I am clawing my way through the holiday shopping. Gordon spent the day sending corporate gifts. After much shopping, I bought this yarn kit for the one gift I was responsible for. I think the recipient liked it. 🙂
Now it’s gifts for the family. When the kids were little, it was toys. When they were teenagers, it was clothes and makeup. Now they mostly want money, but wrapping money and putting it under the tree is silly. I need to buy some cosmetics and clothes and… hell if I know what to buy.
At least Gordon is easy. I buy him action figures.
Speaking of cosmetics, there is a really good series on Netflix called Broken and one of the episodes examines the bootleg cosmetics. There is this vicious cycle between the influencers, people who promote make up through tutorials, on social media and the cosmetics industry. The cosmetic companies purposefully create a limited run of their products, knowing that the demand will be much higher. The influencers promote the product, everyone goes to look for it, and it sells out in a record time, which creates a bit of a hysteria. Then they get the product back in stock, but again in a limited quantity and again it sells out at record speed, because if you don’t hurry, you might miss it. This is great for the cosmetics companies’ bottom line, but it’s a blatant manipulation of the consumer.
So suppose you want Charlotte Tilbury eye shadow palette, but it’s sold out. You look on Amazon and you find it at a discount from a third party seller. You get it, put it on your eyelids, and then your face blisters. You bought a knock off masquerading as the real product. Most of the knockoffs are produced in China in unsanitary conditions, and when they were tested, people found surprising ingredients. Carcinogens, superglue, and my favorite, horse urine.
Horse urine. Like how would you even do that?
Amazon doesn’t care about this because they get commission off each sale. Other places to never buy brand cosmetics: Ebay, Wish, Etsy, and Alibaba. A lot of Etsy sellers buy product on Wish or Alibaba and then resell it at a profit.
So here are some listings for fake products. Do not buy these, or horse urine on your face might be the least of your worries.
Jenner birthday collection launched in 2016 and it had a very limited run. A single lip tube from Kylie retails for $29.00, and this person is selling the entire 6 item kit for $28.99. There is one review, and in the answers, where someone asked a question about the authenticity of the product, a consumer straight out warns, “NO it is not! I ordered this a few weeks ago.”
Here is the listing for the fake Polo Black cologne.
Looks good. Says Ralph Lauren on it. But why is it so discounted? Scrolling down, there is a slew of 1 star reviews, which all say that the cologne doesn’t last. Here is the best review of the bunch.
1.0 out of 5 starsSCAM ALERT
January 17, 2017 Size: 4.2 Fl Oz Verified Purchase
Do not buy this! I checked the batch information with Ralph Lauren. The bottle I received was manufactured in 2012. Cologne has a 36-month shelf life. Pay the extra and get the real, unexpired stuff from Ralph Lauren. The scent lasts all of ten minutes with this old bottle because the cologn deteriorates over time.
There you go. Someone bought an expired batch of cologne from Ralph Lauren and is merrily selling it online for a profit.
Prominent cosmetics companies have a vested interest in making their products as safe as possible. Some people still get rashes, because one can’t account for every skin type, but there is a world of difference between manufacturing standards of a legitimate company and some person who is cooking it up for pennies. If you get a chance, I highly recommend watching the episode on Netflix.
So if you are like me and you are shopping for cosmetics or perfume, or really anything else that goes on your skin or skin of your loved ones, I would recommend purchasing at respected cosmetics retailers, like Ulta or Sephora, or buying online directly from the manufacturer, such as Doll 10 website or Kylie Cosmetics. Please consider not buying a bottle of Channel from some weirdo on Ebay, because nobody knows what’s in it and the last thing anyone needs this holiday is a pile of medical bills.
Be safe. And that’s your PSA for today.
A gentle reminder: this is a post about counterfeit cosmetics and scams, not an invitation to critique other people’s choice of Christmas gifts. 🙂 Please remember that everyone’s family is different before offering opinion on other commenter’s gift strategies.
Is there bootleg yarn? Like they list it as alpaca but they shaved a donkey?
Yes. They list alpaca or cashmere as the fiber, but send you cheap acrylic crap.
Aurora Ebonfire says
My husband and I are watching Forged in Fire on Hulu which is a blade smithing competition, but we just watched that episode of Broken yesterday and found it astonishing that make-up is faked and the things they do to make the fake stuff is so gross.
Forged in Fire is so awesome. I’ve learned so much about different blades, to the point when they show up in books I get so excited. “Look honey, so in so in this book uses kukris, I actually know what this is now!” Also I love the guy who tests out the blades “This will kill”. Seriously so fun
first!!Gordon does not count.
Cheryl M says
Carolyn M says
Oh yes he does!
I think Gordon counts. Very much so.
???? I love the shaved donkey idea…. Now Im thinking what else could be shaved….
Brooke J Frazier says
I think Gordon counts more than the rest of us lol
Not sure if this counts but you can spin dog hair and make it into a yarn. (Learned this a few years ago at a Renaissance festival while I was talking with someone who was using a spinning wheel.)
Lenore A. Villa says
They also do it with cat hair.
One of my friends spun the pure white hair of a samoyed dog. Knitted a hat out of it. It was beautiful,… until it rained. Smelled like a wet dog.
I have spun dog, but usually mix in at least 50% wool as it is too warm by itself,. Fluffs like angora and mine never smelled after washing properly. I have spun donkey – we had 2. Very stiff and itchy. Also, don’t shave, pluck gently or comb.
