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foodonastump

Please stop with the gift cards!

foodonastump
2 months ago

I’ve always hated gift cards. They deduct fees until they’re worthless. They expire. If they are store specific, they attempt to force me to shop at that store.

I cleaned out two junk drawers yesterday. Among other treasures, I acummulated a stack of gift cards. This morning I made phone calls to check balances. Most of them zero at this point. A gift to Corporate America, not to me. I’d guess close to $1000, adding to the billions of dollars that get lost every year.

Please consider mailing a check if you’re not going to see a person. It’s no less personal than picking up a gift card at a checkout line. Maybe it’s even more personal - you had to write their name and sign yours! If they lose it or don’t cash it in time, fine, least you didn’t waste money! If you see them in person, consider cash. That will never go unused!

I get it, choosing gifts is hard and we want people to get enjoyment from our gifts. Money may be impersonal but it’s appreciated. Please don’t kid yourself that there’s more thought behind gift cards. And while I admit that I’m at fault for losing all this value, clearly it’s not just a ”me” problem. I repeat, BILLIONS of dollars wasted.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gift-cards-unspent-christmas-2023/

Comments (110)

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    2 months ago

    In case no one has answered the question yet (I have not read the entire thread): the law passed in 2010 only put limits on expirations and inactivity fees; cards can't expire until 5 years after activated, but fees can be assessed against the card after one year.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    2 months ago

    Olychick, that happened to me. Back when Playstation still had their Vue streaming service, I bought two gift cards at Sam's club. One of them was "used" when I tried to apply it to my account. Sony/Playstation was no help. Fortunately, I hadn't opened the other one and took them both back to Sam's; they checked the unopened one and found that it was also "used" and refunded me for both.

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  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 months ago

    " . They deduct fees until they’re worthless. They expire. If they are store specific, they attempt to force me to shop at that store. "'

    Yeah, they force you to shop at that store, but I don't see any gift cards deducting fees or expiring. Maybe it's a Canadian thing.

    That being said, the only time I can remember giving gift cards was to building staff in the building's I've lived. Usually they were gift cards to the liquor store, or to Home Depot if I knew they didn't drink.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    2 months ago

    Wouldn't it be great if more people were interested reading in the many articles, newsletters, PSAs and such being put out there informing people about gift card scams and hidden fees?

    My credit union & credit card companies have provided such helpful info in emails & newsletters they send out, and I often see news & magazine articles online warning about this stuff too.

    Latest PSA warning I've seen is about a credit card scam called 'shimming', being found at local ATMs for instance.

  • Lars
    2 months ago

    <Something about waving or presenting cash that seems fueled by braggadocio.>

    Wave and present all you want - it will never offend me. I will be offended if you give me a gift card, however, partly because I know you don't care whether I will use it or not, as you have already made clear, and at best I would donate to charity or regift it, although I would prefer just to return it to you, to let you know not to bother again in the future.

  • faftris
    2 months ago

    I send e-gift cards when appropriate to people who live far away if I cannot shop at a store that is in their area. It would be difficult and expensive for them to ship back a gift that didn't fit or whatever. I buy the cards for stores that they would like to patronize, and I don't feel guilty about it, because the cost of mailing packages is so expensive. I can increase the amount of the gift instead of spending my money at the post office. I have never had a complaint.

  • arkansas girl
    2 months ago

    To all you people that don't want gift cards, I will gladly take all of them off of your hands. Send them to me. I'm not so rich that gift cards mean nothing to ME! I can't imagine...must be nice is all I can say!

  • User
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I definitely care that my daughter uses the money I give to her. What I don’t care about is how she uses it. She can use it on a holiday, or a home improvement, or donate it, or just put it in the bank. It’s a gift. She knows how to do a financial transaction. Same with graduation gifts, wedding gifts etc. for family members. Designating that it is to be spent at a certain business whether by giftcard or

    sending funds to a specific business doesn’t seem right to me. Cash is zero problems.

