um…AWKWARD: the new rules of regifting.

5 02 2011
mad men chip & dip.

it's a chip & dip. we got two.

so yesterday i wrote a little post about gift cards, and i showed off my sexy little stash of paper and plastic tickets to paradise.  well, last night after i put up the post, i was inspired to take stock of my collection and realized that this xmas, i had received a $50 gift certificate to go see a show at a local theater.  the paper clearly advertised “any show in the 2010-2011 season!”, and it occurred to me that i should probably go to their website and figure out which show i wanted to see in advance, so i didn’t end up having to see driving miss daisy or some other old people shit. so i’m browsing their 2010-2011 shows and i realize…

THEIR 2010-2011 SEASON ENDED ON JANUARY 23RD!

now, i got a lot of shit the last time i complained about bad gifts, and this particular gesture was in essence not entirely different (in terms of thoughtlessness) than giving me a plasti-stone statuette of polar bears. but, there’s just something about realizing that you’ve been regifted  that makes you feel like complete crap! especially when it’s something that you actually want,  and then you realize that it’s expired and that you were essentially gifted a colorful piece of paper that the original recipient didn’t want.  it’s sort of the holiday equivalent of getting punk’d.

but, we live in a culture of constant and unnecessary consumption. every time i go to the goodwill, i think “if the universe never produced another basket for the next 10,000 years, we would still be ok”. at least with a regift,  you’re not directly supporting the avalanche of pointless and unwanted consumer goods that bury us every holiday season.  in theory, regifting is a good idea. so why does it feel so bad?

1. a regift says- “this wasn’t good enough for me, but i’m sure it’ll be fine for you”.

2. an obvious regift makes the recipient feel like they weren’t worthy of you spending any time or money on them.

3. if you don’t want it, there’s a good chance that it kind of sucks.

so keeping these things in mind, i decided to make up my own rules of regifting:

1. BE TRANSPARENT. if you only follow one of these rules, let it be this one.  whether you just let people know that you’re broke, or you make hilarious custom gift tags exclaiming that you’re regifting as a statement against rampant consumer excess… one of the best ways to avoid a catastrophic gift giving faux pas is to tell the truth about the origin of the gift up front.

2. don’t regift something that you wouldn’t have otherwise bought the person you are giving it to. no, really. nobody wants that slap chop your gramma gave you. NOBODY.

3. make sure that your regift is still mint in package, or at least still just as cool out of the package.

4. by the same token, whether it’s food or cosmetics or a gift certificate of some sort… make sure that your regift is not expired (or expiring soon). otherwise, you’re essentially regifting your garbage.

in short, there is no shame if regifting. in fact, it’s actually a really good idea. just make sure you’re being as thoughtful and considerate about it as you would if you were buying that gift at the store. and for the love of god, take that slap chop to the goodwill before somebody gets hurt.

what’s the worst regift you every got (or possibly ever gave if you’d like to repent for your sins)?

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6 responses

6 02 2011
Melanie

Oooooh. That’s terrible. How could someone give such a short dated gift to such a lovely person like you? You should scratch their name off your Christmas card list for sure!!

I’ve received some interesting regifts in my lifetime, but the best one by far was an already opened bottle of KY. At first I thought it was a joke, but after a long awkward silence I realized that they were waiting for my look of joy. Who gives KY as a gift? Who gives a USED bottle of KY as a gift??? Uggh.

9 02 2011
bessmarvin

holy crap. my jaw is literally on the ground… like i had to read that several times just to make sure that i understood the content! maybe the person didn’t know what it was for? did they think it was hand cream? or hair gel? there has to be a reasonable explanation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8 02 2011
Elisa

We are REALLY lucky I adore you because you have impugned the name of the Slap Chop and that is truly my FAVORITE gadget in my entire kitchen. Food processor, blender…yes even my slow cooker and the Slap Chop. I want to be buried with that thing.

I hate chopping vegetables THAT MUCH. 😉

15 02 2011
bessmarvin

i am desperately sorry to have offended you. in truth, i have never actually used the slap chop… although there was a point where “shamwow vince” was the number one search that lead people to my blog… i should probably talk less smack. also, i hate chopping- maybe i need a slap chop of my own?

23 02 2011
annebrunt

My now-husband and I received a rice-cooker as a housewarming gift from my aunt. We opened the box to discover a card. “To a Very Special Couple” it said. How nice, I thought. Unfortunately, the “Special Couple” was my aunt and her husband, neither of whom I gather, had bothered to open the box the first time, or look at the card clearly addressed to them.

26 02 2011
bessmarvin

hey, at least you got a rice cooker out of it. i wouldn’t mind so much being regifted a present that i wanted! although not taking out the card is pretty tacky. ok, VERY TACKY.

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