AND THE WINNER GOES TO…

Every year, the company my husband works for holds a free Christmas raffle and barbeque. Around three hundred people are invited for a snag and the chance to win one of forty prizes. Over the fifteen years that he’s worked for this company, my husband has won five times. He’s brought home a weird little tea set, a couple of hampers, a bottle of wine and a six-pack of beer.

This year’s event was a quiet affair due to the pandemic. Not many people showed up for the barbeque and the winners of the Christmas raffle were drawn on Zoom. A total of fourteen winners won and was asked to present at HQ to select from the pool of prizes. Luckily, my husband’s name was drawn from the list.

“Hamper, hamper, hamper… Oh, there’s a coffee table designed by some interior decorator.” My husband read out the list of prizes available for the taking. It didn’t take long for me to exclaim that we NEEDED a new coffee table, especially if was going to be free.

Thirty minutes after my husband left to collect his prize, we heard the beeping noise of a reversing delivery truck in our driveway. Out stepped my husband and a delivery driver from the company. Both men struggled as they lugged the great big and seemingly heavy package off the truck and into our hall. While my husband returned to get his car, I dragged the table towards the living room to unpack.

The damn thing weighed a ton. You know that feeling just before opening a present? That anticipation and excitement? The thrill of opening something that might be the best thing in the world? That’s how I felt. Gosh darn it! This wasn’t just a coffee table. My husband had texted to say that it was an original creation of some fancy pants interior designer/decorator/Australian celebrity and it cost the company $10,000!

Did I know this famous person? No. I had to Google the name and apparently, she’s a well-known judge on a few reality TV shows. Have I watched these shows? No. BUT… I did hear this wood creation will feature in an upcoming TV show. So now I own a piece of reality TV history. Yep! Me… a proud(?) new owner of a $10,000 celebrity-made coffee table.

My husband’s company spent $10,000 on the table, of which was donated to charity. It was shipped from Sydney to Melbourne to be a part of the company’s Christmas raffle. It made me think this table must have been something pretty special.

Pulling off the bubble wrap, I could see the underside of the coffee table hadn’t been sanded or polished.

“Still good, still good,” I thought. “Probably part of the charm. I’m so out of trends, this is probably what the kids want these days.”

I almost pulled a hernia turning the table over; that was how heavy it was. In fact, I’m sure I popped a haemorrhoid for my efforts.

You know that feeling you get when you open a present and it’s not what you expected? That sinking, deflating balloon feeling? Like you wanted the newest Nike shoes as a kid but instead your parents got you a stinking pair of school shoes for the new year? That’s how I felt setting my sights on the coffee table.

Wanna see what a $10,000 coffee table looks like?

KN J Tales and Snippets

It kinda looked like someone had taken a chainsaw to a random tree, slapped it together and called it a day. That’s probably unfair of me. I’m no designer, and I certainly have no skills in woodwork so I shouldn’t really comment. BUT, as a consumer… a cheap-ass/will-accept-free-things one, I have eyes and some debatable taste. I don’t much like the unfinished look with the natural tree grooves and lumps. Call me a simpleton.

My husband won’t let me eBay it because he claims it’s a great talking point. Plus he likes it, warts and all. My brother-in-law thinks I should tweet at the designer and TV show when it makes an appearance. Other people who have seen it, claim they love it! So we’re keeping it.

I guess it’ll grow on me… eventually. For now, it sits by the window and doubles as a very expensive children’s clutter table.

You know when I said we NEEDED a $10,000 coffee table? I think we NEEDED a hamper more.

Copyright 2021, KN J Tales and Snippets. All rights reserved.

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DON’T TAKE THOSE FREEBIES!

I love freebies. It’s like winning the lottery, only with better odds. It doesn’t matter if it’s a free sample of haemorrhoid cream that I’ll never use or a brochure that will end up in my recycle bin. If it’s free, I’m attracted to it like a fly on a turd. It’s revolting, shameless and somewhat disturbing.

So as a professional freebie collection agent, I’ve learnt a few valuable lessons that I can impart.


Bananas, Nutella, Eggs, Weetbix, Milo, Vanish

I recite the words over in my head.

Coles Little Shop. The current bane of my existence. How has my life become so consumed by this madness?

I curse the marketing gurus at Coles for their ingenious campaign. Damn these super addictive gimmicks! It certainly hooked, lined, and sinkered the crapola out of me. I’m the perfect gullible marketer’s wet dream.

I went from casually getting a few collectables with the weekly groceries to religiously scrolling advertisements on Gumtree for trades and cheap buys. Never in my life have I dreamed of meeting a total stranger; another grown-ass adult, to trade or buy promotional toys. Yet, that’s exactly what I do, under the pretense of getting the whole collection for my five-year-old daughter.

I’ve secured a transaction with someone called MeiMei. She claims to have all six of my… ahem, I mean my daughter’s missing items at a steal. Is it too good to be true? Possibly.

As I park out front of the address MeiMei texted me and stare up at the massive apartment building, I reconsider the rationality of my actions. I have the kids in the car. No one knows I’m here, not even my husband. MeiMei could be an axe murderer.

I quickly rectify the situation by texting my bestie.

“Hey, I’m at x address. If I don’t text you in fifteen minutes, call the cops.”

There. Problem solved.

“Mummy, why are we just sitting here?” asks Mandy.

“I’m just thinking,” I reply. I text MeiMei to let her know that I’m outside her building.

My phone dings. ‘Meet me at Room 42, Level 2.’

The theme song to Jaws starts to play in my mind as I conjure up a whole host of bloody and graphic scenarios of my death. I get a cold sweat; my hands are shaking. I can’t do this! It’s crazy. There’s no way I can escape with two kids dragging me down!

“Mummy! Are we getting the Little Shop!” demands Mandy, exasperated with my procrastination.

I text MeiMei to meet us downstairs instead. It seems like the most sensible thing to do.

“Ok. I want you to lock the doors when I leave and call this number if anything happens,” I tell Mandy.

Mandy looks worried so I try to placate her. “It’s ok. Nothing will happen. I’m just being extra cautious.”

I mentally facepalm myself for putting us through this unnecessary danger and stress. I’m certainly not in the running for the Mother-Of-The-Year Award.

I gape at the person who just exited the doors. The Asian woman is wearing a pair of six-inch black platform pumps, bright pink bike shorts and a pink feathered crop top.

Woah. She can’t possibly chase me down in those heels. I’m probably safe.

“Here, you check,” MeiMei says. No introduction. No pleasantries. Straight to business.

I feel like I’m in a scene of Breaking Bad. I glance about nervously, hand over the cash and grab the goods before rushing back to the car. I forget to say goodbye; I’m that skittish.

I chuck the goods over my shoulder to my daughter and laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

Two weeks later…

I grab my foot and wince in agony. I look down at the offending object. Stupid Little Shop miniatures are strewn all over the carpet like landmines waiting to exact maximum damage.

Life lesson: What began as a freebie ended in unnecessary anxiety and a miniature Dettol bottle embedded into the sole of my foot. Nothing is truly free.

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