Perfectly content with another grill |

Perfectly content with another grill

Jim Scripps

The George Foreman Grill.That’s probably the gift I’ve gotten most during my adult life, and I’m not alone. It is no mystery Foreman has made a lot more dough off his grill than he has hitting others in the grill (thanks to Dr. Atkins).

According to Business Week magazine, the retired-unretired-retired boxer sold his rights to the device for $127 million in 1999, and still gets a healthy cut of profits today. Since the launch of the first generation of Foreman grills, the Salton company has sold 55 million, enough for every man, woman and child in Egypt to own one. I own three, and will probably get a couple more Dec. 25.

That’s marketing power.

There’s also a lot of marketing power in the sweater industry – unless you live in Palm Springs. I’ve lived in cold country for 12 years now, and have probably acquired 15-20 sweaters. Some have reindeer on them, others have snowflakes. Luckily, several of them are plain. I have no doubt my sweater collection will grow this year, as I have made it clear to family and friends that I have no preferences or defined sense of style. Guys who don’t say what they want get George Foreman Grills and sweaters. It’s a proven fact, just look in my closet.

The pitfalls of being mysterious about what you want are obvious, but dropping hints can be equally destructive.

Last week I celebrated my birthday by opening two Mp3 players. I hate to return gifts – it kind of defeats the purpose – but unless I want to listen to two songs simultaneously, that’s what I will have to do. All I said was “that’s neat,” and I got two. I may get two more Christmas morning. It’s my own fault.

Guys like me are mostly interested in the day-to-day items. I’m willing to wear the same outfit for two years if it means I can fill up the gas tank in my truck. But nobody’s going to give me a tank of gas for Christmas. I’d love a surround-sound system that will blow me out of the living room, but I’d rather have someone pay for my cable subscription. The economics of Christmas, unfortunately, don’t allow for my kind of utility. People in my sphere of influence want to spend $40 or less on a gift, and they want to buy it at Wal-Mart.

So tomorrow, Christmas morning, I will open up some gifts, and many will reflect the confusion of relatives who don’t really know what I want. But it’s enough to know that there’s love behind those presents – and a lot of Christmas cheer – even if I have to pay my own gas bill next month.

After all, Christmas isn’t about the stuff, it’s about the thought. Even George Foreman might get a grill or two this year.

Merry Christmas Lake Tahoe.

– Jim Scripps, managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, can be contacted at

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