    I also think there are different guidelines on gift giving to family members and gift giving to friends and acquaintances. I rarely give gifts to friends ( unless I find a killer gift that just screams that it is meant for them but I don’t go looking for stuff for friends and I love when they give something like that to me) Gifts between friends are lunches, card games, golfing and each other’s company.

    eta Sorry FOAS for straying away from the subject of giftcards.

  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I’m kind of regretting the title and tone of my first post. I was a little frustrated, having made over a dozen calls and finding how little value I had from all these cards. Disappointing for me, and I feel bad knowing that many of these were gifts, from people who spent money to be nice, but whose efforts went to waste. For straight money I personally feel there are safer options than bank cards that can lose value, for store cards I just would recommend considering if it's really something the person will readily use. That’s all!

  • User
    2 months ago

    FOAS, like I said, I think the giver of a giftcard has their heart in the right place.

  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Of course.

  • marylmi
    2 months ago

    I love receiving gift cards! Usually when you give someone a gift card, you know them well enough to make it a card they would use and if i dont use them then thats on me…. but i happily use the ones i get!

  • Cherryfizz
    2 months ago

    I love gift cards most of the time. I am not sure if it is all across Canada or just Ontario our gift cards do not have expiry dates or fees taken except for maybe Visa gift card which I never buy. My brother loves woodworking as a hobby so I always get him a card for Lowes or Home Depot so he can buy wood and I always give my cousin a gas card or a card for a thrift store she likes or Walmart. My nephews love getting Google Play cards. My brother always gifts me an Amazon gift card because he has no clue what to gift even though I tell him he does not have to give me a gift. There was only one time when I got a gift certificate I never used. After my Mom died my Euchre club thought I needed some pampering so they gave me a certificate for a spa day at a posh salon. It is something at that time I would never have used. I put it away and forgot about it until I opened a box last year and found it. Boy, did I feel guilty for not using it after they spent the money. I still might contact the salon and see if it is still good as they did get the money. Jasdip, I also have money left on a Red Lobster card I was given years ago but just never seem to get there to use it

  • amylou321
    2 months ago

    I have a wallet full of gift cards. I get them from work for various occasions, mostly generic Visa ones, a couple Publix ones around the holidays instead of a turkey, etc. VERY seldom have I been given a gift card from an individual as an actual gift for an occasion. Around Christmas, some of the truck drivers will get all of us gift cards from Starbucks. I have never been to Starbucks, but I have a nephew that LOVES Starbucks, so mine get passed on to him or coworkers in other departments that I know like it. I have some from my sister that she got that she will never use that I might. I just never remember that I have them. I have had 50 bucks worth of publix cards in my wallet since November, and have been to Publix dozens of times since then, I just forget. The only gift "card" I was given recently was a rather large Amazon one from my coworkers at Christmas. THAT is one that will never fail to get used for sure. In fact, it was depleted before I finished my shift the same night I was presented with it.


    I do not dislike getting gifts of any kind. Gift cards are kinda annoying in that its very difficult to use the exact amount without wasting any. I always try to remember to swipe my "leftovers" at Walmart when I go grocery shopping, as theirs is a system that will just take the balance off a gift card,apply it to the total and move on without fuss or fiddle faddle.


    Gift card fraud story: Last year, I and a coworker friend of mine entered the team weight loss competition. Even though we lost the weight loss part of it, we WON the team name contest (Weapons of Mass Reduction) and with that win came a $50 gift card for each of us. Well, the first thing I do when giving a gift card is call to confirm the balance. Mine was ZERO. Upon further investigation, it seems that the card was purchased at a grocery store, and the number had indeed been swiped and stolen and used already. At an online clothing store I have never heard of. Visa replaced the card, but still. Thieves are scum. One must be careful.

  • JoanM
    2 months ago

    I try not to give gift cards to adults anymore. I figure if I know you well enough to buy a gift, I should just put some thought into it. When all else fails I send consumables. I don’t mind receiving a gift card if it is for something I use. When I receive an amazon card, I send a photo of what I bought with a thank you.


