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The rap on bad gift givers


As the author of 1001 Questions To Ask Before You Get Married, it’s my hope to suggest scenarios that increase awareness of subjects and challenge assumptions of how best to deal with them. So, let me tell a little story that ends, not with a conclusion or moral lesson, but a question.

Straight to the point, my husband told me that I’m a bad gift giver. It was his birthday and I apparently gave him a proverbial lump of coal. I wasn’t surprised; I didn’t stand a chance. This is a man who does research before buying a pair of shoes, and I’m not talking about comparison-shopping. He inquires about the item’s country of origin, material composition and the hand to machine labor ratio. The man knows his stuff, and it shows. He looks gorgeous. I shop Forever 21 and impulsively buy shoes that were probably a tire in an earlier life.

If shopping skills warranted diplomas, I would hold a GED to his Ph.D.

So, this past week, when he unwrapped and tried on his new organic-cotton henley (which didn’t fit by the way) and found out that I preferred we go shopping together for his “real” gift instead of surprising him with an item he would reject (Exhibit 1: The henley) he was visibly and audibly disappointed. I was accused of not making an effort. It was then, that I was branded the ego debilitating title of Bad Gift Giver.

We all have a BGG in our social and family networks. Some are truly thoughtless, like the people who re-gift the bonus shot glasses without the tequila or pass on the corporate gift basket despite your allergy to nuts. For whatever reasons, your gift is low on their list of priorities, and it shows. Then there are the generous BGGs. You feel the love and see the generosity, but you can’t stand the gift. These people bake you a beautiful cake in a flavor you don’t like, or give you an expensive knick-knack that will just take up room in a drawer. Yes, you’ve always loved cashmere, just not with gnome appliqués. Perhaps gift giving is a talent like dancing or singing. In other words, you either have “it” or you don’t. This leads to the question of the week:

Could you spend the rest of your life with an incurable Bad Gift Giver? If so, how would you cope?

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  • Rebecca Lacko, Green Living Examiner 5 years ago

    I too am married to a Ph.D in shopping--he's also one of the world's best gift-, finding just the right thing to make your heart burst with joy. I've always tried very hard to find gifts for people that I feel they will love, but in the end, I've had the most success with simply asking outright: What would you like? (Thank goodness for wedding registries!)

  • Me 5 years ago

    On the other hand, it does show what a materialistic world we live in when someone absolutely has to have a wedding registry to determine what gifts they like. A gift is a gift, and what ever happened to be grateful? At the end of the day most people are picky though, so having a registry does help.