Worst Valentine's gifts are real heartbreakers

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

A weed whacker, cellulite cream, a Campbell’s Soup thermos, a mushroom-growing kit, a heart-shaped potato—what do these items have in common? They’re among less-than-lovely presents submitted in Talbots women’s retailer’s worst Valentine’s Day gifts contest.

They’re also on a lengthening list of things not to give your beloved on the day of love, if you don’t want to find yourself written about on the Internet.

If you have a similar or even sadder story in your Valentine’s past you don’t mind sharing (in 100 words or less), it might be worth telling. The grand prize in the contest is a trip to New York City and a day of shopping for a new $1,000 wardrobe with Talbots’ own chief creative officer.

Who ever thought a lousy Valentine’s present might someday amount to something?

With dozens of submitted entries so far, competition looks tough.

One contestant named Cara recalls the man she’d been dating who once bestowed her with a Valentine’s gift-bottle of whitening mouthwash on the day of hearts and flowers. “I believe he’s still single,” she adds.

Cynthia P. recalls the Valentine’s she was delighted when her husband brought her a beautifully wrapped gift, only to find it concealed a back scratcher.

“I was so disappointed with him, we didn’t speak for a week,” she writes.

K. Ginrich once received a weed eater and a bonus fishing pole from her own too-practical spouse one year.

“He took the new pole and gave me his old one,” she adds.

M. Sack snagged a bright pink padded toilet seat from her old man one Valentine’s. At least it was a sweet color.

N. Cooley writes during her first year of marriage, she got nothing for Valentine’s Day. When she asked her husband about it, he responded, “The candy goes on sale tomorrow!”

A. Peterson writes her worst Valentine’s gift was a pair of khaki army-surplus, chemical-warfare pants. What was the notion behind that romantic motion?

“Since I complained about being bitten by red ants to get out of going fishing, he thought this would solve the problem as the pants had elastic in the cuffs to keep the ants out,” she explained.

K. Miller’s parents bestowed their unmarried daughters with cemetery plots one Valentine’s Day, while S. Palevsky received a lovely scarf, accompanied by “a gift card made out to another woman.”

K. Fitzgerald once got all snazzied up for a much-anticipated surprise Valentine’s date with her boyfriend, only to be taken to “a boxing match where his friend was beaten and bloodied.”

My nomination for the most imaginative Valentine’s gift has to be the metal Viking helmet E. Simpson once got from her husband because she is of Scandinavian descent. Or maybe it’s the framed aardvark picture A.Visel-Jackson once got from yet another male who apparently is no longer part of her life.

If you think you can top any of these with your awful gift, give it a shot on Talbots’ Web site.

Entries are being accepted through this Saturday, Feb. 14. Read ’em and weep (with mirth) at www.talbots.com.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.