    However, if you insist on giving me a gift card for something I never use 🤷‍♀️


    This is $300 worth of car wash cards because ”your cars are filthy” 😂

    Well guess what? My cars are not dirty because I am poor, it’s because I just don’t care. If I wanted to remove all my personal items and spend time waiting for a detail, well then I would have a clean car. This isn’t rocket science.


    This thread inspired me to go look in the drawer so thanks. I have a feeling this location closed or sold during covid though.


    If these were amazon cards I would have used them. Now when I get a visa GC, I give it to DH and he applies it to the cell phone bill. I find them annoying to use in stores so I used to waste those as well. I will give him these car cards too.

  • arkansas girl
    2 months ago

    So, Amazon gift cards is the clear winner....LOL! I would love to have some car wash gift cards. At our favorite car wash, it is $18 for the deluxe wash! I just think that's crazy expensive. I can get a month wash for $45 and wash as many as 30 times in a month.

  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I’ll take an Amazon card any day! Go online, plug in the numbers, and next time I think of something I’d like but normally might not splurge on for myself, buy it! Done!

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    2 months ago

    FWIW, I like eBay even better than Amazon - there are many of the same items - sometimes even the same vendors - for even less, and with free shipping as well.

    Ebay's also a great resource for replacement parts for products no longer available from manufacturers.

  • lucillle
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I recently saved a little money by buying some bicycle brake levers on Ebay, instead of Amazon, both had free shipping. But after I ordered I found the Ebay vendor's free shipping was economy, and with the handling time and shipping it will be twelve days before they arrive. Not a big deal, but I've been spoiled by Amazon's shipping speeds.

  • chloebud
    2 months ago

    Love the eGift cards I’ve received for Amazon.

    JoanM, we often buy car wash gift cards for stocking stuffers. Those do get used.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    I think it depends on the situation. If I try to buy gifts for my niece's kids who lives in another state, I will likely get the wrong size or toys they already have or something she doesn't want them to have, an Amazon Gift Card that she can use to buy gifts for the whole family is the best gift I can give her.


    Her giving me an Amazon Gift Card in return would feel like I just gave her less to spend on the family. I can afford to buy what I want. When she sends me a card with a picture drawn by each of the kids and calls me to wish me Merry Christmas it is 100 times better than a gift card could ever be.


    All too often I find that gift cards are given as a quick and easy answer where someone doesn't want to take the time and effort to find a great gift. It is the easy way out.


    One of my favorite gifts that I get every year is from my ex sister in law. She has been divorced from my brother for almost 40 years, but every Christmas she stops at my house and gives me a card and a package of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. She remembers that they were my favorite candy as a kid. She will stay and visit for 15 or 20 minutes, ask how I am doing, ask to see what projects I am doing in the house and gives me a hug and tells me she loves me. A $100 gift card dropped in the mail wouldn't feel nearly as special.


  • amylou321
    2 months ago

    I can understand why gift cards seem lazy and unthoughtful to some. However, I disagree. I am picky about stuff. I have um, we will say specific tastes in things. I cringe when I think back at all the stuff a former coworker used to buy me for birthdays and holidays. None of it was anything I would want, and most of those gifts were trashed or donated. I was grateful for the thought and the effort. But it was wasted, because the gift was unwanted. I suppose gift cards could meet the same fate, but I always saw actual gift cards, (not the reward cards I get from work or rebates, actual gifts from people) as very thoughtful. If I were to give a gift card (though I cannot remember ever doing so) it would be with the intention that I want them to have something nice that they 100% want. But I want it to be from me. Its no different than asking someone what they want and then going to buy it, or buying something off a registry. Of course they can be very telling. If someone gives you an off the wall gift card to somewhere that you would never use it, well that person does not know you well at all do they? I got a gift certificate for a massage and a mani/pedi at a local day spa once. Clearly this person who gave it to me, who had known me for years, really did not know me at all. I hate the thought of a stranger touching me, gross. I have had one pedicure my entire life and I almost kicked the poor girl in the face because I am extremely ticklish and hated it. I have no objection to a manicure, but no patience for it either. I keep my own nails clean and trimmed, and have no desire to walk around with 3 inch neon raptor claws collecting bacteria. I gave it away to one of my lady truck drivers, who always sports such nails and she was thrilled with it. So I guess it came in handy. The trucker in question told me she is a practicing witch, and ever since then she always casts little protection spells over me and gives me charms and bags of strange looking dried plants and instructions on how to use them to bring good things to my life.



