White House Gift Shop

Please don't buy this COVID-19 commemorative coin

Are you the sort of person who has spent their socially-distanced time indoors quieting your rising sense of existential dread with compulsive online shopping? Of course you are — you're only human, and to be human is to fight against the blackness gnawing at the edges of your soul by treating yourself whenever able to shiny baubles and useless tchotchkes in the hopes of easing the sobering realization that things these days are bad beyond the limits of human comprehension.

And yet, despite the all-too-understandable need to self-soothe by way of expensive ephemera, I must implore you: Do not under any circumstances buy this painfully stupid commemorative COVID-19 coin.

White House Gift Shop

For starters, I ask simply: What the hell? What the hell is this thing? Why does it exist? What possible use could it have beyond flinging at a squirrel rummaging through your trash can, or perhaps un-wobbling a wobbly stool?

Then there's the text itself: "WORLD vs VIRUS" like some sort of heavyweight boxing championship. As one of my colleagues pointed out when I brought this cursed image to our Slack chat: "In the world vs virus coin artwork, the virus seems to be beating the world." Indeed, from the looks of the coin, the novel form of the COVID-19 coronavirus has already overwhelmed all of Europe, West Africa, parts of South America, and the entire Atlantic Ocean. Hardly the sort of victory worth commemorating in useless currency.

Still, if you're the sort of person who is inspired by glib, meaningless, and weirdly capitalized inspirational quotes, you could do much worse than: "Everyday HEROES suited up. Everyday CITIZENS did their part." Does it sound like something out of Starship Troopers? It sure does. Would your money be better spent buying the VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, and Laserdisc versions of Starship Troopers? Almost certainly.

So let's talk price here, people. Specifically, the fact that buying this limited edition item ("includes custom White House black velvet coin case and two-piece White House Gift Shop outer gift presentation box") will run you a cool hundred bucks — incredibly, a 25% savings from its initial price of $125.

For what it's worth (specifically, apparently, $125) the White House Gift Shop's website claims that 100% of the money will be "donated to five major COVID-19 research hospitals." Which is nice, I suppose, but probably not really helpful in comparison to the billions upon billions of federal funds being put toward coronavirus research.

Notably, the White House Gift Shop, which bills itself as the "only original official" shop of its kind, is not actually a governmental agency. It was established by decree from President Harry S. Truman in 1946 but is now a private entity and is not related to the Trump administration in any official way. That's probably why it can get away with selling other coins in its "historic moment art history" series, including one entitled "GENIUS MAKES ITS OWN RULES" (yes, all caps) featuring the monograph "President Donald J. Trump: a Study in Genius"

Friends, I know being cooped up inside is simply inflaming our underlying desire to spend money on shit we don't need. But, if you absolutely must spend $100 on something, buy yourself a fancy meal, have it delivered, and give your driver a nice, well-earned tip.