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#1
Old 08-25-2014, 07:30 PM
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Book instead of a card: new shower request

I know the Dope has DEEP divides about weddings, giftings and tipping so I bring you all a new phenomenon. Or the first time for me at least.

I was recently invited to a baby shower and was requested to bring not only a gift ("we are registered at") but also to substitute a congratulations card with a book.

The most awesome part of this whole thing is that my fobby husband didn't even get that it was a book meant for the KID so he was like "oh, we will give them that little black book of cocktails that is upstairs in the library. It's small and cute!" I was so tempted to let him do it but I figured they'd faint away dead. Then when I explained that the book was meant for the child he was quite offended and suggested we gift one of our grad school books.

So, offensive and gift grabby or cute??

(I gave the baby a copy of My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell...because it's my favourite book ever. It came down to a tossup between Enid Blyton (Malory Towers) and Durrell. I couldn't find a cheap copy of the The Talking Parcel so I opted for My Family)

Last edited by anu-la1979; 08-25-2014 at 07:35 PM.
#2
Old 08-25-2014, 07:45 PM
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So they not only asked for a gift, they asked for two gifts and specified what one of them should be? I'm in the camp that thinks that any request beyond the pleasure of your company is tacky, especially if the shower is being thrown by the honoree. That being said, I like the idea of a book shower. Mainly because I always buy books for baby showers anyway.
#3
Old 08-25-2014, 07:51 PM
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Yeah...so invite to shower, the invite has the registry info on it and the "she is registered at" statement and then a separate card/piece of invite "gently suggesting" (hostess's words) a book in lieu of a card. Like I said, I was thrown for about a minute because it took me a second to process that they wanted the book to function as a card for the baby and my husband flat out misunderstood the request.

I was like "this can't be a THING" now but from perusing the internet it is The New Registry inside Wedding Invite. I know the Dope is still taking the smelling salts on registry cards inside wedding invites so I figured I'd drag this here like an obedient cat.

Last edited by anu-la1979; 08-25-2014 at 07:52 PM.
#4
Old 08-25-2014, 07:57 PM
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Ballsy, yes. But I think it's fair game. Pretty much everyone knows you're expected to bring a gift to a shower, and we've all been Hallmark-trained to include a card with a gift. This is just allowing another alternative.

Cards are great if you're into sentimental mementos, but not everyone is. I know I'd rather get books too.
#5
Old 08-25-2014, 08:33 PM
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I vote for gift-grab. Books cost more than cards. If the parents really wanted books, they would have only listed them on the registry instead of asking for other (and probably more expensive) stuff too.

As a bibliophile, I think that kids should be read to and should have books available all the time. I'm totally not opposed to giving children books. I do it all the time, often on a whim. I still would have thought that was gift-grabby and would have just bought a book and ignored the request for 2 gifts.
#6
Old 08-25-2014, 08:33 PM
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The main reason I wouldn't do it, personally, is that I know a lot of thoughtful people who gift a well-chosen book at baby showers. I mean I don't because I am a goblin who writes checks but I have nicer friends and whatnot. Anyway, the point is that for them, the book is the present and the card is the heartfelt "congrats y'all" message.

This new book-as-a-card effectively reduces what a lot of people think of as their main present to "cards" and sends the subtle message of a book not being a "real" gift but just equivalent to a card. Which, I don't, know if you were just planning to gift a book being asked this might feel a little like saying "thanks for the card, cheapskate." I wouldn't want to send that message or put that type of pressure on people. I mean, just register for the books if you want some books.

Last edited by anu-la1979; 08-25-2014 at 08:37 PM.
#7
Old 08-25-2014, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by anu-la1979 View Post
I mean, just register for the books if you want some books.
If you wanted to be charitable, you could assume that your friends wanted to know what everyone else's favorite kids' books were so they could expose the baby to books they don't already know about.
#8
Old 08-25-2014, 09:12 PM
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I think it's an adorable idea. I love the idea of welcoming the little one with a library of everyone's favorite books. Books are generally inexpensive, so it a small add on to a regular gift. If you want to get a book that's elaborate, make that the only gift.