    I love Amazon, eBay, Etsy. I have wish/watch lists on ALL those sights and others. When I get a gift card to one of those, I am so happy to be able to get something off my list from someone else. To me, it is very thoughtful. And no worry about having to unload unwanted stuff. Because I picked it out.


    Also, it takes the pressure off having to use gifts. That same coworker used to buy me earrings and scarves and things that I would NEVER have chosen. But every time I knew I would see her, I felt obligated to wear them. And she was so happy about it. I was not, but I would never want to hurt anyones feelings. As soon as she quit and I knew I wouldn't see her again, boom! I got that stuff out of the way.


  • rob333 (zone 7b)
    2 months ago

    Trashed gifts? Not even donated?

  • Ninapearl
    2 months ago

    I am picky about stuff

    this describes my d-i-l to a T!! i wouldn't presume to buy her any article of clothing because it would end up at goodwill for sure. in the past, i have bought her things i had heard her mention that she wanted but for the most part, she gets amazon gift cards and is thrilled with them.

  • amylou321
    2 months ago

    I said "trashed or donated."

  • lucillle
    2 months ago

    She will stay and visit for 15 or 20 minutes, ask how I am doing, ask to see what projects I am doing in the house and gives me a hug and tells me she loves me. A $100 gift card dropped in the mail wouldn't feel nearly as special.


    I don't think that gift cards are necessarily a substitute for personal interaction. You can visit someone and still give them a gift card.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    2 months ago

    My husband gave me a $100.00 visa gift card for my birthday one year. He wasn't working at the time, so essentially he bought me a visa gift card with my money. Really? Thanks but no thanks.


    My brother gave me a home depot gift card when I moved into my home. It was a thoughtful gift.


    My sister's husband got her a gift card for a spa. She loves a massage.

    This was a thoughtful gift.


    I have bought generic type gift cards when the person I am buying a gift for is not someone I know well. Co-workers, business associates, distant relatives. Amazon cards are great because they can get almost anything.


    Sometimes they are thoughtful, sometimes they are the quick and easy.

  • Lulu
    2 months ago

    I love gift cards and we are not rich enough to never use them. if I have one, i will use it.

  • HU-127064464
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Cash is Crass?

    I don't do amazon, same for ebay, etsy (is it?), etc.

    If you give one o' them cards to me, there's only one thing I can do with it - give it to someone that I hope can use it.

    Same for physical stores, especially ones that I, lacking a car, don't want to be chained into visiting.

    Don't like activation fees, fees for delay in usage, or expiry. If it expires unused ... the issuer is totally off the hook, has received a free gift!!!

    I'll expire, myself, one of these days: what use would my family, executors, etc. want to be bothered with?

    Cash goes everywhere (unless it's dinars, rubles or rupees), can be used for whatever you choose.

    Why make loans with no interest to the tied providers with nothing for the purchaser/(recipient)? And we all know that the credit card issuers don't do much for free.

    My friends gave me some Currency for Christmas - I can use it as I choose: to pay rent, part of my furnace oil bill, permanent stamps in quantity for letters that I send, cab fare (as I love in the country - no, at an advanced age that's improbable, that's "LIVE in the country and don't have a car, cab fare is usually $50. - $60. each way), or a gratuity to kind people who go out of their way or even make a special trip to share their car with me for a few minutes when this old hitchhiker is hauling a few bags of groceries home. Well over half of the folks who offer me a ride are (almost entirely at least middle-aged or older) females. Can one offer a credit card to them?

