Returning Gifts: An Emotional Decision

by Ryan Yates

Beauty is in the eye of the gift returner.

Should you return or exchange a gift? It’s a question that hearkens back to the invention of credit cards and the mall.

On one hand, someone took the time and energy to search out that perfect present for you that they were certain would light up your life. They fought through angry mobs of shoppers, they put their lives on the line weaving in and out of traffic, they braved the elements and the danger of the urban jungle to find that single artifact, thought to be lost, but now it has been found. Oh glorious day!

And in their joy, they have offered this most cherished gift to you . . . consider yourself fortunate to have such loving people in your life.

On the other hand, you could return it and get something you actually want.

Don’t panic over this decision, just lay back on the couch as we work through this emotional mess and find the answers together.

Will They Find Out I Returned Their Gift?

My wife and I never (throat clear) return gifts. But if we did, I’m sure the first thing we’d ask ourselves is whether or not the giver of the gift in question would notice that we no longer were in possession of their present.

The giver/recipient relationship is a lot like a dating relationship: no matter how many people say “It was a mutual breakup”, you and I both know that there is no such thing. The same can be said about returning gifts. There’s no such thing as a mutually pleasant gift return; someone always feels hurt.

Before returning a gift, you need to evaluate things like how often the giver visits your home and how visible should the gift be. Is it a tie rack in the back of your closet or a centerpiece display for your dining room table? Is it a shirt, or socks? A decorative painting, or a dvd?

If chances are high that the giver would definitely notice their gift missing from your life, then you may have to bite the bullet and hang on to it.

Don’t Trust the Politeness of the Giver

If the giver tells you that you have the freedom to return their present if you don’t like it – STOP. Don’t take that as a free pass to return or exchange their gift. That line is as flimsy as your wife saying she doesn’t want anything for your anniversary. She does . . . and they don’t really want you to return their gift.

Although they would never admit it, the giver whose gift has been returned feels as lousy as the last kid picked to play schoolyard football. No one wants to be that kid, and no one wants their gift to be the one that was returned.

Because of this, if you decide that a gift must be returned, make sure it is done in absolute secrecy. Or better yet, have a friend return it so you will have plausible deniability. You may even want to develop a backstory as to what happened to the gift in question in the event that the giver notices their gift is gone.

Don’t think of it as a lie, think of it as sheltering someone from heartbreak.

Re-gifting, the Miracle Cure

So maybe the giver would never in a million years notice that their gift is gone. Maybe they told you over and over and over to return it or exchange it for something more useful. And despite all of this, maybe you still can’t bring yourself to return a gift.

Are you feeling ashamed at your selfishness? Do you feel greedy or see yourself as some sort of villain standing in the return line? Do you feel like the spoiled king or queen of a materialistic society? Don’t.

You can avoid all of this self-loathing by one simple act – re-gift the gift.

You know about re-gifting, right? You re-wrap your useless gift and give it to someone else instead of returning it or condemning it to a garage sale. The gift finds a good home and you did something honorable. Everyone wins.

In Summation

Well, I don’t know if we answered any questions, but at least we cleared the air on some gift-returning issues. If you do decide that returning a gift is the right course of action, happy trails and watch out for those other self-centered people in line with you.

What has been your all-time return or exchange and what did you get for it?

Photo By TheUglySweaterShop

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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