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TunaOn Christmas Day in 2013, Carmen Lopez of Bothell, Washington sat around the tree with her family to open up presents. Her parents were planning on surprising the teenager with the gift of her dreams.


But when Carmen opened the box, everyone was surprised. Then confused. Then disappointed. 


All Carmen wanted for Christmas that year were new headphones to use while listening to music. She’d picked out Beats by Dre, a high-end listening device created by hip-hop icon Dr. Dre which offered noise-cancelling features, great sound quality, slick designs…and of course, luxurious comfort. Now, that kind of quality doesn’t come cheap; Beats headphones can cost anywhere between $100 and $300!  


So when Carmen tore the Christmas paper off the last package under the tree revealing the Beats logo, her heart leapt! Then when she ripped open the box, it sank. Instead of finding the cool new headphones, she found four cans of tuna fish crammed inside the package.    


No, it wasn’t a prank by her parents; Carmen’s younger daughter is actually allergic to tuna. Everyone was equally confused as to how the tuna cans wound up inside the actual box and carrying case for the headphones (though inventory managers believe it was employee theft).    


Since Carmen’s dad had purchased the expensive headphones from Wal Mart on Black Friday, the family went down to the store the following day to see if the problem could be resolved. The best the store was willing to do was offer a refund to the family. But because the refund was at the one-day-only Black Friday price, it wasn’t even enough to purchase a pair of the headphones at the regular price.


When news of the awful gift started making the rounds, it was picked up by the local news stations. Ironically, the global account sales manager for Beats was watching the news when the story aired. Lindsay Merkle decided to solve the problem immediately. She rushed a pair of headphones over to Carmen’s house…on the house!  


When it comes to Christmas gifts, shiny paper and glittery boxes can be deceiving…and disappointing. The outward appearance of gifts might not be so helpful. Sometimes, awful gifts come in great packages like the story above. Sometimes, great gifts come in humble settings like a manger.


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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)