    Or to pay for those groceries .. or even a new belt to hold my pants (carrying a wallet full of cards) up: have you tried hitchhiking in saggy pants?!

    CASH ... IS ... KING!!!

    ole joyful

  • HU-127064464
    2 months ago

    Wow!

    Didn't you just really start something, foas!!

    o j


  • claudia valentine
    2 months ago

    gift giving through these cards can get so ridiculous when you both give and recieve gift cards. Sometimes it just a simple exchange of the same thing!

    I hate gift giving and recieving! I opt to step aside from it entirely! Most of those that i wold be likely to give a gift to have no need nor desire for anything and gift giving is such a troubled pursuit. If someone is real need and I give them something, I dont consider it a gift as much as i consider it to be more of a sharing and caring kind of thing.

    No giving and no recieving-----------works for me! I so very much dislike the whole affair!

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 months ago

    " Most of those that i wold be likely to give a gift to have no need nor desire for anything "

    I doubt that's true. Everyone has a desire for something that they don't have, even if they tell you they don't. Even you have a desire for something you don't have, whether or not you admit it. One of my most remembered gifts was given to me for my 30th birthday - a container of my favourite light iced tea mix. It was being withdrawn from the market and I was searching for any remaining on the shelves and a friend found one. Getting that $4 item showed me how well he knew me and what I "desired" at that time. Simple and meaningful.

    " sharing and caring kind of thing "

    Yeah, that's what giving a gift is -- giving something to someone else and not expecting anything inn return. If you do expect something in return,then it's not really a gift that you've given them.

    " No giving and no recieving-----------works for me! "

    What do you do if someone gives you a gift? Do you give it back to them and say you don't want it?

  • sushipup2
    2 months ago

    I have trouble being the recipient of gifts. I have a lovely neighbor who is a good friend, too. Here at this stage of my life when I am trying to get rid of 'stuff' she is always trying to give me little stuff, like fancy book markers (I tend to use receipts or post-it notes) and hand-made jewelry (I only wear real gold/silver/diamonds and that's only when I get really dressed up, never costume jewelry) and countless other geegaws. I have had a serious talk with her and she's better now. My son and DIL tried to give us gifts, like an indoor door mat that I knew the dog would chew up, I think they have learned. I tell people not to give presents, and I get pretty blunt sometimes. A couple of years ago, despite my warnings, Jim's cousin gave me a really ugly woolen knit for Christmas. It sat on the table and the dog snatched it and tore it up pretty quickly.


    If you want to give me a gift, take me out to lunch or dinner, give me the gift of your time. That means more. A good friend and I send each other the best birthday cards, and I know that we both spend time making a choice.

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    2 months ago

    " I have had a serious talk with her and she's better now. "

    This is a good point.......I was away while a storm was expected, so I emailed my neighbour and asked if they would clear any windrows at the foot of my driveway, should they develop while I was away. I didn't need the driveway cleared if it was just 3" or so, because I could drive over it, but the windrows from snowplows would be a problem.

    He cleared that heavy snow accumulation, and in thanks I baked a small chocolate cake and included some bacon brittle I had made. I believe it made them quite uncomfortable to get it, and they asked me not to do it again. I agreed, and just said that I felt I was unable to return the neighbourly favours (he's in a family of 3 and younger, I'm solo and older), but he should ask for my help if needed. Bottom line: tell them what you want, especially if what you want is no gifts.

  • sushipup2
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I really don't want to appear cold, but I hate people wasting time and money on things that are not wanted. Sometimes I'll buy some ginger cookies for my neighbor when I shop at Trader Joe's, and she'll give me a ride when my car is in the shop. That's a comfortable level of give-and-take.

    I say this as I am digging thru junk and trying to get rid of accumulated 'stuff'.