Hehe! I spent 3 years saving my guardian dog’s hair (he’s a Hungarian Kuvasz) by only brushing out his undercoat. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it, apparently. BTW, this is called “chiengora.” My oldest daughter is a college freshman, and I’m crocheting a hat for her so she has a little bit of home watching over her. My friend spun it for me and says it’s a little weird since it doesn’t have the barbs and doesn’t want to naturally adhere to itself. My dog has a Teflon coat that naturally cleans itself. We never bathe him, and he doesn’t smell doggy. Crossing my fingers — maybe I can share the results later…
Patricia Schlorke says
Yes. If you put your hand on it and it itches like crazy, it’s poor quality yarn disguised as top quality. Learned that with wool and cashmere yarn made up into sweaters at a well known high priced department store with the initials “NM”.
Now I’m thinking that if your skin starts falling off, then you’ve been give magic yarn. As long as we stay out of the Mire or make good with Cerise Mar’s family, we should be good.
Jocelyn Malone says
If it’s donkey I kinda want to see it more now. Acrylic, not so much.
I have that exact fake Kylie set! Total fake I bought on eBay when I was young and dumb. The one time I wore it it didn’t come off My lips for a week so I was definitely concerned. I tried it on my arm next to real Kylie bought off her website and even w makeup wipes it took weeks to fully disappear. It definitely has some kind of glue in it
Poitou Donkey of France is a rare breed that has long hair. I read that it is soft and grooming will determine whether it keeps its baby hair in dreadlocks. So I guess that would work for donkey yarn but I would think that the yarn would be expensive since the breed is listed as Critical in breed conservation.???? But considering how popular yarn is I think that would be a great way to promote the breed ????
Someone else reads Karen Chance too. I see you! 😉
This happened with my last perfume order. Lucky You. Walmart sells it on the shelf figured it’s safe. Mass market. Nope got some stinky, not even expired Lucky crud. Amazon fail.
100100100. AutoImm issues cause me multiple uninsured constant stupid health issues. Excessively dry skin splits cracks severe sun allergies rosacea blahblahblah, many good BUT EXPENSIVE topical products. Trying to get thru winter DermMD rec new product $59. Literally choosing gas for vehicle or reputable skin care seller. Dermstore for the win, good advice Love Amazon but they have severe QA issues.
Sara T says
We stopped giving our boys (19 and 16) Christmas presents. They hardly ever want anything and my brain can’t function enough to think of clever things.
Nowadays we donate money in their names to the victims of the latest fire (we live in Nor Cal so it’s become a yearly menace).
Sara T says
Forgot to add – The yarn looks beautiful!!
And does anyone have suggestions on what to get boys (18 and 13) for Christmas? 🙂
Tina in NJ says
The 18-yr-old might appreciate a gas gift card. The younger one might like a gift card to a gaming or sports store. Now might be the time to start giving them ornaments. A family we know gives their kids ornaments to commemorate something that happened that year, like a vacation or first job.
Sara, I used to buy “date packs” for nephews. Gift certificate for popular or favorite restaurant plus an activity. Movie, amusement park, bowling, etc.. Wasn’t necessary to take a date (a friend would due) but if they’re seeing someone they can save them for a special occasion or when their finances are low. My nephews enjoyed them and had my nieces start asking for them.
Wonderful gift idea, thank you.
Sara T says
Thanks Tina/Nancy. Those are great ideas.
My kids have been getting ornaments most years since they were born. Except the years we were travelling out of the country, in which case I’ve forgotten about it! 🙂
This year they got Star Wars ornaments!! Last year was ornaments from their favorite football teams.
Movie tickets, video games, season passes to Great America or other places like that. Tickets to a pro sport game. If camp maybe promise to take them on a special trip. My fave books Good luck.
Nancy, that’s an awesome idea! I have a 23-year old and this would be perfect for her!
Gift cards to places y0u know they like or cash. I do cash now unless I take them Christmas shopping for themselves. It is their choice, they know the amount that is going to be spent, pick which way you want to go with it. What is obviously gone is the surprise factor.
Gift memberships are nice. Depends on what is available in your area though. Not sure how much a season’s pass to a sports team would be. Often there are junior leagues that are cheaper. Or niche sports.
Rachael Macleod says
Ah, yes. I’ve just had this conversation with my elderly grandmother.
My younger cousin, like me, is a make up fiend and we both share an obsession with Jeffree Star Cosmetics liquid lipsticks.
We do a secret Santa because there are so many of us and my grandma got my cousin. She calls me yesterday and tells me that she’s found this site where she can get a “Jeffree Star Lip Kit” for £15.
For starters there is no such thing, he doesn’t sell kits. So I check the link. The lipstick is one of his, the colour is slightly off and the tube looks wrong and the pencil that comes with it isn’t one that he’s made.
So I tell her not to get it. It’s fake. She says it’ll be cheaper that buying it elsewhere. Which is true, the lipsticks are around £16 and, from memory, the liners are £12. So it would be way cheaper.
The problem is it’s fake in genuine looking packaging. The ingredients listed are what’s listed on the genuine product. The liner shows ingredients for another, genuine, colour.
So what’s in it? I don’t know. She doesn’t know. The people who made it probably know, although if there’s some fecal matter in there (with has been found in counterfeit make up before) I doubt they care. I explained to her that there could be dangerous, or at the very least, irritating ingredients in there that we don’t know about.
Yes, it’s nice to get a deal. I love a bargain. But I would rather pay full price for a product and know I’m getting the genuine article.
In case anyone is wondering she didn’t buy it, we went on to Beauty Bay and she got her a voucher so she can buy her own lipsticks or whatever she needs.
Vouchers are not a cop out!
