For your amusement, two horrible and true stories:
1. So yesterday at work we had this gift exchange, white elephant...you bring in a gift for under 10 bucks, everyone draws a number and we all steal and end up with something. My first steal, I got a death star Lego, awesome, right? Well the problem is, I work with all IT geeks and it was a hot commodity so it was stolen from me in about 5 seconds. So my boss says, get the big one, everyone wants to know what is in the big box....So I grab the big box and open it. It is the most horrible, ugly stuffed sock, like a Victorian boot, a really skinny ugly boot with stuffing coming out of it and Christmas balls on top. It looked like it had been pieced together by a 3 year old with aunt Mable's stained table cloth as the material. Now, my first thought was I had been set up. In every other "white elephant" gift exchange, there is ALWAYS a gag gift. Like, one I went to had a recycled Barry Manilow CD and another had this horrible stuffed animal and whoever got it had to keep it on their desk for the year. But at first I was polite and nice, then everyone in the group starting joking around about it. My boss says hey I think that is part of my ex girlfriend. Another guy was calling it "witchy socky boot". Another girl said "I know what is coming back next year". So this confirms to me, it must be a joke. So of course I jump on the band wagon and say I will bring it back next year, yadda yadda yadda. After it was over, I actually had planned as a joke to give it to my mother in law, who either gets us really great gifts or really obscure gifts (like one year, she got chris a purple pimp hat for Christmas, yes she did). So I put it under my desk. About 5 minutes later this guy comes around the corner looking like a wounded animal and says "I will take that back if you dont want it because my wife made it". After my initial look of horror and suprise, there proceeded to be an awkward minute and a half of silence while I was trying to wrap my mind about the *right and diplomatic* thing to say. So I said very politely, sure, if you would like it back....and he grabbed it and ran away, although he did call over his shoulder and ask me if I wanted the air guitar in exchange. Uhm no thanks dude, you were already humiliated on your wife's behalf, keep your air guitar, you deserve it.
So I spent most of the rest of the day, feeling horribly guilty that I/we hurt his feelings. And on the flip side, I am happy just to not have that ugly boot. Which makes me feel more guilty of course.
2. OK story number two happened several years ago. I am an artist and I often will buy canvas at yard sales and garage sales to gesso over so I can paint on them. Hey, canvas is expensive....don't hate.
So I go to this church yard sale and I see these beautiful hand made canvasses painted with the most 80's delicious bubble gum pink and teal abstract art on them. My eyes light up and I ask the guy if I can buy them and would he take 20 bucks for the lot of them. He says oh wait let me find the "owner" of these.
So the owner walks over and looks delighted that I am interested in taking these off her hands. I am so excited and launch into a babbling diatribe about how I plan to gesso over them and paint on them and how canvas is expensive (I keep babbling here for a good 5 minutes). Then I notice Chris is standing behind her waving his arms and make the slashing the throat gesture. So like any other person that is oblivious to everything, I say "what are you doing?" to Chris. He smacks his forehead. We pay and grabs the canvases. As we leave, he says "that was the artist!!!" I smack my forehead and proceed to feel guilty. Although, in my defense, if you put your art out at a yard sale, it is fair game to be gessoed up and painted over....Next time, I just wont actually say that.