The Washington Times-Herald

December 22, 2011

The pig that popped my Christmas

Amy Gesenhues
CNHI

Jeffersonville — My son has been asking for one thing this Christmas — a Pop the Pig game.

It’s like Hungry, Hungry Hippos; only instead of a hippo and marbles, it’s a pig dressed as a chef that you feed small plastic burgers. The more bites the pig takes, the bigger its belly grows ... until it pops.

On my one day reserved for knocking out all my shopping duties, I visited four different toy departments and was told four different times they were out of stock. When I thought to have Amazon.com send one to my house, it was going to cost more than three times its $19.99 off-the-shelf price. I couldn’t do it.

Today, I happened to be poking around online and found that a nearby store’s website had a “limited supply” listed in stock. I called to confirm and was told they had three on the shelf.

“Ha!” I thought to myself, “I got one.”

I was so excited that I jumped in my car to spend my lunch hour speed walking down toy aisles. I was going to call my husband and gloat; but, then thought it best not to waste time making phone calls.

Having searched for the game just days earlier, I already knew where to look. My eyes scanned the games for ages 3+ from the top row to the bottom. It had to be there. Less than 30 minutes ago, they told me there were three in stock. And then I saw it, or better, where it was supposed to be. The Pop the Pig sticker was on the shelf, but the spot was empty.

I panicked. I started moving other games around to see if one had gotten pushed behind the numerous Whack-a-Mole and Crocodile Dentist boxes. I moved over to the age 12-and-up board games to see if one of my Pop the Pigs was hiding beside a Trivial Pursuit or Pictionary box.

Nothing.

Like a mother who lost her child’s one favorite thing, I hunted down a store employee to ask for help.

“Pop the what?” he said looking down at his electronic inventory-checking device.

“Pig. It’s Pop the Pig. You feed it burgers and its belly gets bigger,” I said.

“Is it a video game?” he asked, turning to go toward the electronics department.

“Nope, it’s a board game. But, without a board. It’s a pig, and you feed it,” I knew how crazy I sounded, but couldn’t stop. “The more you feed it, the bigger its belly gets until —”

“Wait, I found it,” he said, stopping me before I further embarrassed myself. “According to this it should be right here.”

He ran his finger along the shelves to the bottom row where I had started my search.

“Shoot, it looks like we’re out of them,” he said.

“I know there isn’t any right here, but I just called and they told me that you guys had three of them in the store,” I explained.

“When did you call?” he asked.

“Less than 30 minutes ago,” I whined.

“Gosh, they’re already gone. Sorry,” he said.

He really did sound sympathetic. He also confirmed there were none to be found at any other of their stores in the area.

“There may be more with the shipment we’ll get in a few days.”

I returned to my car empty handed. My pig chase was over.

Right then, in the crowded parking lot, I decided to give up the search. I was not going to rate my parenting on whether or not there would be a Pop the Pig box under our tree Christmas morning. Yes, I have more days available before Christmas arrives to run from store to store, looking for the ever elusive pig dressed as a chef (oh-the-irony); but, I’m not doing it.

My son has more than enough. One more game that will no doubt have pieces missing before the new year is not worth the chase.

The fact that I am choosing not to “pig-out” on what appears to be the most coveted game around is not lost on me. I wish I could wear the honor in a noble manner, claiming I chose not to participate in the commercialism that oozes through our holiday season; but, really, I’m just worn out.

We are fortunate; there will be other gifts under the tree, plenty of food on the table, and much love all around. One less pig in the house won’t be missed.

Besides, when my young son looks at me with questioning eyes, wondering where his Pop the Pig game is, we’ll both know who’s to blame.

Santa Claus.

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Amy Gesenhues is a columnist for the News and Tribune in Jeffersonville, Ind. Contact her at . You can read her daily commentaries at amy@amywroteit.com.