Tomorrow is my 3rd Anniversary with my wife. We decided to exchange gifts yesterday because I wanted to give her an opportunity to use her gift.
She’d been secretive about my present. Lately she’s been getting me mostly practical gifts but we’re practical people. As I’ve transitioned into my 30s and fatherhood, I find I have less and less desire for random stuff in my life. My coin collection is one of the few things in my life these days that falls into a special category of “it’s mostly useless but it makes me happy.”
She’d decided that she didn’t want to get me another practical gift though. She wanted to get me something fun. She also wanted to surprise me and not repeat the arrangement of Christmas where I got the money and I spent it myself (applying it towards that 1877 10G, which we put under the tree).
So she goes hunting and spends I-have-no-idea-how-long looking for a link to an old wish list I had on a currency collecting site and ordered me a raw Zimbabwe 20 Trillion dollar note. She said she wanted to get me a coin, but she had no idea what to get.
She was very excited. I love her to death for the thought and the effort she put into this.
The problem? Well… I already have a graded Zimbabwe 20 Trillion note. A fact that came up when she mentioned maybe having to get it graded so it would go with the others and I was like… “I’m probably not going to grade this.” (and I showed her the one I already had to explain). She was confused because she thought she got something on my list… I had the 20 Billion note on my list, which I still need. It was also a PMG-graded one for about $25-30 depending on grade.
We shared a laugh about it after she was done feeling a bit stupid (but, who can blame her with all those zeros?). We hugged and kissed. We’ll laugh about this for years I’m sure.
The store she bought the note from has a return policy and so she’s going to hopefully return it to try to get most / all of the money back and then we’ll have a discussion about getting something else.
Normally, I would have kept it just for laughs. I truly love that she tried so hard to get me something that I would love for my collection. The problem I have with keeping it is the price she paid. She just got completely taken on this note IMO.
The store she bought it from is the store I bought most of my Zimbabwe note set from. Their prices have historically been quite reasonable, and you can still get many of the Zimbabwe notes from them for reasonable prices, even ones already graded by PMG for barely more than the grading fees. However, since I bought most of my set, someone there seems to have gone a little nuts - particularly on the 4 notes in the trillion set - the 10, 20, 50 and 100 Trillion notes. I’m guessing at some point someone there figured out that those are the four notes that most people want, most people don’t collect the lower denomination notes, and so they could probably get away with up-charging on those four where they couldn’t easily on the others.
Seeing them charge her $60 for a raw bank note that’s as common as these are has, in all honesty, really hurt my opinion / feelings towards the company.
After I showed her a PMG graded note on eBay for $42 she just said, “Oh. I just thought the price was the price.” Nope… This isn’t like buying something off the shelf at Wal-mart. If you don’t do your homework, you’re likely to get taken for all you’re worth and some people will be happy to do it to you.
This all comes after, about a week ago, she realized that I have a massive watch list on eBay with dozens of items that I think would be fun to get but I will never have a budget big enough to get all of them. She told me at the time, a couple of days after she’d already ordered this Zimbabwe note, that I needed to share that with her, so I just wrote my eBay user name and password on an index card and gave it to her. She’d have to buy the item with her own account to hide it from me, but it would point her in the right direction.
I feel like a horrible gift recipient, but she reads me too well and I can’t hide it from her when something’s not quite right. Honestly though it was a conversation that probably needed to happen. I wouldn’t want her to repeat this and keep over-paying for things like what happened here.
Not to brag but I totally hit it out of the park on her gift.