy. There is no better spur than guilt. Guilt is a powerful motivator. Ask the nuns that were forced to deal with me when I was a second grader and a real PITA. Guilt always works. It’s why your mother uses it.
So you have laid out the hints and now you up the ante.
In the case of my wife, I order something from Boden and have it delivered on a day I know she’ll be home first. The distinctive polka dot package instantly tells her I got her that thing she wanted. After the package is ordered, I up the ante even more. I’ll call her to tell her there was a package delivered and that she needs to ignore it, knowing full well that this would basically compel her to look at it and she’d know what it is from packaging alone.
In cases where that might not be enough, you need to bring out the biggest of the big guns for the female significant other: the Blue Box Tit for Tat. If you really want to guarantee you get what you want — if you need, for example, a Field Grade Bodega — use the Blue Box Tit for Tat. Blue Boxes come from Tiffany and virtually every woman on planet earth knows the gift by that box alone. If a Blue Box of jewelry size arrives, that Bodega is as good as yours.
Careful. Don’t leak these tips. Your significant other might catch on. Or worse yet, use them on you. Filson bags are distinctively marked as well.
Oh, and good luck.