JStar does sell a duo with liner and liquid lip. I usually order his items through Beautylish. They are one of his authorized sellers. I like them as they ship free to Canada . Also they wrap everything like beautiful gifts. He had a great BF sale ♥️
I guess this means i need to declutter and throw away my 15 year old Circle of Beauty (Sears brand) makeup.
The value of hobbies cannot be over stressed at Christmas time. I am married to a man who’s only hobby is golf. He owns every club, ball, bag, tee gizmo, hat and shirt made in the world already. I’m sitting here on December 5 wondering what the HELL I’m going to get him this year. Maybe I will try action figures. is there a “Golfing Joe”?
No, but there is such a thing as PGA Pro Shots Series 1 & 2. Here’s a link to a Tiger Woods figure from ToyWiz. I buy a lot of figures from them and never had a problem.
Mikhail Vapnik says
A ToyWiz shout-out from you guys?! That’s my gaming store! Love it. It’s a great place to find gifts, and hard-to-find items. If you like the site, you should visit the physical retail store whenever you find yourself in/near NYC. 10,000 square feet of toy and gaming goodness. My bro is the Executive Director of Sales and Inventory Manager over there. Thanks for the plug and your continued literary efforts. Be happy and healthy this holiday season (and beyond).
Was there once. It’s dangerous!!!!!
There is also a gift card for playing golf at any of partner courses. You have to go online to see where the courses are, but if your hubby travels to golf courses, then there may be some he’s interested in. I got the gift card from BJ’s a few years ago, but I did a quick Google search and some gift cards came up. You’d have to research to see if the sites are reputable.
If you have a golf supplies store near you, they may have those gift cards.
Or if he’s going to travel somewhere in the next year, call the nearby golf courses and see if they sell gift cards for a round of golf.
I’ve bought golf themed Christmas ornaments. I got mine at Bronner’s
My mom hates shopping. To make Christmas easier for her, I always make her a Christmas list with links to buy stuff online so she doesn’t even have to go to the store (I even have my brother make one) She always ignores it and then complains to me about how she hates shopping and doesn’t know what to get me. When I was a teenager she would often 1) hide something I recently bought for myself and gift it to me (partly as a joke, but also because I “shop too much”) and 2) give me money because she didn’t want it to seem like my brother got better presents than me (I would force her to sit with me and figure out his presents and order them, but I couldn’t do the same with my presents). Don’t worry, I got other very lovely presents as well. She just likes to make things more difficult for herself.
Sometimes I would make offhand comments about what I didn’t want that year or what I didn’t like from the year before because one year, my family saw me buy soap and lotion from bath & body works and then multiple people gifted me the same set and I had way too much and it was weird (I was worried they were they saying I had BO?) and my mom hid hers in new pairs of socks I’d bought for myself (I think to punk me). So I mentioned that I really didn’t want/need soap the next year (I still had more from last Christmas) and I teased her for the socks because they’re totally the stereotypical “bad gift” kids get on tv. So that Christmas she upped the ante. I can’t remember what she regifted me that year, but she give me a present filled with the fuzzy socks we bought at Costco earlier and inside them she hid money. It was all very silly. I threw them at her because I knew she gave me socks and my cousin tried to keep them because she knew they had money inside so I had to prepare to battle her for my money socks.
This has been an EXTREMELY LONG (but hopefully funny) way of saying that you could hide money in something practical/boring/hilarious and gift that.
And, yes my mom still tries to fake me out with gifts, and of course my little brother thinks it’s the best game in the world so he does it too, but he also tried to mess with me in other ways as well. One year he proudly used my own money to buy me plastic coal for Christmas and then took the coal for himself. But that year I bought him a jail for his phone (that he immediately punted across the room) and the stormtrooper hoodie he wanted in toddler size (it was a mistake on my part but I saw my moment and ran with it. Put it in a big box and everything).
trailing wife says
For some reason, my kids equate socks with being loved. They still complain about the one Christmas they didn’t get any, merely because their sock drawers were overflowing.
Hey, I grew up in Buffalo. Socks are warm!
Shiloh Gibson says
As my Mom always said “You get what you pay for.” That genuine silver and emerald pendant on EBay that’s only .99? Surprise, surprise! Colored glass and silver plate. Those Beats by Dr. Dre? Bleats by Dr Dread. Avoid avoid avoid!
Vickie Seale says
I know absolutely nothing about yarn, or knitting, or whatever it is that you call this stuff. But that thing is absolutely gorgeous. Does making it require learning how to knit? Cause I think I would learn for that! You have great taste!!
Wow!! Just wow!! I guess anything for a dollar these days
I think Gordon counts. Very much so.
Amazon can be very hit or miss. I buy a lot is jewelry supplies and I’ve been lied to more than once. Pay attention to the supplier and if it’s sold by Amazon, it could be anyone. (Though you will have an easier time getting your money back)
The yarn is beautiful. Online reviews are helpful. The cosmetics thing is one reason I’m glad I don’t do makeup or fashion. Style, yes; fashion, no. That goes for home goods too. I believe in keeping the economy going, but not at the expense of my budget or our planet.
Yikes…. of all the things to put on your lips ????
Creative wrapping idea for money or gift cards … get a can of either their favorite or least favorite canned food. Open the can with an opener that cuts under the rim. Bottom of the can works best unless it is one of those cans with rounded edges. Remove just enough of the contents to add the gift (dollar bills fit perfectly in a snack size zip lock bag). Use a waterproof glue/sealer and follow the instructions on the adhesive (I used D-6000) to reseal the can. Slap a bow and gift card on the top of the can or wrap or place in a gift bag. My nieces and nephews are still trying to figure out how I did it :-).
