Thursday, October 04, 2007


Caswell-Massey, America's oldest apothecary, offers luxurious scents, skin smoothing toiletries, hard to find accessories and great gifts. It has been around for 250 years. It's store on Lexington Avenue in midtown Manhattan was a favorite stop of mine when shopping for Christmas gifts. Every now and then, I'd pick up some obscure product from their inventory for the annual exchange gift ritual at work. I thought I'd rather be unique than stand guilty of perpetuating the traditional fruit cake.

And one of those unusual items I selected one holiday season was this Lavender Water in which according to a Caswell-Massey salesperson is a natural scented water; and that a few drops of which add a touch of scent for bath water, bed linens, and lingerie. He also claimed it as an ideal final hair rinse or facial tonic, especially for those with troubled skin. Furthermore, some people supposedly also use this lavender water for cooking. Whoa!

Be that as it may, those who received one from me didn't know what to do with it other than use it as a bathroom adornment. I kept one for myself anyway for its deep blue bottle, but just like the others, I do not know what to do with its content.

Now, I wonder what was the most useless gift you've ever received?

By the way, I couldn't figure out what got to my brother's head one time when he gave his wife a power tool as anniversary gift. What made matters worse was that he charged it on her credit account. He claimed it was a joke. However, to this day, it remains a sensitive issue that my sister-in-law prefers not to ever discuss.


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:23 PM


Blogger Amadeo said...

Having worked for the premier hotel in SF, we are most familiar with Caswell-Massey, supplier of all room accessories - from bath soaps, shampoo, scents, and even sewing kits.

Thus, I am inclined to believe that some hotels in PI who are part of chains would have them also.

So the next time, one visits a five-star one might want to ask for their "free" room accessory giveaways.

Because they also make for good collectibles. Smartly packaged and very attractive.

October 04, 2007 11:54 PM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

A great post and well timed for the upcoming holidays. The most useless gift I received? Well, I do get nice ones, I mean useful ones every year, but there is this one sweater that my dear brother gave me that I could not find an occasion to wear. It's a pretty off-white sweater that is above casual but below classy. I wore it once and it's still sitting somewhere. I love it though, cant bear to give it away.

October 05, 2007 4:27 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

lavender water was mentioned in the novel the nanny diaries, where the protagonist didn't know what it is at first. =)

hmm, useless gift? how about receiving nothing at an office christmas party even when you were one of those people who painstakingly chose and bought a gift? ooh, it still rankles up to this day.

October 05, 2007 5:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't received any useless gifts before and most of the time I keep them in my cupboard unless they are meant to be used like clothes, key rings, et cetera. Too many things on my desk makes it look messy.


October 05, 2007 10:40 AM  

Blogger Daisy said...

I've received very nice gifts both useful and not useful.

But the not useful ones-- I use them as "mathoms" tama ba anyone familiar with Tolkien? I use it as a gift again for those who I think might use it or need it more than I. for example clothes not my style or size i give it away, signature hand bags but I dont really use hand bags things like that.

i love the idea of mathoms-- rather than keeping it stored somewhere--- why not give it away? Di ba?

October 06, 2007 10:07 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I like the idea of "mathoms," Daisy. Back in New York, the day after Christmas, major stores usually assign a special section to accept refunds of gifts bought from their store. They will then issue gift certificates for the patrons to use in pucrchasing what they prefer instead.

October 08, 2007 6:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's quite fortunate of you, Kyels, but if you get to be of certain age, you'd find you have enough of certain items, and although useful, having more than necessary makes the rest in the lot useless ... hehehe.

October 08, 2007 6:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! I didn't know that, Carla! Many thanks for sharing :)

Not getting anything at office Christmas parties is indeed a bummer, especially for someone who made went through all that hassle of shopping and wrapping one for an office exchange fift ritual.