  • claudia valentine
    last month

    Toronto, I want NOTHING! If I do happen to want something, I will just buy it.

    It dont want to ponder on what someone would iike and I dont want them pondering what I might like, either. Fortunately .for me, I dont live with a lot of gift giving folks. So fending off unwanted gifts in not a problem. It is not something that i and any of my friends engage in and my family knows the score. I dont think they feel that they are missing anything. My family are perfectly happy to NOT buy me things and I am prefectly happy not buying them things.

    I am trying to get rid of things, not acquire more.

    I have other things going on in life and dont care a fig about what anyones innermost desire for anything is and wont waste one minute of my life contemplating what that might be, or, shopping for it!

    People have to darned much stuff already! Enough!!!

    I have always disliked the entire concept and so I set myself, almost, completely free from it!


    It is stil the young grandkids that get gifts from Grandma. And, as of this year, that is all changing, too. I told both of my kids that i am buying no more plastic toy stuff for their kids after about a decade of wasting my time shopping for it and of paying for it. And, all the kids do is face plant into the IPad, anyway and most of those expensive toys end up under the bed until someone throws them out because all 500 pieces are scattered everywhere! Once they get all this plastic toy out of the staged packaging, all it is is just another plastic toy much like the last one. THE END of that! I need to conserve my funds and will have only a meager income if I am left a widow. Neither I, not their parents found it easy to find something to thrill them that they dont already have. When no one can think of anything that the child might want, you know that you are living in the first world. Even the kids have no idea.

  • claudia valentine
    last month

    Toronto wrote, "Everyone has a desire for something that they don't have, even if they tell you they don't. Even you have a desire for something you don't have, whether or not you admit it. ".


    For goodness sakes! If even they dont know what their desire is or dont wish to share it, why should I trouble myself trying to figure that out !?

    And, NO. I have no desire for any of it. Nada, zilch, nothing, zero...........not me. And I am not going to try to map out the secret desires of someone else and am immensely grateful that they return the favor. How cryptic!


    What a waste of life's fleeting moments and resources to boggle the mind to do that!


    It is not even as if there are still real stores and shopping venues anymore, either. Browsing and mingling in the market place used to be part of the shopping experience, but nowadays the malls are shuttered and the big box stores dominate the landscape and they are full of trashy junk, obnoxious overhead noise and the same junk at each of them. Most burbs have no downtown to speak of and there are few opportunities for public mingling unless you choose to hang out at Walmart.

    i actually use to rather enjoy browsing through Target once in a while, until they changed the product line and added overhead noise to the mix. I used to value Target as one place that was blissfully free of that aggravation.

    Now, I go in and do what I came to do and get out! Shopping to find something to satisfy someones unknown, secret, or cryptic desire is not on my agenda. No desire I have in life can be satisfied with a shopping trip or wrapped in paper with a bow.

  • Ninapearl
    last month

    @claudia valentine, i could have written your last post!! i hate to shop, i don't even like going to the grocery store but my dogs insist on peanut butter so, there's that! 😉

    i pretty much limit my gift giving to my son, his wife and my 7 year old grandson. my grandson, over the past few months, has taken up the guitar and has become passionate about it. my son has played guitar since he was in grade school so he is teaching his son the ropes. little gabe has recently also become interested in the workings of old record players and recently found a small "suitcase" record player at a music store. he took it to school a couple of weeks ago for show and tell. his teacher posted pictures and videos on facebook of him explaining it and demonstrating it to his classmates who were enthralled as not a single one of them had ever seen such a thing. ahhh, the good ole days!

    they visited last weekend and i sat through a 1 hour youtube video of a guy restoring an ancient bass guitar from a piece of junk to a lovely instrument. listening to gabe explain everything this guy was doing had me marveling at his excitement.




  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    last month

    Gift giving seems to be an art form, some people are great at it, others not so much. For the latter, the stress of it can take the joy out of both giving and receiving. I suspect we’re seeing some of that on this thread.