Frankly, I think the bar tending guide would be fantastic!
#9
Old 08-25-2014, 09:16 PM
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My mom wanted to do this for my son's shower (he just turned two, to give you an idea of when this was). I love books, but since they cost more than cards, I asked that she say "books in lieu of gifts". We got a lot of both anyway, since the was the first grandchild on three sides, first great-grandchild on at least one. The best part was that mom included custom nameplates for people to fill out, so now when I read those books to my son I know who they were from and can share when I take to those people how much little Ian loves their favorite book now.
#10
Old 08-25-2014, 09:19 PM
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This has been a thing for at least 5 years. The baby for whom I was first asked to do this went to his first day of kindergarten today

I think it's great! I love when parents read to kids and all my friends love reading to their kids and it's a nice way to build a special library for your kid made up of all your friends' favorites. Plus you write a note to the kid in the opening of the book to let them know why it's so special to you and why you chose it.

I usually give "Go Dog Go" because it's the first book I learned to read and it's funny.
#11
Old 08-25-2014, 09:36 PM
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A book AND another gift? Definitely gift-grabby. And I'm not clear on who hosted the shower... If they were hosting their own, ugh.
#12
Old 08-25-2014, 09:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eva Luna View Post
If you wanted to be charitable, you could assume that your friends wanted to know what everyone else's favorite kids' books were so they could expose the baby to books they don't already know about.
I've never heard of it before, I'd make sure both presents add up to what I planned to spend. So if I was going to spend $30, I'd still spend $30 on the gift and the book.
If it were me and I didn't want to be 'gift grabby' I'd find some way to even suggest that I'd be happy to take one of your old books from when your kids were toddlers (if you have kids). I have plenty of books/toys in storage bins that'll probably never get used again (by me) but I keep around 'just in case', if someone wanted a few books, have at it.
FTR, at least in my case, since I'm not a pack rat and don't see kids in my foreseeable future everything I kept is in good condition. Anything that was worn or old got tossed as my kid out grew them. So, at least from me, you wouldn't get anything with an explanation of 'this was my kid's favoriteist book, look at how much she chewed on the corners, the pages are even still sticky from when the dog used to lick all the different textures'.

ETA, the best gift, diapers. Diapers and more diapers. Also, don't hesitate to give diapers that are a size or two UP. They'll use them eventually.

Last edited by Joey P; 08-25-2014 at 09:47 PM.
#13
Old 08-25-2014, 10:14 PM
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I know how much I am going to spend, so when this happens, the other gift is smaller. And I usually ignore registries.

But yes, this has been going on for a while, now.
#14
Old 08-26-2014, 12:31 AM
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I was invited to a shower about 9 years ago where they asked for books - plastic baby books, a copy of your favorite book from childhood, whatever. But the book was all that was asked for, not a book plus another gift. I don't recall seeing any registry information on the invitation.
#15
Old 08-26-2014, 09:22 AM
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I've never heard of this, and kinda like the idea. Although I think it would be better executed with "we are registered at...but books are always appreciated" which gives an out.

(plus generous people might give both!)
#16
Old 08-26-2014, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by flatlined View Post
I vote for gift-grab. Books cost more than cards. If the parents really wanted books, they would have only listed them on the registry instead of asking for other (and probably more expensive) stuff too.
I wanted books and that is exactly what I did, I registered for books. I also put a note on our two registries that we would be happy to receive books for the baby's bookshelf. Well made books and recent popular titles are not always cheap. Yeah you can get a book at the dollar store, but this is one time I didn't necessarily want grab bag gift from the dollar store. I actually wanted people to pick a book out that they liked or that they think we would enjoy reading, and it was probably going to set them back more than $3.

So I vote grabby. If you love books so much then register for them and skip the matching crib sheets.
#17
Old 08-26-2014, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
ETA, the best gift, diapers. Diapers and more diapers. Also, don't hesitate to give diapers that are a size or two UP. They'll use them eventually.
When I would organize baby showers for work (which I've only done once or twice), I'd do diaper showers. I worked in IT and most of the people were guys, diapers were easy for them to pick up at Target and much needed. If people wanted to pick up cute little outfits or get baskets filled with baby lotion and diaper cream, or chip in for a stroller, that was fine - and usually the women did. The men were more than happy to be given an easy out.

Books are an awesome shower gift, but instead of a card is grabby. All my cards are correspondence cards with my name on them on which I write the appropriate note, I don't buy occasion cards.
#18
Old 08-26-2014, 10:30 AM
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The book in lieu of card thing, I can get behind. The books will be around for years and are a nice memento of the occasion, while cards are likely to tossed or stored in a box somewhere. It is a great idea.

The mandatory book plus additional gift part, does not thrill me. It is asking too much.
#19
Old 08-26-2014, 10:32 AM
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Supposedly, guests to baby showers should be close friends and family. If you are too chintzy to spring for a couple of gifts for their baby, then you probably should decline the invitation, which is okay, and sends the message that you aren't really as close to them as they apparently think you are.

Children's books are our normal gift to friends' baby showers. We normally give about 10 favorite books that our own children liked as kids.
#20
Old 08-26-2014, 11:04 AM
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I think some of you are overestimating the cost of toddler books. There are many to be had for 2-4 bucks. Same as a card, and not going to be tossed out with the wrapping paper.
#21
Old 08-26-2014, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Supposedly, guests to baby showers should be close friends and family. If you are too chintzy to spring for a couple of gifts for their baby, then you probably should decline the invitation, which is okay, and sends the message that you aren't really as close to them as they apparently think you are.

Children's books are our normal gift to friends' baby showers. We normally give about 10 favorite books that our own children liked as kids.
I wish I'd known this last year when I got married! Then I could have sent out invites with "in lieu of a card that will get thrown out, it would be much more meaningful if you bought me a $2.99 napkin or something off of my Kindle wish-list. God bless."

FTR, not that I planned to punish a baby over minor tackiness but I read through The Bump and it appears that a lot of expecting moms ended up unknowingly caught up book-not-a-card-and-here's-my-registry-too etiquette bind because this is a thing all over Pinterest now and their hostesses apparently did it without their knowledge.

Last edited by anu-la1979; 08-26-2014 at 04:31 PM.
#22
Old 08-26-2014, 04:45 PM
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The book thing is definitely a thing now, I've even heard them called "Book Showers."

Absolutely awful that it was in addition to a gift, though. The only nice way, if the organizer is going to gently prompt attendees toward books, is to make sure it's clear that the book is the gift.

I have, in the nice scenario, received sweet invitations that further suggest that a book that the giver himself or herself personally loved as a child.

If you are ever attending one of these showers, here are some books not to be giving (speaking as a recent mother, I, and every other mom I know, received a million copies of these, and also people had inscribed them lovingly inside the front covers, so could not be returned or exchanged):
- Goodnight, Moon
- The Giving Tree
- Oh, the Places You'll Go
#23
Old 08-26-2014, 05:03 PM
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The responses here have changed my mind. I thought a book shower was a good idea, but now I'm not sure.

You know what would be awesome though (if you are into creative gifts)? Having your friends and family write stories for your kid. Someone should come up with a website. The website would have some kind of graphics application that would allow people to come up with cool illustrations for each page of text. And then they'd press "SUBMIT" and in a few days they would get a UNIQUE professional-looking book in the mail. Maybe they have something like this already.

I didn't have many children's books as a kid, but my mother told the best bedtime stories. Way better than anything you could have gotten at the bookstore. I'm sad that I can only remember a couple of them. I wish she had put them to paper.
#24
Old 08-26-2014, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I think some of you are overestimating the cost of toddler books. There are many to be had for 2-4 bucks. Same as a card, and not going to be tossed out with the wrapping paper.
The last times I bought picture books (a few months ago), they were in the $15-$25 range.

Present and book is a gift grab. A "book shower" or a registry at a book store (or an Amazon registry that includes only books) seems ok for a shower.
#25
Old 08-26-2014, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Folly View Post
I think some of you are overestimating the cost of toddler books. There are many to be had for 2-4 bucks. Same as a card, and not going to be tossed out with the wrapping paper.
I think people aren't so much overestimating the price of toddler books, as they hear "book" in conjunction with "gift-giving occasion" and immediately think "heirloom-type hardcover." Which, yeah, is going to cost a lot more than a card and totally ought to be the gift all on its own.

