Looking a Gift Coupon in the Mouth

When I was young(er) and (more) foolish, I purchased a succession of lousy-but-inexpensive bags from online retailer eBags.com. One day, as I was carrying an eBags disaster through Logan Airport, its shoulder strap broke and nearly took out my eye. Though the speeding buckle narrowly missed my skull, it did still manage to knock some sense in to me, and I resolved to seek out less lousy luggage. I soon realized that for a few dollars more, I could purchase a quality bag from Lands’ End, one which was warrantied for life. Close to a decade later, I’ve traveled tens of thousands of miles with my Lands’ End duffel.

And yet, though they may have forgotten the comma, eBags has not forgotten about me:

Surprise Paul! We remembered.
Read it as they wrote it for maximum amusement.

The automated birthday-related emails companies send are often a source of amusement (as in 2011 and 2010), but the email eBags sent on my recent birthday is a particularly good specimen. First, note that the email offers not a gift, but an ever-so-thoughtful discount on a future purchase.1

Happy Birthday - Celebrate with $25 off your next order

A $25 discount is actually pretty good, even if it using it would require buying myself a present from a store I don’t shop at. Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday without offer restrictions! Specifically, this coupon is only valid on purchases of $75 or more. As well, it can’t be applied to nearly 200 of the 700 or so brands eBags carries. Oh, and it’s also not valid on the “Steal of the Day”, advertised in the very same email:

Happy Birthday - Celebrate with $25 off your next order
“Here’s just one of the many items this coupon isn’t valid for!”

Still, it’s nice to be thought of, and even after all this time eBags knows me well enough to make stellar recommendations.

Paul, here are some items we think you'll love
“…to purchase, for yourself.”

Recommendations like this “luggage jersey” (what?!3) for a school I didn’t attend:

Paul, here are some items we think you'll love
Sure, right, a luggage jersey.

Then there’s the “Romy Gold Stingray Rose Evening Clutch”, and even though that looks like nothing more than a string of nouns strung together nonsensically, it’s definitely something I might like:

The Romy Gold Stingray Rose Evening Clutch
It looks like a sparkly cannoli.

But most apt of all, for me, is this stylish viso—wait just a goddamned minute. This, this is what eBags thinks I’ll love?

Awful, awful hat

Exactly which godawful frat do they think I pledged at UNC, where I did not attend? No, no, this affront to my dignity must not be allowed to pass unchallenged. Thankfully, eBags has just what I need:

Gloves To Start A Duel
Glove-Slappin’ Gloves

With these gloves, a map to eBags CEO Vince Jones’ house, and a quick snap of the wrist, I’ll be able to demand the duel which is so clearly called for in this situation. Best of all, with the gloves being sold at a price of $78.99, I can use my $25 discount and defend my honor.


  1. ING may have learned a lesson from a similar move back in 2010, when they sent out a particularly crummy 15% off coupon for their company-branded merchandise store. This year, ING merely passed along a link to a somewhat incongruous YouTube video2, while stating that they were unable to send “a double-tiered chocolate cake”, noting “it won’t fit through the mail slot — we tried”. As my front door has no mail slot, I find their whole story quite suspect. ↩︎

  2. Said video is really not worth archiving. ↩︎

  3. According to the site, “The Luggage Jersey is the hottest new travel accessory product to hit the market in decades. It not only improves the look of your new or existing luggage, but it helps protect, secure and identify it as well while supporting your favorite college team or alma mater.” ↩︎