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
My adult children get a gift card and gag gifts… sort of gag gifts… My daughter (36) colors. I bought her gel pens and a fantasy coloring book and the collection of swearing coloring books. My 23 year old is getting a gift card and jean because he asked for them… My 19 year old is still a kid, so he gets a toy (a refurbed computer) plus clothes. The 16 year old is still a kid, too. They all get underwear and socks.
The grandgirls get lots.. this year they’re getting art supplies, snowshoes, games, fabric markers and tee shirts to color on, and barbie dolls, and that’s what I have at the moment… Also dinner and a movie with grandma. (actually 2 movies because we’re going to see Frozen 2, and Black Widow). And I’m sure I’ll see clothes they “need”.
Grandchildren are for spoiling.
Candy Daniels says
My sister has become like that… all she wants are gift cards…
So I have basically resorted to focusing on what I have seen her being really into lately: a particular TV show (buy some seasons on DVD), oil painting (I bought some nice stretched canvases when they went on sale), and then include a related gift card as well.
She over works herself so last year I started giving small gift baskets filled with “take care of yourself” goodies like scented Epsom bath salts or bath bombs and soothing facial masks or body scrubs… stuff she doesn’t usually spoil herself with. I’m careful to make sure to only grab scents I know she likes or keep them fairly tamed and pleasant… like soothing lavender.
Urine – a source for the chemical urea. From website thecosmetist.com:
“INCI name on the label: Urea.
In small doses (less than 10%), urea promotes water retention, due to its extremely hydrophilic nature: it’s very popular for its moisturising effect. It holds water molecules in place…
At a higher dosage (over 10%), urea has a light keratolytic effect that’s very useful for skin renewal, by acting against flakes of dead skin that are characteristic of conditions like eczema.
At still higher doses, around even 30-40%, its stronger keratolytic powers are put to use in pharmaceutical preparations for more serious therapeutic purposes (e.g. for psoriasis).”
The real question is why we allow ourselves to be manipulated to the point where we feel we must have a material product. We are told we can only be happy, beautiful, fulfilled, loved if we buy this product or that product. We choose to accept a definition of success that is illusionary. At any minute, it can all be taken from you. Materialism and commercialism is the true number one religion in our country, and perhaps in the entire world.
PS. I would suggest buying your children an experience. Get them tickets to the theater, or an escape room, horse back riding lessons, etc. Stuff is just more stuff. Memories are forever.
Please remember that everyone is different. A skein of yarn to me means more right now than a trip to Paris. I’ve been to Paris. It was lovely, but this holiday season I am looking forward to knitting on the couch.
Patricia Schlorke says
I wouldn’t want to be in France right now. Rioting is happening because of pension changes.
We’re doing a wildcard gift exchange. We do something similar at work, but basically, you buy a gift, put it in the stack, and we draw numbers to see who gets to pick the gift first. The next person gets to either steal that gift or open a different gift. This is the first year we’re trying this with the family. It’s incredibly difficult to buy a gift that everyone in the family might like, so I got something that the majority of people would probably like and hope one of the others doesn’t grab it instead. I didn’t want to do a gift card; not much of a challenge.
We call that Bad Santa over in Australia. It’s so fun to do with work colleagues. I haven’t tried it with family. I imagine that there would be more than a few tears and tantrums (& that’s just the adults ????)
I will never forget the disgust on my father’s face the year my mother flat-out demanded that we tell her what we wanted so she could get us gifts we would like and use. My eldest sister was teaching high school, and she wanted a variety of support pantyhose so she could wear her nice heels and not suffer leg cramps, not to mention not having runs in her stocking in front of high school students! My mother got her about 12 pairs, my sister was thrilled. I told her I wanted a pancake griddle for use on my stove. She got me a round cast-iron griddle. I don’t recall any of the other gifts requested that year, but when I picked up my wrapped griddle and knew what it was (because how can you wrap a thing like that and not know without opening it what it is?) and my smile got large, my father looked at me and I knew he had no idea why I was so happy with that thing! He was annoyed that my mother had seemingly grabbed things without considering what they were until I told him it was exactly what I had requested because I could never find one where I lived! He declared that he would “never understand this family” and huffed a few times.
Later, when we lived hundreds of miles from our parents, my mother sent me money to get our children gifts they’d like from her. For years, I told people she bought our children one of those screaming toys called “Big Mouth Singers” because she wasn’t going to be close enough to have to listen to it. Of course a few years later, I bought my son a drum set, but we all make mistakes, right?
Your horror stories prove me right in not buying anything cheap from online stores. I have never trusted anything that’s “too good to be true” that way.
But I will point out that including horse urine in makeup isn’t really that far out. After all, the prescription medication “Premarin” is actually named for what it is — pregnant mare urine. Yup. That’s what it’s made from. It contains hormones women need for many things. Supposedly, soft skin is one of those things.
I bought some stuff on Amazon, it came, was what I thought it was supposed to be, Am I Lucky? Sure, mostly. Our daughter lives in UK, we send money, because it’s her favorite gift, and I understand, she’s over 40. Yes, Both you and Gordon count, LOVE you writing, never disappointed. Thanks for everything, including PSA, very timely.
wow, that’s great yarn. all of us in the office wish we liked to knit!
Even though there is a difference between bootleg and genuine fragrance company products, the ingredients of the legitimate products are legally allowed to be withheld because they are allowed Trade Secret status. That is a big, waving, red flag. ????
Therefore, my Netflix recommendation is the movie: ”Stink! “
⚠️ Warning: I’ve stepped onto my soapbox ????
If you see fragrance / perfume / parfum listed in ingredients on a product, it is an umbrella term which can cover anywhere from a a few ingredients to hundreds. That could mean you’re not allowed to know a whole lot of relevant information.
