Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Christmas Ham for Every Occasion

Warning - this post does not contain a recipe.  If you legitimately want a Christmas ham recipe, I suggest you look elsewhere.  This is a about me, Christmas ham and a story that never gets old.

Two years ago, Matthew and I started contributing a ham to the extended-family dinner. Christmas is always extremely busy for Matthew and me between the increased work load at our respective jobs and travelling.  Buying a ham and delivering it to my mother-in-law is practical way for us to contribute to the family celebration.

Honey Baked Ham starts mailing out their coupons right after Halloween.  On glossy pages, impressive hams display ruffled spirals edged in a crystalized sugar glaze.  My mother-in-law gave me two coupons - one for $5 off and one for 10% off.  I took them both with me, just in case Honey Baked Ham would let me use them collectively. 

Now obviously, you can't just walk up to Honey Baked Ham the day before Christmas and walk out with a ham.  You have to call ahead and reserve your ham.  Then you have to go wait in line with twenty people in Christmas sweaters. 

Armed with my coupons, my sister Leah and I drove to Honey Baked Ham early on Christmas Eve.  After waiting for a parking space, we followed the crowd into Honey Baked Ham.  Thirty minutes later, I handed over my ham voucher.  They only let me use one discount, so I walked out with my ham and the remaining coupon.

In the parking lot, I saw a mild-mannered looking man in a plaid shirt.  Thinking I could spread a little Christmas cheer and Southern charm, I walked up to him and asked, "Do you have a Honey Baked Ham coupon?"

Recoiling from us, he placed his hand firmly on his pocket.  With a scowl, he muttered a reluctant, "yes."

I was so startled by his defensive stance, it was all I could do to explain that I was trying to give a coupon away.  Next to me, Leah started to giggle.  The man, still cluthing his wallet, hurried off to find his place in the queue. 

In the car Leah said, "You southerners don't joke around about ham coupons."

Apparantly not.

Over the years, this has become one of my favorite funny stories.  It is festive, Southern, and never quite as funny to people who weren't there.  You miss something when you can't recall the same crazy, possessive look that came into the man's eyes.  But believe me when I tell you that even if I had demanded the man give me his coupon or give up his Christmas presents, he would not have given me his coupon.  Why would I go up to a stranger and ask for a ham coupon?  People are crazy.

Speaking of crazy, someone at work screamed at me on the phone yesterday.  I don't mean that this person was just difficult or snippy - she screamed.  I hate being screamed at - it is just so unncecessary, ugly and LOUD.  In the past, when dealing with rude people on the phone, my strategy has been to repeat their words back to them.

Rude Person: You need to help me now!*

Liz:  I would help you if I could, but it is impossible for me to do what you are asking me to do.

Rude Person: I can't believe they have such stupid people working there!

Liz:  I'm sorry you think I'm stupid, but there is nothing I can do.

See what I did there?  My thought is that if they hear what they said, they will instantly repent and beg my forgiveness.  At the very least, it has never made the situation worse.  This policy backfired once, though.

Liz: What I'm telling you is correct, no one else is going to be able to tell you any differently.

Other Person: If I could just talk to someone who isn't a ding-dong!!!!

Liz:  I'm sorry you think I'm a ding-dong...."

I couldn't do it.  I started laughing.  Apparantly I can't say ding-dong without losing control.  But repeating screaming is not an option (not a viable option anyway).  So I talked to Rebekah and we came up with a solution that works across the board with all rude/screaming people.

Anytime somone is unpleasant towards me, I'll just tell them the ham story.  You wondered where this was going, didn't you?

Cross Person: You are a terrible person who needs to give in to my unreasonable demands.

Liz: I'm sorry you think I'm terrible, but your demands are illegal.


*Uncomfortable Pause*

Liz:  Two years ago, I bought the ham for my in-law's Christmas dinner.  I had two coupons for a Honey Baked Ham...

I have effectively flummoxed the Cross Person and reminded myself of a man staunchly defending a Christmas tradition of smoked meat and discounts.  This, I believe, is referred to as a Win-Win.

You are all welcome to use my ham story.

*Names and conversations have been changed to protect rude people.

NOTE:  Most people I talk to at work are pleasant and polite.  I really do love my job.


  1. I am so ticked right now. I was supposed to be researching a new rust stripper, read this instead, and laughed so hard I brushed navy paint on the carpet. A lot. And now it won't come out...and I'm still laughing too hard to do anything more than blend it in more. You are such a ding-dong!

    1. You got even. I was still wiping up coffee last night. Oh SNAP!

  2. I'm laughing about the ding-dong too. Oh my.

  3. Now to find a plausible excuse to use such a story! Love.

    1. I would think in your line of work, the opportunities would be endless. :D

  4. I loved the story... and then I loved the work-rude people- phone strategy. Then I loved the way these two things came together! Well written. :) Now if I could only read the blurry letters and prove I'm not a robot. :(

    1. Thanks, Lori! My mom is having permanent identiy issues because she can't prove that she isn't a robot.

  5. Had forgotten about the ham story - what a laugh.

  6. I just read this out to Jacob and could barely make it past a few words without dissolving into fits of giggles and snorts.


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