How to Find the Perfect Gift
I jumped back into my neoyard, narrowly avoiding being knocked over by a young JubJub peddling frantically on a Red Ruki Scooter. He swerved and came to a stop to scowl at me.
“Watch where you’re going! I might have hit you, and then how am I supposed to ride a Broken Red Ruki Scooter to the Neopian Bazaar?”
Before I could point out that HE had almost run over ME and HE needed to watch where HE was peddling, his big eyes filled with tears. He wailed, “It doesn’t matter, anyway! I STILL don’t know what to get her for the holidays! I’ll NEVER find the... the... the PERFECT GIFT!”
I comforted the little fellow as best I could, had a quick chat about his scooter speeding problem, advised him to lay off the caps lock a bit, and continued on my merry way. When I arrived at the Bazaar myself, I realized how many other Neopets (and Neopians) were in the same predicament. In nearly every store, I found someone pondering a shop display and fretting, “Well, I THINK he’d like it... I GUESS she’d want this... I don’t know, MAYBE this one would work...” Several threw up their hands, paws, or flippers in despair, and cried, “Oh woe is me! I’ll never find the Perfect Gift in time!”
But never fear, my fellow Neopians! Help has arrived, in the form of a step by step guide: How to find the Perfect Gift! Simply read through the following steps, take notes as needed, and then set out into the wilds of the shopping world, armed with the knowledge you need to find It: the Perfect Gift.
Step 1: Go to the recipient’s user lookup.
This is our starting point! After all, if you can’t find your way to your friend’s user lookup... do you really need to buy him or her a gift? If you can’t remember how to spell the username, and the person isn’t a neofriend... why are you spending sleepless nights worrying about the Perfect Gift??? From here on out, our recipient (also known as “the friend I’m trying to buy the Perfect Gift for”) shall be known as Steve. Why Steve, you ask? Well, why not? What do you have against STEVE?
Now that that’s settled... moving right along!
Step 2: READ what is on Steve’s user lookup.
Reading, you say? Why, I can’t do that! Neoschools aren’t open yet! Well, find a pet who can and drag that pet along with you, because I’m pleased to say that reading (plus observation, a little luck, and bribes to shopkeepers who have the very last item you wanted in stock) will solve all your gift-buying dilemmas. “FINE,” you grumble. “Now, what is it I’m supposed to read here?” Well, we’re looking for handy spots that say things like “Click here to read my wish list!” After all, if Steve bothered to code it into his lookup, shouldn’t we click here to read it? This is the easiest scenario, because you have helpfully been provided with a list of exactly what Steve would like. Simply skim through the list, select a likely looking item, and meander your way down to the Shop Wizard or Trading Post.
Alternatively, Steve might have skipped a step and simply typed his wish list directly on his user lookup. Sometimes you might even get pictures, to show you exactly what the item looks like. That way when the usuki shopkeeper tries to sell you the Cheerleader Usuki Reject, you will not be fooled and will be wise enough to insist upon the real Cheerleader Usuki. Do be cautious, though, and read the list carefully. There’s nothing worse than seeing the word “codestone” and rushing right out to pick up an Orn, only to find Steve actually wanted an Eo Codestone Plushie... whoops! Sometimes wish lists might contain rather expensive items, so also read carefully to find something that fits your budget. (After all, we might have 12 other lookups to peek at after we finish with Steve’s!)
Step 3: The Gallery Check.
Does Steve have a gallery? If so, don’t wait – visit it today! Galleries are wonderful for holiday shopping for two reasons: they show you exactly what kind of items Steve likes, AND anything missing from the gallery could just be the Perfect Gift. Click that gallery link and start asking yourself some questions (in your head, unless you want your Neopets inching away from you, thinking you’ve gone crazy). Example questions are: What is the main theme of this gallery? What kind of items is Steve collecting? What does Steve need to make the gallery complete?
Don’t forget our reading skills! Just like you read Steve’s user lookup, read his gallery description. You just might find that ol’ Steve made himself a “To Buy” list and put it in the gallery. Check the list for needed items, but make sure to give a quick glance around the gallery to make sure Steve didn’t pick up that item already and just forgot to edit his wish list. (Silly Steve!) Check all the sub-categories, and even click “view all” just in Steve was extra lazy and hasn’t even bothered to categorize his items lately.
Even complete galleries may offer ideas. Steve has a wind up toys gallery? Perhaps he’d like a bobblehead toy too. Another friend has soups? Pick up a nice assortment of bowls to hold the soup. Your sister hoards petpets? Get some petpet toys and furniture... or even petpetpets! The possibilities are endless. Plus, the more you hunt, the more likely you are to find something that won’t make the Skeith in the bank burst into tears.