    Often when visiting my sister I’ll see something interesting that stands out, whether something hanging on a wall, a new item in the kitchen, or anything really, and when I ask about it, it turns out to be a gift from a friend. She obviously has friends who are great at gift giving, and she truly enjoys them. Fortunately she’s fairly good at reciprocating. She, as well as many of her friends, are very well off. Nobody “needs” anything, but they find joy in giving and receiving thoughtful gifts and I think it’s great. None of it is junk just given out of obligation.

    I’m not good along those lines. Once in a while I’ll come across something that “has someone’s name written all over it” and I’m thrilled to get it for them. And if someone finds something like that for me, great. But to feel forced to find a gift because I know they’ll be giving me another sweatshirt I may or may not like just because it’s Christmas, yeah I could do without all that.

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Some people love giving/receiving gifts, others obviously do not, but I think imposing one's own preferences on others is poor etiquette either way.

    Not suggesting anybody HAS to give gifts if they'd rather not, tho. IMO, a nice greeting card is an acceptable substitute.

  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    last month

    “but I think imposing one's own preferences on others is poor etiquette either way.”

    Which side wins? We’ve been trying for years to stop the gift giving between us and my inlaws. My MIL can’t seem to help it, she just has to show up with a pile of gifts during the holidays. So we feel obligated to reciprocate but continue to beg them to stop. Who is trying to impose their preference on whom?

  • User
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FOAS, smile, accept the gifts, tell her that you are not one to shop for gifts (if you want), don’t feel obligated to buy her anything, show her a good time during her visit. Done. It doesn’t have to be about winning.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    Gift giving or getting shouldn't be a power struggle. I realize many relationships can have it, but it's always sad to see it spelled out.

  • lucillle
    last month

    I have fond memories of the little handmade gifts given to me by my children.

  • User
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Me too, lucillle!

  • Toronto Veterinarian
    last month

    " but I think imposing one's own preferences on others is poor etiquette either way. "

    Giving a gift is not imposing anything on anyone, unless you're giving them a gift of a charitable donation to something they don't want and would never support. Otherwise, if they don't like it, they can regift it, or sell it, or use it for firewood. It's only imposing your preference on them if you have expectations about how they will or should use it.


  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FOAS just gave an example of imposing - giving gifts to someone who's expressly stated they don't want any.

    And I agree with roxsol - there's no rule that one must reciprocate when given a gift. It's a gift, not a transaction. - the only requirement is a nice 'thank you'.

    Perhaps if there was no gift in return the giver might eventually get the idea...?

  • foodonastump
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    See that’s what I like about random gifts. ”Saw this and thought of you.” That can be thoughtful without making anything awkward. But if there’s someone you know is going to show up with a Christmas gift, no you aren’t technically obligated to reciprocate, but it’s a little awkward not to.

    I like the way my family works, meaning the family I was born into, not the one I created. Nothing is expected beyond getting together. Maybe someone will give or get a gift, but generallty not. We got together for my birthday a few weeks ago, no gifts. Will be getting together for my sister's birthday shortly, I'll have a gift for her. Only because it's something practical I saw on vacation and think she can use at her house.

  • marylmi
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I have an interesting story. A good friend from childhood and I have phone conversations every so often as she lives across the state from me. They have had some medical issues and bills plus i don't think they have a lot of extra money. She always seems a little depressed when we talk so i don't talk about my life and how exciting and good it is now. Her birthday was in November and we always exchange birthday cards but this year i decided to try and perk her up so i sent a check for $100 and told her to get something she has been wanting to buy. well, that backfired because near Christmas i received a package from her with several items that must have taken up the whole hundred! i called and thanked her and said she should have spent the money on herself and she said she wanted to get me something for Christmas. I’m wondering if my well meaning gesture kind of made her feel worse about her situation. Needless to say i won’t be repeating that gesture plus the gifts she sent me I’m sorry to say weren’t gifts i would have bought for myself.

  • claudia valentine
    last month

    mary.....good story!