Shopping for anyone from a different culture is tricky.
Shopping for your in-laws is tough.
Shopping for your Chinese-American in-laws?
You’re fucked worse than The Martian.
I’ve written before about how difficult it was to get gifts for Andy’s parents. The nicer the gift, the more Sunny was likely to return it, insisting that we should save our money. She wouldn’t accept an exchange or a credit, either. Sunny would demand that some poor clerk dig up our original credit card number and return it on our credit card.
And if the beleaguered cashier couldn’t find our credit card number? Sunny would call Andy and ask him for it.
We sent flowers next. Sunny complained that they were expensive and didn’t last.
Those were acceptable. Or so we thought.
Then we found out that Sunny was refusing delivery of the plants.
We gave up on plants. Once Baby D was born, I sent baby pictures, often in pretty frames. Sometimes I added preschool artwork. When he was old enough, I made sure he wrote notes on the most expensive, elaborate cards I could find.
Delivery was never refused on those, at least.
A few weeks ago, I reminded Andy that he needed to send his mother a Christmas gift. “Especially this year. She’s all alone. No one can even visit her because of COVID.”
“Don’t we have any school photos of Dashiell?”
“The kid didn’t have any school, how the hell would we get pictures?!”
“Couldn’t we get a photographer—”
“It’s too late, and a photo shoot is too risky anyway. Maybe a Harry & David basket of pears and apples since she doesn’t like sweets?” I suggested.
“Can’t send fruit to Hawaii.”
“What about a cheese and meat basket?”
“Makes her gassy.”
“Wait! She drinks wine, right? You can send wine through Harry & David now!”
“Yeah, but you can’t send wine to Hawaii, honey.”
“Ugh, you can’t send ANYTHING good to Hawaii. But…what if we got it delivered from a local liquor place? Remember how my brother just sent you that special bourbon through that Drizly on-demand liquor service? Can you do that?!”
Andy whipped out his phone and scrolled for a few tense minutes before shaking his head. “Doesn’t extend to Hawaii.”
“Surely now, with COVID and people quarantining, especially in Hawaii, surely SOMEONE has created an alcohol delivery service for Honolulu at least. Keep searching!”
Andy did. He searched for days, checked reviews, and made phone calls. Eventually he found a service called Kakaako Wine that not only delivered wine, they even added “local delicacies” and prettied the booze up in a gift basket.
Andy placed his order a few days ago. Then he sweated and fretted: “What if she doesn’t like it? What if…she refuses delivery?!”
“Call her,” I told him. “Call her and tell her you are sending a basket and they’ve already charged you!”
I don’t know if he called her or not. But here’s the text I got December 23rd: