And now for a story. Once upon a time, back around Christmas of 1999 (we think), Athena asked for a GameBoy Color for Christmas. Dad called this one game store in town and found out that they had a special where you could get a discounted GBC if you bought a game with it. Knowing that this store also sold import games, and that GameBoy doesn't require any sort of meddling with the system to play imports, Athena told us to ask if they had Pokemon Silver, which had only just come out in Japan.
So Dad, Sarah, and I set out to obtain the GameBoy on the way to drop Sarah off at her gymnastics class. At the store, I ask if they have Pokemon Silver, mostly expecting them to say no, maybe with a, "But we should be getting it in a few weeks." But much to my surprise, the guy said, "Yes, we do." And brought out a copy, and it was beautiful and shiny. So we bought it along with the GameBoy, and then dropped Sarah off at gymnastics.
A day or so later, one of Sarah's classmates was over, because his single mother worked, and staying at our place with Sarah and video games was far more entertaining than staying at his place with his old fuddy-duddy aunt and uncle. And you know how kids like to show off to each other. So Sarah says to her classmate, "Athena has Pokemon Silver." The tragedy lies in the fact that Sarah and her classmate were on opposite ends of the room Athena was in the middle of. I was very sad that our great surprise had been found out, to say the least.
Nevertheless, Athena was surprised. Just not at Christmas. But when Christmas came around, she opened the game and was still just as incredulous to be holding the game as if she hadn't known what was under the wrapping paper. There are some things that you just don't expect to get, even when you know you're getting them.
For Sarah's part, and I'm sure she is no longer of this opinion (or at least, she had gotten over it for a while), her reasoning was this: Since Athena asked for the game, she knew she was going to get it anyway. This might be a good form of reasoning, if you weren't the kind of person who was obsessed with weird things that are hard enough to find by people who know what you're talking about. And when the person shopping for you has no idea what you're talking about, it becomes nigh impossible, so you're really surprised to get it, whether you asked for it or not.
As you may have guessed by now, the reason I bring this up is that, surprise surprise, Steve claims that they can't get us a Japanese PS2 for Christmas, because then it wouldn't be a surprise. (At least we know they don't think we're idol worshippers anymore, although that now destroys my running gag.) At this point, Athena would rather they didn't, but that's off-topic. My point is... well, it's what I just said in the last paragraph.
It would appear that Steve's present-buying strategy is to wait until someone hints that they might want something and go with that. It may work very well, except that we have already proven that he doesn't know how to read our hints. (That, and we don't talk about anime or manga around him, as we've determined it to be a waste of time.) See, there was talk about someone getting a new outfit to wear to someone's birthday party, and the birthday girl saying something about the other person ruining her birthday because that person is getting a new outfit and she isn't, even though it's her birthday (and as I type this I realize more and more how likely that is to be a misrepresentation of the birthday girl's opinion).
Our reaction to that was that the birthday girl shouldn't be so upset not to get a new outfit--I mean, how long has it been since we've gotten new outfits for our birthday? Which of course to Steve means, "We want clothes!" Our real meaning was that we think it's lame to get so hung up over someone else getting clothes. Although it is true that we could use new church clothes. And new jeans. But we certainly don't trust Steve to be able to buy us clothes that we like. And there are so many other things we'd rather have, that they probably don't even know exist.
I just think it's better to get someone something that they want than something that would surprise them. Although if you could get them something that they would like that would also surprise them, that might be the best. It's just been so long since we've gotten anything from CD Japan! So I guess my real problem is that there are so many things that I want that I wish these people would think to get me for Christmas, but I'm afraid they won't because they're so oblivious to what we like, and if we ask for it, they can't get it because it won't be a surprise. And really, all I have to say about that is, "AAAAAAAUGH!"