The scents / scented products (including perfume, cologne, skincare, cosmetics, haircare, laundry products, cleaners, air fresheners, candles, essential oils, etc.) people wear / use in public are a big contributor to indoor and now outdoor air pollution.
The fact that we’re not allowed to know everything in our products and that most users don’t even understand the posted ingredients effect humans and pets is frightening.
Whatever gets into the air is shared by everyone around the wearer/user including allergic people, pregnant women, pets, etc. This feels to me as wrong as having people add unknown substances to my food or water, but at least with those, we can refuse to eat or drink them. There is no such choice with air. We all need it to live. I think we all deserve for it to be clean.
End Speech ⏱ ????
Diane Drayson says
I will join you on your soapbox!
Many of these chemicals have not been tested. If they have been tested, it is only singly, not in the combinations that are used. No one knows what effect these combinations are having on our health.
I have read that at least 30% of the people in Australia have some sort of allergy to perfumed products. (In my case, some chemicals cause my blood pressure to drop so far that it does not register on the sphygmanometer.)
If we have these problems with the ‘licenced’ ones, what might be in the knock-off ones? What sort of problems are we setting up for our society, with an ever-increasing amount of chemicals in the air we breathe?
Fragrance free says
Thank you. I ave asthma and am very sensitive to perfumes. I would like to see scented dryer sheets banned. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been outside and needed my inhaler because of the stinky toxic dryer sheets that so many people use. They make air pollution!
It sounds like my family is an aberration. At least, my mom and I. We are all about the Christmas lists. I don’t want to buy something that someone won’t want or have to take back. I won’t even consider getting clothes for anyone in my brother’s family. Talk about landmines.
I even put in links on my list because my brother is notorious for “reinterpreting” what I put on the list. Want Ginger shower gel from Origins – get lavender soap. (NB – I’m allergic to lavender which I’ve told them pretty much every year. Any guesses why?).
In the meantime, they would finally cough up their lists on Dec 23 and wonder why we were missing chunks of hair on Christmas Day.
Last year, Mom and I floated the idea that, this year, we only get presents for my nephew (who always gives a list) and step-niece and nephew (who always get cash). It was getting too frustrating dealing with presents for the grown ups. They jumped at it.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all! May your gift purchasing not give you any new neuroses.
I crochet and would LOVE to receive yarn as a gift. Although I work somewhere where I get a discount on all the yarn I want so I’ll just buy it myself. The yarn you picked out is beautiful! I’m positive the person receiving it loved it.
I have had a couple of garbage purchases from Amazon but it’s my own darn fault for buying them. Lesson learned, don’t buy 3 of anything, buy one and if you like it buy more.
I don’t wear more than a smidge of eyeliner and mascara so those get thrown in with the groceries. Thank goodness I’m older now and not so worried about my looks.
yup. I’ll stick with Maybelline and Cover Girl!!!
So if you buy a ABC conditioner from ABC company through Amazon, how often do you receive counterfeit?
The yarn thingy is gorgeous!!! Needlepoint???
This year, since hubby can no longer go shopping, I bought my own present. HeatTrax mats for the front walk and porch. And after the 2 feet of snow we got this past weekend, the only place there wasn’t snow was were the mats were. Best investment I have made!! No shoveling (that was a present in itself!). Hubby approved too!
We are at the point where if we want something we buy it, so shopping is not always easy, and between us there are 5 adult kids, 2 spouses, 6 grand kids and 1 great grand kid. Gift cards for teenagers are so easy and AAA for the grandkids is their yearly gift!
I’m going the gift card route with my cousins and their kids this year. I have no idea what the kids are into anymore and I’d rather give them something they can and will use than a useless dust catcher they feel obligated to show appreciation for. Amazon has some nifty card tins, I just hope it’s safe to buy directly from the website. You hear about all these scams on gift cards.
You could always do cash, but as folded oragami shapes. That way it’s fun, a little more trustworthy, and less risk of them forgetting to redeem it.
Cash is a normal gift in Chinese culture. You put it in a red lucky envelope which you can buy at a Chinese grocery https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_envelope. Cash doesn’t expire or have a maintenance fee.
Porch Pirate package thieves know what those gift card Amazon deliveries look like. Always get physical gift cards delivered to a secure Amazon Locker if you have that option, especially around the holidays.
The Unsurprising Surprise. When I was younger, I maintained a “wish list” available to family members. This meant I always got what I wanted but was also surprised as well. Worked good for me.
Thanks for the PSA. I try to remember when ordering anything on Amazon is to check out the seller. I have also been checking out the actual company versus amazon sometimes they offer different deals that work out better.
Thank you for looking out for your readers and letting us in on the scams. Greatly appreciated!!! Horse urine…who would have ever thought!
I have found a good gift place for my mom and sisters. Article 22 good cause and pretty jewlery made from old mines. I learned about it from when Emma Watson wore earrings on a talk show several years ago. Just an idea as a good cause that is a good gift as well
my parent company started by testing to determine that yes, the grape varietals that claim to be in this wine actually are those grapes in France many years ago.
My testing location routinely tests generics as well as deformulating compounds for either turning into generics, reported problems or legal purposes. We haven’t testedadult makeup recently but we have tested face paint out of China a lot
Be particularly wary of “after-market” lithium ion batteries (e.g. for smart phones) and counterfeit small appliances with plugs. Looked for a cell phone size (skinner) battery for a commercial product a few years ago and would not buy without a copy of the testing certificate. When we received the batteries and the certificate, the first 2 pages of the latter looked funny – lots of fancy Chinese stamps, but no watermarks one the paper as testing labs usually use. When my colleague went to China he checked with the testing lab and found it was falsified – a year out of date and originally issued to a different. company.
