Before I was born, my father bought my mother a vacuum cleaner for Christmas one year. (Think about how peeved she must have been in the moment if I was still hearing about it decades later.) While I can try to appreciate his reasoning—they were young, not wealthy, and in need of a vacuum—there are some gifts that most women resent for their domestic implications. See also: ironing boards.
It’s really not surprising that German supermarket chain Lidl is under fire for a recent sales circular—tied to Mother’s Day with the line “It’s time to say thank you”—that suggested a Roomba-esque vacuum, an iron, a sewing machine, and a coffee machine (hey, that one’s not bad) as great gifts for the mom in your life. Yahoo News reports the Twitter backlash quickly picked up the hashtag #dankefürnichts—thanks for nothing—and pointed out that moms would probably like to be celebrated with gifts that have more to do with their interests or hobbies than with how good they are at starching collars.
Lidl subsequently half-apologized, issuing a statement that “As part of our changing action weeks, we—like all retailers—take seasonal or holidays as occasions for our marketing activities.... We regret that our current promotion causes some displeasure with some of our customers, and we take the feedback very seriously.” Rival grocery chain Aldi wasted no time in throwing salt in the wound, posting a Facebook photo of a gift basket full of chocolate, cheese, and wine captioned: “If you also think that on Mother’s Day you should leave the sewing machine or the trouser steam iron by Lidl Deutschland, then give the wonderful mothers of this world a little more.”
The Takeout staffer Gwen Ihnat, a mom of twins, says she isn’t keen on the gift basket idea, though—or Yankee Candles and bath products, for that matter. She suggests you get moms what they really want—a massage and some peace and quiet. So, here’s your game plan: spa gift card + taking the kids away for the weekend + maybe sharing the domestic responsibilities like it’s not 1940 anymore.