My first thought, otoh, was to wonder if The Poky Little Puppy is still in print, because obviously if you're going to ask for books in lieu of cards you mean something small and batterable and inexpensive like that. It probably helps that I was just at the in-laws' last weekend and watched Junior Favorite Niece pawing through an enormous collection of Little Golden Books. (You can pick up a copy of TPLP on Amazon for $2.40, Prime eligible, btw. The Kindle edition is $2.28.) Okay, that's still more than I would normally spend on a card, because I'm a cheapskate and buy my cards at the Dollar Tree. But overall I'm pretty okay with spending a whopping $1.50 to give the kid a book they'll read over and over again instead of a card the parent will read once, keep in a box for a few years out of guilt, and eventually throw away.
#26
Old 08-26-2014, 06:52 PM
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My mother gets invited to lots of baby showers and this happens to her a lot. She always gives one of the picture books I wrote. Probably a disturbingly high percentage of my sales are because of this...
#27
Old 08-26-2014, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anu-la1979 View Post
FTR, not that I planned to punish a baby over minor tackiness but I read through The Bump and it appears that a lot of expecting moms ended up unknowingly caught up book-not-a-card-and-here's-my-registry-too etiquette bind because this is a thing all over Pinterest now and their hostesses apparently did it without their knowledge.
Bolding mine.

I have a friend who had a shower thrown for her against her will. It was her second child and she doesn't believe in showers for second babies (I agree, but that's another thread). Her first child was a boy and now she was having a girl, so I guess her friend felt justified in throwing her another shower. I think her friend was just super worked up from her recent separation and wanted to throw a party, but I digress. The honoree's mother and sister quietly let it be known that she would really prefer that people not spend a lot of money on this shower and that Goodwill was a perfectly acceptable place to shop. She got some of the loveliest gifts I have ever seen. Goodwill had loads of gently used clothes, blankets, toys and books. I bought a handmade baby blanket that seemed like brand new. In fact, my friend asked me if I made it.

I like a book shower, but register for them. I loved the idea of the Goodwill shower and may some day make use of it myself.

Last edited by minionkat; 08-26-2014 at 07:06 PM. Reason: reasons, nothing more than reasons.
#28
Old 08-26-2014, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Supposedly, guests to baby showers should be close friends and family. If you are too chintzy to spring for a couple of gifts for their baby, then you probably should decline the invitation, which is okay, and sends the message that you aren't really as close to them as they apparently think you are.

Children's books are our normal gift to friends' baby showers. We normally give about 10 favorite books that our own children liked as kids.
It isn't about being chintzy. I am happy to splurge on expensive gifts for new babies, and would likely buy several books as part of a larger gift. It's the greed and entitlement behind asking that I despise. It's supposed to be a celebration, not a fundraiser.
#29
Old 08-26-2014, 08:27 PM
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Nothing wrong with a book shower and nothing wrong with giving a book as a gift or as part of a gift. Asking for a book in addition to another gift is what's wrong. Some people like to write cards to the mother. Maybe they want to write something that would not be appropriate for a child to read.
#30
Old 08-26-2014, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AnaMen View Post
It isn't about being chintzy. I am happy to splurge on expensive gifts for new babies, and would likely buy several books as part of a larger gift. It's the greed and entitlement behind asking that I despise. It's supposed to be a celebration, not a fundraiser.
It's not greed and entitlement. It's a request for you to share something personal and educational with your friend/family member and their child. It's cool if you think to give books as a gift but most of us like to buy off the registry (because let's face it - to start off you really need onsies and burp cloths and bottles. Fuck books at 3 AM with a 2-month-old.) and a $5 book instead of a $4 card is a nice addition to your generous registry gift.

They're not asking you for silver coins, or turning you away at the door if you don't show up with a book. Lighten up.