The problem with lithium ion fires is you cannot put them out with either water or normal fire extinguishers.
On small appliances – fires from substandard plugs and the wires they are attached to on counterfeit products are one of the top 2 causes of house fires.
Always look for th UL mark or other test lab such as TuV on the label. When you see CE it may only mean “ Chinese Export”, not the more rigorous European testing certification – those 2 marks are quite similar
For my daughter’s birthday, my best friend sent her a box of Japanese snacks. She had a lot of fun with it and there was no extra stuff to take up room. I plan on getting something similar for my nephews this year.
Diane Drayson says
My favourite hairstyling product ceased production about 8 years ago. Disaster! I am allergic to many scented products but this one was okay with no smell. What to do? I looked on Amazon to see if anyone had old stock. I was very pleased to find some. It worked perfectly on my hair. Yes, it came from China, which seemed strange.
Shortly afterwards I developed eczema in a V pattern down my back. I assume it was run-off when I washed my hair. It disappeared when I changed to genuine products. Lesson learnt.
Donna A says
I don’t wear make-up but routinely warn both my sisters-in-law not to buy any from eBay or from markets or for strangely low prices. That said I do wear jewellery and at the risk of being named and shamed I got a lovely bracelet that came in a red and gold box in a matching pouch and bag and with a glossy card and authenticity certificate all for just £10 from aliexpress. My cousin has the genuine for real £3000 version his ex-boyfriend bought him and if you weren’t aware that the serial number is a commonly used fake on my bracelet. . . Well, it’s completely put me off looking for second hand bargains with bags and jewelery and clothes because who can tell the difference these days unless you buy it yourself at the designer store!
So was there no difference in quality or materials?!?
Donna A says
It looks remarkably the same as the real thing side by side. It has the same opening and closing mechanism and tool, the bangle has no obvious flaws and if I bought it used for a good deal more I would be convinced. Oddly the packaging is not quite as convincing when placed nex to the real stuff but only when you them near each other and look at it all together. With the bangle I’ve not had any reactions and it’s not become discoloured but no doubt it’s obviously not real gold or even plated at that price but I haven’t had it acid tested. However it did have the complete array of hallmarks, down to makers mark and a serial number. My grandad was a jeweller and the hallmarks would pass in UK with the proper cartouches, the right symbols etc (and correct for that brand too), and not just a number stamped on the metal. (I do enjoy wearing it around my cousin just to wind him up because I love him but he’s a brand snob and no-one can tell which is which when we both wear them!)
However the fake hallmarking is very worrying really, and if it had been from eBay or a similar site that I could report officially I would have done so. The particular seller was shut down after but I frequently see similarly “real looking” things so I personally no longer trust buying much stuff secondhand as it’s just too easy to get well faked Designer branded items.
Ellen D says
LOL! There are so many of us we decided only the kids would get presents. Yours truly is Queen at finding the hard to get gifts. But my mantra is the noisier the better! One year I bought my nephews 6 children Nerf flying saucer guns. Lots of flashing lights and siren sounds. Don’t forget the silver dollar sized foam rubber saucers. Each cartridge held 25-30 foam rubber saucers. The kids could reload their guns and go again. I still got each one 4 extra cartridges, came in handy during those long drawn out and noisy battles when a speedy reload was of the essence. Also a surplus of extra batteries.
Margaret S. Patton says
I worked too many years in retail, so I don’t really care to participate in “Christmas” I give gifts thru the year–when I see something that makes me think of that person. However, I know others don’t feel as I do, so I give homemade gifts to family & friends for Dec.25. My sisters DEMAND my Mexican Wedding cookies, Swedish Spritz cookies, fudge, and choc. dipped cream cheese/pecan candies. I can give them those for Christmas cause they know it means I love them.
Not really a gift as such, but whilst they were both alive Dad & his elder sister had a 40 year tradition of mailing to each other the largest possible box of packaging pellets (those weird marshmallow-y shaped polystyrene diamonds we have in the UK) – all began when he was deployed with the RAF to Goose Bay one Christmas and she sent him his present…..but forgot to put it into the parcel! They both would spend all year collecting packaging from friends, neighbours and the like and then send it all first weekend of December. Auntie J always had the neat trick of putting his real present deep inside, so you had to empty them all out to find it…Dad preferred to tape hers to the wrapping paper, or to the inside of the box so she’d have to do the same!
As a family, since my sister & I both hit 18, the gift of choice has always been a Board Game to each of us which we then play over the Christmas Holiday – last year it was the Downton Abbey Board game for her; Outrage! (Stealing the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London) for me – that coupled with books or book tokens always does us!
Speaking only from experience – anything but handkerchiefs & socks!
The Yarn looks beautiful – would the kit be enough for a Jumper, or for something smaller?
Patricia Schlorke says
The yarn is beautiful. A while back I crocheted an afghan out of Parrot Stripe from Coats & Clark yarn and wondered if I was going to keep it or give it to someone. A friend of mine (and also a coworker) saw it and thought it was really pretty. So, I’ll be giving it to her and her husband for Christmas.
Right now I’m knitting a blanket for me out of clearance Lion Brand yarn I bought at JoAnn a few months ago. It’s really pretty. ????
