Need a gift idea? Try coupons, but keep them specific.
You know what's a real bummer? When the economy is depressed and the only fiscal Prozac we've been prescribed is time-released, baby (Did you only an estimated 11% of the "Stimulus" dollars will be disbursed in 2009, per the Congressional Budget Office?). But, we're humans so we do what men and Muppets do best: persevere. We take joy (not just solace) in small pleasures and learn from the situation (note: savings have increased over the last year and spending actually increased in May 2009, hopefully a portent of good things). But, for now, we have to make romance on the cheap.
But cheap doesn't have to mean crappy. And a little creativity can be even more precious than all that material stuff (except diamonds from Zimbabwe, they were paid for with blood). Next time when you've got to show old girl or old boy that you appreciate her or him, hook her or him up with coupons.
I know that coupons aren't a novel idea (for Pete's sake children think they're a thoughtful gift) but they encompass a lot of things intrinsic to relationships, such as doing things you don't want to do because the other person likes it and bargaining your way into looking like the better person.
The keys to making coupons work (instead of looking like something a head injury victim would give his mom on Valentine's Day) are specificity and cleverness (raunchiness works too, when specific). It can't be all breakfast in bed and HJs. Here are five very specific coupon ideas that almost anyone would like (glitter is optional):
1) A walk through a particularly scenic part of town. The walk shall last no less than 60 minutes, may include season-specific drinks (hot chocolate, sweet tea, Irish Coffee, Corona, etc) and photographs with genuine smiles. The redemption of said coupon will be announced no less than 24 hours in advance and will not coincide with any previously made plans.
2) The DVR's memory shall be equally allotted to both parties. In the case when more than 2 programs are being recorded, both parties will split priority of their programs in a one-to-one fashion beginning with the recipient of this coupon.
3) This coupon allows the recipient to dictate the level of the air conditioner for a period of seven consecutive days during "normal sleeping hours."
4) Get out of one event free card. This coupon insures that the recipient can miss one event that the giver deems "important." The bearer shall declare intent to use this card no less than five days before said event. The event shall not be one of the following: wedding, christening, bar mitzvah, bay mitzvah, birth of either party's child, funeral of a close family member or something that the giver of the card thinks is "really, really, really" important.
5) The recipient of this coupon is entitled to insist that the couple watch a single film featuring Jennifer Aniston within the month. The giver of this coupon will watch said film and make no more than two disparaging comments, use a computer or handheld device at the most once, use the lavatory no more than three times, allow for pauses and rewinds with a minimum of eye-rolling and be willing to talk about the film's plot, theme, dialogue and cast for a minimum of 45 minutes upon conclusion of the film. Giver of the coupon will not be "called out" in mixed company for anything that takes place between the commencement of said film and the conclusion of the post-film conversation.
If you guys have any really specific coupon ideas, holler. Let's keep it PG (fine PG-13).