Step 4: Stop in and say hi to the pets!
After rifling through... err... looking politely at Steve’s gallery, the next important step is to go visit with his pets. After all, if they’re hanging around, you might as well be polite and stop to chat. Plus, pets often say very helpful things like “Well, Steve mentioned something about really wanting a garden flag like the one they had in the news the other day;” or, “he keeps talking about how cool the new Skeith clothes are.” Statements like this make our search much easier. Chat casually (you don’t want the pet to figure out what you’re getting, and ruin the surprise), and eventually you’re bound to learn a good detail or two. You might even find out that your own pets have been chatting with Steve’s, and then you’ll know what they want as well!
If the pets are a bit shy, however, and don’t want to leak the details, ask to take a look around their pet lookup (politely, of course). You might find subtle hints that lead you to the Perfect Gift. For example, a list of all the gourmet foods one pet has eaten is a clue that Steve and his pet would love more gourmet items. Check for book lists (or a pet with a very high intelligence level), high battling statistics, or anything else that shows what Steve might be working on. Even if you pick up a couple of repeat books or gourmets, Steve can still sell or trade them for ones he needs. Codestones, dubloons, bottled faeries, or neggs are always welcome for a battling pet. Perhaps you could pick up a neat species weapon, or a huge supply of healing potions. Is Steve’s neopet bragging about how his owner is a customization wizard? New wearables are always well-received by the stylish neopet.
Step 5: Visit the petpages
If looking in the obvious places fails to provide holiday hints, we might need to get a little sneaky and look in some often overlooked areas. One that gets forgotten frequently is the petpages. Just because Steve wasn’t nice and helpful enough to put a “click here to read my wish list” link on his user lookup doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have one hidden away somewhere. Some Neopians are tricky, or shy and don’t like to blatantly advertise what they’re hoping to obtain. Always, always, always remember to check the petpage of each and every one of Steve’s pets! Put those observation skills to good use. If you don’t see a wish list, look for the clues we mentioned earlier. (Did you forget ALREADY? Stop, go back, and reread Step 4 again!)
*taps foot impatiently*
Ready now? Oh good! Where were we... right! Clues! Petpages often contain hints about book reading or gourmet eating, which can lead us to the Perfect Gift. Be sure to check any links that might lead you to a side account as well. Once you’ve found Steve’s side account, go through all the steps again. Side accounts are helpful because we now have many other areas to look for possible gift ideas. Side account pets and galleries all deserve attention too, and sometimes aren’t as well updated as main accounts. Steve will be amazed you knew to pick up that Pink Moehog Plushie for his secret cuddly plushie gallery, and as long as you keep his secret, that just might be the Perfect Gift.
Step 6: Look around the lookup... yes, again!
Still stuck for ideas? Go back to Steve’s lookup! Yes, really! We might have overlooked some clues in our first rush to read and click the wish list link.
Lookups have lots of information, for both the casual visitor and the crazed Perfect Gift hunting maniacs we have become. Look to see what stats Steve has for all Neopia to view. Is his stamp album relatively full? Pick up a new stamp, coin, or charm. Are there more neodeck cards in his album than you would have guessed? Snag a couple new ones with cool designs. Is he partway through with his quest for the Kadoatery avatar? Pick out some kad foods and send them over with a nice “good luck” message. Has he played a lot of games? Find some Neopian items that go along with his highest scoring games. You never know, you might give him an idea for another gallery theme!
A big place to look is the neohome module. If Steve recently purchased land in Maraqua and started construction, your worries about the Perfect Gift are over. Purchase some furniture, curtains, flowers, or gnomes and help Steve and his pets decorate their new home. Make sure you remember to check the rooms and gardens first to see if Steve already has a theme going. After all, you certainly don’t want to give the fellow a nice snow couch and chair if he’s got a fire theme going in a Tyrannian home! If Steve is one of those crazy neohome decorators who turns blue and orange drawers into his flooring, your quest might have gotten even easier. Poke around in the rooms to see what he’s working on, and send over a supply to help tile the rest of the dining room. Standard items like Zen Drawers, Wooden Desks, or Royal Oak Wood Cabinets are always helpful to have in stock. You could even get a holiday assortment to send so that Steve and his pets will at least be able to sit by the fireplace, sipping a mug of hot borovan from their new china with Christmas trees, tinsel, and lights strung everywhere.
Step 7: Buy that gift!
By now, hopefully you at least have a glimmer of an idea as to what to buy for our good buddy Steve. After all these steps, you might have too many ideas! Narrow it down to what you think Steve would really want to find under his tree on that glorious morning, and head out to do battle in the wilds that are the Neopian shops. Remember not to haggle too much with the shopkeepers, and please – watch where you’re peddling on those scooters!