In Australia somebody came up with the idea of photoboxes or shadow boxes. Depending on the size , these boxes with a glass front can be a couple of inches/cms deep. The gifter arranges little items. A dollar amount in smaller denominations to make fans or swirls. Lollies, chocolates, tickets, trinkets. For my nieces I gave them $40 towards their wish item (fancy running gear & car) Some necklace & earring jewellery from kmart /walmart store. One got a converse black sneaker keyring and toy car and I think I managed to find a barbie doll equivalent in running gear. Both were very excited to open their boxes and kept peeking at the other ones to see what they got too.
ready to read says
As an after Christmas gift idea?maybe?
Has anyone seen the Disney plus show The Mandalorian and “Baby Yoda”?… well there is a plush 11inch Baby Yoda doll coming out for $25.oo — my question is do you give it as a collectable to someone or as something they can really play with?
Dang cute when seeing it online. I figure it will be the new “hot” thing.
Star Wars— gotta love it.
Patricia Schlorke says
If you get one for yourself, don’t open it, and keep it in its box. You never know if it will become a collector item down the road.
I’ve started giving ‘services’ as most of my christmas gifts. Like for my pregnant sister I gave her a ‘get out of cooking free’ card, where she can call or text me that she doesn’t want to cook a meal and I’ll have something awesome delivered for the family to eat. That way there’s less random stuff but at the same time it’s something they can use and usually like.
That or if I give money I’ll make it into origami shapes like horses or dragons, depending on the person who is getting it.
I politely disagree about perfume/cologne expiring after 3 years. Colognes don’t expire for many years unless they were exposed to a lot of heat and sunlight. People pay a lot of money for vintage fragrances, myself included.
Scents sold on amazon by 3rd party sellers can certainly be fake or cause skin reactions, but usually they just smell like alcohol. You can also generally get real scents elsewhere for a lot cheaper.
On collecting horse urine:
I watch Bondi Vet on YouTube, and one time it had Dr. Brown working at a horse race. And since they have to do urine tests on the winners, race horses are actually taught to urinate at the sound of a whistle. So guess it wouldn’t be too hard to collect horse urine. But don’t want it on my face.
I’ve given up on buying much in the way of Christmas Presents but I wanted to say, Holy Cow that’s some beautiful yarn! I think it would be hard to let it go to someone else..lol
I had a sweater I made 40 years ago (before everything came from China) that was warm, soft, comfy, and caused no bad skin reactions (I’m mildly allergic to wool). It also draped beautifully (cowl neck, bat-wing sleeves). I got the yarn because it made me laugh out loud in the store. It was “100% undetermined fiber content.” I loved it and wore it all the time until I wore it out, but made sure never to get near open flames. I would still laugh if I saw it today, but I wouldn’t buy it–because China.
Fan in California says
GORGEOUS yarn!! Thanks for the link!
Thanks for the update. I saw a different picture (full figure) of Arland the other day where he looked really hot and correctly proportioned. Was it something sent out in one of your blogs. I’d like to take another look and drool on the keyboard.
Mary Beth says
The best gift Hubby and I ever gave was to his 95 year old grandmother. We gave her 12 bottles of Bell’s Beer. It’s a microbrew made in Michigan, where she lived at the time.
She dangled those bottles in front of her boyfriends for a whole year. (Yes, she had boyfriends, at 90+, they all lived in the same assisted apartment complex.) I’ll never forget the look on her face when she opened the box.
“OH! BEER! I’m gonna get laid.” (Yep, exact words.)
These days we seldom have the funds for gifts. Instead we take food and spend time with people as best we can. It works out.
A very popular prescription drug among post-menopausal women in Premarin. It is made from the urine of pregnant mares (yes, it’s a horse urine product). Just guessing here, but maybe some genius thought they could improve their makeup product by adding horse estrogens to it.
This was an important post and I thank you for spreading the word on dangerous cosmetics. Horse urine or the urine of cows is a traditional component in making pigments back to ancient times. But not today! This is like putting lead in jewelry for young children. Ignorance, greed, vanity, anti-feminism.
In high school I worked as a stable person at a small county race track. We taught the horses to urinate when they heard a whistle to make it easier and faster when they had to be drug tested after a race. It is definitely doable.
Thanks for the tip! I’ve watched now more than a half. I have to say that in my opinion (!) it’s not a surprise but the scale is. In markets where the primary element of differentiation is the price (because at the end of the day lipstick is lipstick), it’s no surprise that these fake products are a hit. But at the same time I’ve been raised to save a bit more money and buy the thing with the best quality not the best price (because they last longer and are in long term “cheaper”). And i have to admit that the way a product is produced is really important to me so i’m hyper sensitive about these issues.
Also be wary of buying beauty products from Costco online. There are some things that they are authorized sellers for but many of their online products are not authorized. I discovered this when I had gotten used to buying luxe items at discounted prices from them and assumed they vetted their beauty products until I got an obvious fake skin product online. I reviewed it as such and the review was not allowed to be posted as it was under review or something like that I was contacted by them and gave them pictures and information so they could investigate. At first they didn’t seem to believe me. In the end they did take the listing down but they did take a good while to do it and in the meantime it was still being actively sold (we’re talking weeks. There was some excuse about the person in charge being on vacation but I smell something fishy). I seriously doubt that anyone who bought it during that time period it was being investigated was contacted and told it was fake once they discovered the truth.
I will say that the in store products are more vetted. I talked to the manager of my local Costco when returning the counterfeit products and had a satisfying conversation about how they handle things. They were on my side all the way. However, the online division I felt dragged their feet on the issue and also deal with some black market sellers. My review warning people it was fake never was allowed on the site which is very problematic as well.
Elisabeth Zangerl says
Concerning “high quality” cosmetic products, perfumes… In Austria (Europe?) there is an app called Codecheck. With this app you can scan the Barcode on products or search by name and the app tells you if there are ingredients in there that may cause cancer, are really hormones, bad for the environment etc. Is there something similar in the US? It may be helpful.