October 08, 2007 6:38 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sometimes the sentimental value attached to a gift makes it hard to depart from it so, though useless, we tend to hold on to it forever. I also received my fair share of sweaters, Photo Cache -- some were nice, while the rest I wouldn't even copnsider wearing in costume parties ... hehehe.

October 08, 2007 6:40 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Amadeo, Caswell-Massey is one fine establishment with awesome products. I've bough quite a few gift items from them through the years and those I had given them to truly appreciated these products from Casswell-Massey. I even wear their cologne during the summer since it's lighter in scent.

October 08, 2007 6:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an experience with gift giving when I was still a teacher.

It was considered tradition for our students (mostly from affluent families) to give tokens and gifts to teachers on occasions such as Christmas, Teachers' Day, Halloween and birthdays. It was okay and sort of sanctioned by the school administrators as long as the gifts were moderate. I myself in my 12 years of teaching, had amassed quite a collection of tokens - most items for display which I later gave away to family and friends because I ran out of space to store them.

It's a shame however that one of the teachers would make "parinig" to her students what gifts she wanted.

So, one time, one of her students gifted her with an expensive gold ring. The school admin learned about it and she got sacked. From then that time on - we were no longer allowed to accept gifts.

October 08, 2007 9:40 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thta was rather audacious of that teacher to insinuate the sort of gifts she wants to received from her students.

The only time I had given a gift to a teacher was when I was a high sophomore and gave my math teacher a name plaque that my older brother Junior was making. My teacher probably appreciative the gift so much that she offered to give me some time during recess to go over the lessons that were difficult for me to understand.

October 08, 2007 11:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

useless gift....?nahhhh mas tamang sabihin nkakasawang gift:(every christmas na lng ang laging natatnggap ko kng ndi pho2 frame..pho2 album..hayzzzz:( ndi nmn ako pedeng mag-reklamao kc dyahe nmn and besides..atleast naalala nla akong bigyan..:)dba..kya ok na rin..:)

October 10, 2007 5:07 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Kite, I think it's time for you to get into photography ... hehehe!

Oo nga, di pwede magreklamo kasi mabuti at naalala tayo :)

October 10, 2007 8:08 AM  

Blogger grumpyurbanslacker said...

I got a foot roller from Body Shop many years ago (its this foot-long oblong wooden thing that resembles that gadget they roll pizza dough in)....supposedly daw rolling your foot on it is relaxing..

i wanted to bop the gift giver on the head with it instead! :D

October 13, 2007 10:07 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

Those useless gifts? - madami. but sometimes, some are useful as panghalang ng pinto or tukod sa halaman...hahaha!
Ganito style ng misis ko, kinopya ko lang and your brother did the same pala. She would buy some things like ornaments, small appliances other borloloys that please her eyes, but I don't even know what are those for, tapos sasabihin, "oy, para sa iyo ito..para diyan, para dito...". I just have to say thank you!... hahaha... Then I bought a set of power tools on sale at home depot tapos, pina gift-wrapped ko as a gift to her. Kaso nabuking yung resibo! hahaha, muntik na ipokpok sa akin yung drill, but she was all smiles since sira-sira na yung mga gamit ko sa garahe. But, may katapat yun, she had to buy something for her daw...buti na lang nakalimutan since daan kami ng daan sa favorite jewelry store niya sa mall.

October 14, 2007 1:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Naku! lakas ng loob mo, Reyd. Buti na lang sport misis mo. Ewan ko nga ba bakit naman ginawa ng kapatid ko iyon. To this day, my sister-in-law is embittered by that episode ... hahaha.

"... panghalang ng pinto or tukod sa halaman ..."

I like that ... lol!

October 14, 2007 7:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've got a couple of those do-it-yourself massage gadgets from Body Shop, Grumpy! And haven't used any to this day ... hehehe!

Galing pa nga raw itong iba kung saan-saang exotic parts of the world. Pero yon, nakatambak lang!

October 14, 2007 7:38 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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