Why Can’t I be a Christmas Light Manufacturer?

If there ever was such a thing as a Christmas conspiracy, it has to have something to do with Christmas light manufacturers.

They get all the fun and last laughs.

1. Worse than a Taser: Shocking Developments

Where else can you get paid for shocking people with electricity? (OK, besides law-enforcement.) Last year, as I was unwrapping the stored lights for the annual wanting-to-swear-like-mad-because-none-of-them-work ritual, I found the one and only exposed 220v wire. The electricity shook my arm like a rag doll and I felt numb and feeble for several hours. This year I cautiously sat in the background and let my unsuspecting family put the lights up. Those cheap manufacturers nailed all three. My son was first, followed by my wife, and then my daughter. All three complained of lingering effects of the Christmas light taser conveniently disguised as a harmless string of Christmas joy.

2. Paid to Make Things That Fail 

What other manufacturer can make shoddy wares and still have the idiot consumers flock back to the generic mega-stores to buy their generic garbage year after year? It’s become a tradition in our family. Somehow, I get the job of untangling the lights and seeing if they do indeed work from the previous year. This year was pretty successful: only 40% of our light strands didn’t work. Not bad! So now I have a choice. Do I try to find which bulb is not working on each strand, or do I throw it in the trash and buy a new one? I usually start with a half-hearted attempt at fixing them. I put one strand up to the window-light, bulb by bulb, to see if I could identify a working filament. Halfway in I got bored and threw them in the trash. Some factory manager just smiled.  So I went to the generic mega-store and picked out three strands. I had to wait ten minutes to find a worker to help me plug them in to check if they actually worked. 67% of them worked in the store. Not bad! Another smile by that same manager. I brought them home to discover that …

3. All Lights Are Not Equal and I was Supposed to Know That

How was I supposed to know the difference between cascading lights, chasing lights, rice lights, waterfall lights? I thought lights were lights. And I brought home the two working packages that my wife absolutely didn’t want. So back I went, one more time. She actually wanted the rice lights.

If I wasn’t a teacher and didn’t have the opportunity to torture students with pop-quizzes, essays, and impossible true or false questions, I would really like to be a Christmas light manufacturer. There are apparently quite a few similarities.

Students keep coming back, year after year. Likewise, I’ll be replacing 50% of my lights at the mega-store next year. Tis the season.

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