If you can access BBC iplayer there is a program called Knock off Britain that was discussing this a few days ago. Superglue in lip gloss ….. urine??? Who would do that. Amazon really need to tighten up. Also industrial chemicals in a young childs toy called Squishies. All from China and far east. ???????? You need to be so careful what you buy online.
Man that really sucks! Especially during the holidays, when you know folks are trying to find that trendy gift for the young people in their lives, and they really have the best intentions of getting them something they would love. Thanks for the info!
Thank you for your public service in giving us a heads up about bootleg cosmetics. I buy my cosmetics on line usually and will go to amazon or eBay when the cosmetics company stops selling my preferred item, thinking I can pick up leftover stock. Did not think about boot-legged/knock off stuff ????. And I just bought new cosmetics ????. I will give up that practice immediately!
No one has mentioned drug stores. I think we are ok buying brand name cosmetic items at a drugstore. For perfume/cologne (etc) I never buy it at cheaper prices because, at the least, it’s old stock. At it’s worst it’s fake. Time for consumers to push back at Amazon, surely suspected or provable fake products could be reported to an appropriate government body? It may take complaints in some numbers, but if no one complains, then no one knows. While negative reviews may help other consumers they probably won’t reach an entity that can investigate and act.
The other issue with Amazon is this: people will review a product they bought locally on Amazon. So say you really like a product and (not being an influencer) want to spread the word that it’s a great product. So you log onto Amazon and you review it. Well, unless you actually say “I bought this locally, not on Amazon” the people reading the reviews will assume you bought it on Amazon and that the Amazon product is safe when it is not.
I do a pretty decent number of reviews on various sites and always make sure to mention where I bought a product just in case of this.
Susan E Targove says
My yarn budget hates you. That yarn is gorgeous and I can’t wait to finish my current sweater so I can buy some.
My most embarrassing moment as an engaged person came when my grandmother sent my fiancé a gift that Christmas. He opened it, looked at me in confusion and handed it over.
It was a toenail clipper, and obviously used as there were remnants still present inside. It was his response that was the real gift though. He simply said, “I’ll thank her for thinking of me.” And he did, proving that deciding to marry him might have been the best decision I’d ever made.
I read posts from a few people who do secret Santas at their workplace.
Where I work we stopped that a few years ago and instead invited staff to bring in a toy or a gift for a disadvantaged child or teen which we donated to a local radio station which does a collection each year. We all end up bringing in much more than we would for a secret Santa but it’s still private. As well we always have soft drinks and chocolates and other snacks for sale for which there is a small profit which then goes to buy more gifts. We’re only a small offce but we get a surprising number of gifts. This year our staff has dropped further because of redundancies but we’ll still have some to donate. It’s very satisfying and this year with so much of the country being in drought, farmers doing it really tough and then the bushfires (I’m in Australia) it’s nice to know that even our small contribution will hopefully bring some smiles.
Ona Jo-Ellan Bass says
What a lovely idea! I opted out of Secret Santa shenanigans years ago when I realized that I could not afford to play the “top this gift” game each year.
About those kids and gifts. I used to be a real “overgifter “ but a few years ago I learned the 4 things rule and that is what I follow now. My kids, and partners appreciate it. The 4 are : something they want; something they need; something to wear; something to read. Good luck.
Money as gifts – When my niece and nephew wanted money as gifts I would wrap up cash in boxes. A box would have a penny, other boxes would have different amounts , some even had different currencies from trips we had been on. The kids loved it. They got to open something and got what they wanted.
Uh, perfume will last for decades if stored properly. This is a known fact. The person on amazon didn’t get an “expired” Polo, they got a flat-out fake Polo.
I’ve actually been to those counterfeit malls in China and bought some items. It taught me a real lesson that counterfeit products will always be shoddy. Counterfeiters dont care about giving you a safe and high quality product. They just want to make a quick buck.
I like to buy comestics/perfumes at Whole Foods in the hopes their products are curated for safety.
Thanks for this post. I have to say, I have seen the reviews on Amazon and have gotten to where I won’t buy from them unless it is direct Amazon sale not third party seller. Further, I don’t buy cosmetics from them anymore. I do the same thing you do – get it direct from Sephora or Ulta or BareMinerals, etc.
I love the convenience of Amazon but I have less and less respect for them as time goes on. If they keep this up, they will get put out of business by a savvy competitor. And will go the way of the dinosaurs. (I mean extinct, not offed by a meteor, LOL!)
This is a great post. A few years back I was looking for Pureology shampoo that had been discontinued. And I was ALMOST desperate enough to try Amazon or ebay. But I am a research hound, so I made sure to read all the reviews, and I was horrified by what I read and started to research this issue more and more. It’s just a disgusting testament to greed. I even found out there was a craigslist user who would go dumpster diving in the cosmetics store trash bins in the town we were living and and selling used cosmetics from returns as “samples.” I didn’t know who was worse: the seller or the buyers!
I only buy my cosmetics from authorized sources, even if it’s just soap. There is a good, safe version of most cosmetics at most budget ranges. I like Target, and Sephora and Nordstroms, personally.
And I may be old (44) but I sincerely do not understand the influencer thing at all.
Expressions Fiber Arts does have some gorgeous yarn – and it’s amazing how instantly recognizable her yarn/photo duos are! I really liked her Moon series but have managed (so far) not to order any.
I hate getting money for Christmas. Or at least I hate getting just money. There is no thought in it and anything I receive has to responsibly go towards paying bills which is no fun.