Last edited by ZipperJJ; 08-26-2014 at 10:35 PM.
#31
Old 08-26-2014, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cher3 View Post
So they not only asked for a gift, they asked for two gifts and specified what one of them should be? I'm in the camp that thinks that any request beyond the pleasure of your company is tacky, especially if the shower is being thrown by the honoree. That being said, I like the idea of a book shower. Mainly because I always buy books for baby showers anyway. [emp. added]

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnaMen View Post
A book AND another gift? Definitely gift-grabby. And I'm not clear on who hosted the shower... If they were hosting their own, ugh. [emp. added]
Seriously, hosting your own shower? I'm glad I've never been invited to one of those. I had to talk a couple of people down from throwing bridal showers for me, because I already had two of everything, since DH and I had just moved in together after living on our own for a combined 23 years.

I also had to discourage baby showers, because we had gotten so much hand me down stuff, since the boychik has four slightly older boy cousins, and we have I can't count how many friends who had toddlers when I was pregnant. We had a rented storage unit full of hand-me-downs. Plus, I still had all my childhood picture books, and my mother bought a ton more.

Since we knew we were having a boy, we knew we'd be getting gifts at the bris, and some would be cash gifts.

So, I guess not everyone is so lucky, and some people need stuff, but there has to be a better way. They seriously don't have a friend they can surreptitiously ask to host?
#32
Old 08-26-2014, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
It's not greed and entitlement. It's a request for you to share something personal and educational with your friend/family member and their child. It's cool if you think to give books as a gift but most of us like to buy off the registry (because let's face it - to start off you really need onsies and burp cloths and bottles. Fuck books at 3 AM with a 2-month-old.) and a $5 book instead of a $4 card is a nice addition to your generous registry gift.

They're not asking you for silver coins, or turning you away at the door if you don't show up with a book. Lighten up.
I share because I WANT to, not because someone has dictated to me how they want me to share with them. If something is a " nice addition" to my "generous registry gift," that's my call, not theirs. Demanding presents is virtually the definition of greedy and entitled.
#33
Old 08-27-2014, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by AnaMen View Post
I share because I WANT to, not because someone has dictated to me how they want me to share with them. If something is a " nice addition" to my "generous registry gift," that's my call, not theirs. Demanding presents is virtually the definition of greedy and entitled.
Or at very least rude and ill mannered.

The polite fiction is that cards are chosen or written carefully, read by the recipient in full, and you put them in a box and treasure the sentiment. And as someone who doesn't use cards, and instead writes a personal note for every wedding, shower, funeral or birthday I acknowledge, its a polite fiction I do my part to maintain. The other part of "bring a book instead of a card" is "I don't care about the sentiment, I want stuff."

If a card weren't necessary at all, you could just put a Christmas style "to: from:" tag on it (and for most events, just a from: tag). That would be cheaper and easier for everyone and cut to the chase - the gift. So if we want to get rid of the fiction that anyone treasures cards (and part of the issue is that some people do treasure cards), lets just get rid of them entirely, not replace them with a secondary gift.
#34
Old 08-27-2014, 09:27 AM
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Can't we just ask for cash instead? PayPal is convenient and we'll upload some pics, so you don't actually have to come all the way over town.

Put me with the cool-but-don't-specify-you-want-both crowd.
#35
Old 08-27-2014, 10:29 AM
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How about just specifying you'd prefer two gifts instead of one and a card? If asking for a gift and a book is reasonable, letting them choose freely for the second gift is even more so, right?
#36
Old 08-27-2014, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by anu-la1979 View Post
I wish I'd known this last year when I got married! Then I could have sent out invites with "in lieu of a card that will get thrown out, it would be much more meaningful if you bought me a $2.99 napkin or something off of my Kindle wish-list. God bless."
Now that you've said that, I can imagine that being a trend. Or it could be to ask for pantry staples, since a lot of registries are asking for kitchen stuff. Or just straight up asking for the cash instead of a card. If a wedding has 150 guests and each gave $3 in addition to their gifts, that would equal up to $450. Or I guess if that was 75 couples, it'd still be $225, still a nice addition to the gifts for the bride and groom.
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