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Forget the gift, go for the box - Greg Gelpi

It's all in the packaging.

Scouring the fields of corporate America, slithering through jam-packed crowds, I can proudly say that I survived the post-Thanksgiving mad house of shopping.

Despite my eyes focused firmly on the task at hand, the task of finding the perfect gifts for family and friends, my eyes continually were drawn to the mysterious "Pink Pig."

The reporter ingrained deep into the fiber of my being kept poking and prodding me with each sign or reference to this mythical figure.

Immediately, my mind conjured images of Porky Pig, the pig from Lord of the Flies and pigs from a cochon de lait .

Fliers, posters, T-shirts and more heralded and proclaimed the arrival of the Pink Pig, but no flier, poster or T-shirt elaborated as to what exactly the Pink Pig is.

Do you eat it, put it on a leash or inoculate yourself from it?

Lines of people meandered into a large white tent, but still not even a hint as to what was concealed inside.

As if some ancient tomb hiding a secret treasure or a temple's Holy of Holies with the Ten Commandments, the Pink Pig lay deep inside out of sight, but certainly not out of mind for those who flocked to see it.

Asking around, I ascertained little more about this mystery, and the reporter in me became entranced with the concept of the Pink Pig, determined to reveal its secrets and discover its identity.

Consulting the modern-day wise man atop the mountain, I "Goggled" the Pink Pig, only to slide deeper into the maelstrom of mystery.

I did, however, discover that Priscilla, as the Pink Pig is named, is a ride. Beyond that, though, the almighty Google mockingly disclosed little else.

Still, the lines grew, and the Pink Pig worked its magic, calling countless shoppers to forsake their capitalist responsibilities to do homage in the white tent.

In much the same way, my shopping endeavors revealed that the packaging, the marketing is often times more important than what's inside the shiny outer layers.

If nothing else, I consider myself an expert in the area of sugar, particularly in large unhealthy doses. Slap a Ghiradelli wrapper on a bar of chocolate and suddenly you have an exquisite gift of the most refined taste. Slap a Nestle wrapped on the same chocolate bar and you get a cheap gift given without any thought.

It's nothing about the candy itself. It's all about the presentation and exterior qualities.

So, my advice? Save a little money this holiday season. Buy gifts that are just as nice, possibly nicer than the glitzy ones, and mask them in fancy smancy packaging.

If the wrapping paper and bow cost more than the gift, don't panic. In fact, that's a great sign that you're on the right path.

The packaging and marketing follow the same line of thought as making a good first impression.

How can a shiny box with ornate wrapping paper and bows conceal a shabby gift? If so much thought went into the outside, then what is on the inside must necessarily be something quite good.

The parallels can be drawn with people as well, but I won't belabor the issue.

Shop well, shop wisely and the best of luck in finding that perfect box.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.