$4K Lamborghini Smartphone: Just One of Many Bad Auto-Centric Gifts
Lamborghini recently announced that it was releasing a smartphone for the scant price of $4,000. For many reasons that sounds dumb, and heaven help you if you bought this for someone this holiday season. Sure it has a leather and stainless steel construction, but it also runs on an outdated version of Android’s Jelly Bean platform. You don’t have to drop four large to give someone a terrible car-related gift this season. Here are ten non-starters when it comes to automotive stocking-stuffers: Remote Starter (without installing it)
Getting pissed about inconvenient gifts is the definition of First World Problems, but have you ever received a remote starter? Like, just the starter? It’s a box, with dozens of wires. I’ve turned my fair share of wrenches, but an NHRA inspector would not want to do their own starter install. To have it installed somewhere will set you back more than $100, which kind of makes receiving this as a gift a pain in the rear.
Emergency Battery Charger
Those mobile “jump starters” that you leave in the back of your car until it won’t start are a total waste of money. How often have you come out to a dead battery, jumped it with your neighbor’s car, and were able to turn it over on the first try? Like 1 in 10? Yeah, so how does it help to have a mobile charger that only gets you one start? These things come with power outlets and little built in lights, and that's really all they are good for.
If you can’t get it turned over on the first try, you’re screwed, and so will be the recipient of this as a gift.
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Aftermarket Bluetooth System
Bluetooth is becoming a standard feature on many, if not most new cars. It is a novel idea to update your old car with a new feature, but aftermarket Bluetooth sets are a pain in the keister. They require a radio frequency with no station on it (good luck if you live between DC and Boston), and most only handle calls– no streaming music. It’s a waste of time.
So you are at the tool section of a department store, and happen to see a kiosk with “Complete Tool Sets” from a brand you've never heard of before. What makes you think the right place to buy a tool set it an "everything" store, with ladies underwear 20 yards away. Sure, if it’s a Craftsman set that you can get replaced, great– but if you’re buying tools, make damn sure you have heard of the brand that makes them.
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This is just one of the many automotive snake oils that people receive every year. “More power and better fuel economy” with this thing that looks like the flying sensors from DOROTHY in the movie Twister. These things don’t work, so don’t give the recipient of this gift the false hope of better performance.
Gift Cards are okay for office swaps and gift bags, but giving someone a gift card is the most thoughtless thing you can give to a loved one. Gift cards say “I’ve stopped showing enough interest in your life to have a vague idea of what interests you.” Add to that the fact that it's for something as mundane as gas, and this gift takes the spirit out of the holidays like two redneck moms fighting over a Rachel Ray dinner set on Black Friday.
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Strange Car Accessories
Truck nuts, fuzzy mustaches, and happy faces for the top of your antenna are all just terrible ways of expressing yourself. This is the ugly sweater gift of the car world. Grandma knows Billy just got his first car, so Grandma gets deer antlers for the front windows and a big red Rudolph nose for the grille– mom makes Billy but these items on his car every time they drive to Grandmas. No thanks.
It’s great to rep your college or alma mater, but having it emblazoned on the back of your Cherokee is almost like probable cause for a cop to search your car for drugs. Keep a low profile, folks.
Window Tint (that’s not installed)
This is two-fold. One, the roll-on-yourself stuff is awful, and looks like crap when its done. Also, it’s the same rationale as the remote starter– it’s a gift that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Either it's a real tint from a shop, or you just gave your son the infamous “Almost Gift,” where it’s kind of like the thing they want, but not quite. The Almost Gift can undermine parent-child relations, as the child gets nothing out of the gift so the parent basically wasted their money– everyone loses.
Any And All Contrived Automobilia
If you were at a swap meet and found a great beat up body panel from an old Camaro, find a way to mount it to a wall and give it to your son. He’ll love you forever for it. But if you buy a crappy little fake car sign from a catalog, I don’t know how you can look in the mirror. “Parking for Chet Only” is not a cool sign, and a just because a big “Hot Rod Garage” sign has rust on it doesn’t make it cool either.
If you are going to gift someone with an item to grace their garage wall, it better be the real thing. Go to a junkyard for a cool car grille, or grab a broken body panel at the track that a race team is about to trash. Just don’t mail it in and get it form the same book that has bowling shirts with flames on the sleeve and an eight ball on the chest pocket.
Happy holidays, and happy hunting for those automotive gifts that DON’T suck.