By Lisa Curry
My firstborn, Rainman, age 10, handed me his letter to Santa last week, all sealed up in an envelope addressed to the North Pole. I, of course, sent it on its merry way to the frozen arctic.
Santa Claus smiled when he opened the letter. Rainman is nothing if not specific. His Christmas wish list was typed, numbered, and included both sources and prices…
1. A customized Steelers 75th anniversary jersey with name Curry and #22 on it. Size Youth XL. You can get it at nflshop.com for $79.99.
2. An Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings sewn (not screen-printed) jersey. Size Youth XL. You can probably get it at Champs for $70.
We don’t call him Rainman for nothing.
The list went on in that fashion with about a half-dozen less expensive items and ended with “and anything else you think I’d like.”
Santa sat down at his handy laptop to visit nflshop.com.
Uh-oh. They were all out of customized Steelers 75th anniversary jerseys. He alerted me, so I could discuss the problem with Rainman, who decided he would settle for a Troy Polamalu Steelers 75th anniversary jersey – sewn not screen-printed, of course.
Santa dashed off to Champs Sports. They didn’t have that Polamalu jersey in stock, and they couldn’t get it in youth extra-large, but they could order an adult small, which was basically the same, and have it delivered right to his house. Oh, and by the way, the adult small cost $40 more than the youth extra-large.
“Good luck with Adrian Peterson. You’re not going to find that anywhere,” the Champs sales associate told Santa, who decided Rainman would receive a Brian Urlacher Chicago Bears jersey – sewn not screen-printed, of course – instead.
When he got home, Santa felt terrible, though. Poor Rainman, who’d been a fairly good boy this year, wasn’t going to get his first choice on either of the two top items on his Christmas wish list. Santa sat down at his laptop and jiggled the mouse to wake it up. The web browser came up with eBay on it. One of those darn elves must have been surfing the internet. On a whim, Santa typed in the search box, “Adrian Peterson sewn jersey YXL.”
He found two of them – both from the same seller. The auctions ended in a few days, only 7 minutes apart, and the current high bids were in the $40 range. Santa wasn’t an experienced eBay shopper, but he guessed from what the Champs clerk had said – not to mention the time of year – that these jerseys wouldn’t go cheap. He sighed and put them on the elf’s “My eBay Watch List.”
Meanwhile, back at our house, Rainman came running. “They have the customized Steelers 75th anniversary jersey back on nflshop.com. They must have got more of them!”
I alerted Santa, who sighed again and put in the order for the customized jersey with name Curry and #22 on it.
Now he would have to return the Polamalu jersey – which UPS had tried to deliver that day while he was out and wouldn’t leave without a signature.
Last night when the eBay auctions for the Peterson jerseys ended, Santa was poised at his laptop. He had calculated how much money he’d get back from returning both the Polamalu and Urlacher jerseys, deducted the eBay seller’s $10 shipping and handling charge, and decided that would be his highest bid.
As the first auction came to an end, someone ran the price up to $135 at the last second. Santa muttered a few bad words, made a mental note to put that dirty sniper on the naughty list, and wiped the sweat from his brow.
The second auction was his last chance. Santa clicked the refresh button again and again while the seconds ticked down. 10…8…4…1…
“Congratulations!” his screen read. “You won this item!”
And for $20 less than his maximum bid. Santa exhaled and smiled – victorious, but a little weary at the thought of fighting the holiday crowds to return the Polamalu jersey, which UPS had just finally managed to deliver that day, and the Urlacher jersey to Champs.
He would really have to look into teaching those lazy, internet-surfing elves to sew.