Posts Tagged ‘Regifting’

When ‘regifting’ becomes ‘offloading’

May 17, 2010

I think we’re all familiar with the practise of ‘regifting’ – passing along unwanted gifts to someone else, oftentimes without disclosing the fact that the item was once yours.

Regifting has its fans and detractors, but that’s a whole different debate. What I want to comment on today is the unsavoury practise of what I call ‘offloading’: where you take an unwanted gift and dump it on someone – almost anyone – else, just to be rid of the darn thing. I should know: I’ve offloaded (shameful hang of head) and have been offloaded onto (you can just tell).

The difference between a regular regift and an offloaded regift is twofold:

1. The offloaded item is not a very suitable gift for the recipient. But hey – it’s their birthday, you’ve got this thing you want rid of, and…it’ll do, right? Plus you won’t have to spend a cent or go out shopping or anything – hooray!

2. The offloader may refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. For example: I’ve had clothes offloaded onto me, and despite my protestations that the garments really didn’t suit my style or colouring, or even my size, the ‘givers’ stridently overruled my protestations – they were so anxious to have the extra wardrobe space. In the end, it was easier to just accept the clothes than have an argument. (My passive revenge: I passed the items straight onto charity – which is where they should’ve gone in the first place, instead of being foisted onto someone who didn’t want them and passed off as a gift.)

A regifted item can still be a great gift – if it truly suits the recipient’s needs and taste. But if you’re offloading, to save yourself time, effort or money – and you know when you’re offloading, oh boy do you know – that’s no good at all.

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The ethics of regifting

March 7, 2010

This article takes an in-depth look at whether regifting is ethical or not.  The upshot being: it depends on your motives.  Examples of ethical and unethical regifting are described. 

I know I have regifted both ethically (it was kind and suitable) and unethically (I was just being cheap or lazy, or both – how one shudders in hindsight!)

A novel way to regift

February 27, 2010

The post-Christmas rush to sell unwanted gifts on eBay is no secret – the typical ad being a detailed description of the gift, followed by “Unwanted Christmas present” or “I love it but it’s not my size”, something like that.

I like the novel approach one young lady took with some unwanted Christmas gifts (rather a lot of them, one might observe – but teenagers are notoriously difficult as gift recipients). 

Instead of taking the mundane, item-by-item approach, she simply bundled them all up into one “mystery parcel” and auctioned the lot on Trade Me (New Zealand’s answer to eBay).  You can read all about it here.

I’m impressed by her creative approach, and also how much money she made by making the contents of the parcel a mystery – rather than the usual way of describing and photographing everything in detail.  I don’t know if I’d ever do the same thing myself, but I rather admire her chutzpah!

Trading post for unwanted gifts

December 23, 2009

Here’s a new spin on how to move along unwanted gifts: a swap shop has opened as a sort of ‘clearing house’, where you can drop off a present and pick another one at the same time.  A very novel approach!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/3189991/Shop-to-swap-unloved-gifts

The banished blankie

November 4, 2009

I glimpsed a beautiful handknitted baby blanket at a second-hand shop recently.  It was expertly knitted, with blue bows crocheted onto every other square. 

Thinking it might make a great baby gift, I picked it up – only to discover the named “Aiden” had likewise been worked, in blue yarn, into the centre of the blanket.

It was such an adorable blanket, presumably a gift made for a beloved baby boy by a doting and skilled grandmother.  Yet the parents had chucked it out when it was no longer of use. 

I’m a BIG fan of moving things along when they are no longer of use – life is full of clutter, and we can’t keep everything.  But a unique item like a handmade personalised baby blanket?  What were Aiden’s parents thinking?  The blankie would have been a wonderful keepsake – ultimately, an heirloom piece – for Aiden and his family one day, and wouldn’t take up much room if tucked securely away in an attic or basement.

I put the blanket back on the shelf and went back to my shopping, feeling a little sorry for the unknown child Aiden.  Some gifts, in my opinion, are so full of love and sentiment that they deserve keeping – and, although perhaps unecessary and unused for a few years, they will come into their own again one day.

Regifting: the dark side

July 22, 2009

I think we’re all pretty much familiar with the practise of ‘regifting’ – passing along unwanted gifts to someone else, oftentimes without disclosing the fact that the item was once yours.

Regifting has its fans and detractors, but that’s a whole different debate. What I want to comment on today is the unsavoury practise of what I call ‘offloading’: where you take an unwanted gift and dump it on someone – almost anyone – else, just to be rid of the darn thing. I should know: I’ve offloaded (shameful hang of head) and have been offloaded onto (you can just tell).

The difference between a regular regift and an offloaded regift is twofold:

1. The offloaded item is not a very suitable gift for the recipient. But hey – it’s their birthday, you’ve got this thing you want rid of, and…it’ll do, right? Plus you won’t have to spend a cent or go out shopping or anything – hooray!

2. The offloader may not take ‘no’ for an answer. For example: I’ve had clothes offloaded onto me, and despite my protestations that the garments really didn’t suit my style or colouring, the ‘givers’ stridently overruled my protestations – they were so anxious to have the extra wardrobe space. In the end, it was easier to just accept the clothes than have an argument. (My passive revenge: I passed the items straight onto charity – which is where they should’ve gone in the first place, instead of being foisted onto someone who didn’t want them.)

A regifted item can still be a great gift – if you truly think it suits the recipient’s needs and taste. But if you’re offloading, to save yourself time, effort or money – and you know when you’re offloading, oh boy do you know – that’s no good at all.

Fudging the issue

July 7, 2009

True story: Martha’s family had a dear friend called Laura who every Christmas used to make big batches of fudge as presents, prettily gift-wrapped.  The only problem for Martha’s family: they hate fudge – it’s too sweet for them.

There were some interesting gift dynamics at play.

For a start, it never occurred to Laura that maybe not everyone would like her self-proclaimed “famous fudge” as much as she did.  Or that, over the passing of the years into more health-conscious times, pounds of densely sugar-packed candy were perhaps not the most thoughtful gift she could give her friends, some of whom had developed weight and health problems (not that I’m blaming that on Laura’s annual gift of fudge, mind). 

Oddly, neither did it occur to Martha’s family that, disliking fudge, they didn’t actually have to eat it.  After all, it really is the thought that counts!  Apparently they bravely chewed their way through the unwanted fudge, each holiday season. 

“Why didn’t you give it away?” I cried, when I heard their sorry tale of sucrose overload.  “Or even throw it out, if need be?”  I was aghast at the lost opportunity for them to have moved the fudge on to somebody who loves it – judging by the amount of fudge on the market, there’d be no shortage of takers out there.  They could have regifted it, or just plain given it away.  If they were feeling up to having ‘a courageous conversation’, they could also have tactfully raised the matter with Laura, and suggested that maybe they could just exchange Christmas cards instead.

Which, last year, is what they finally did.

Christmas in Hollywood’s golden age

July 5, 2009

Who knows when the practise of ‘regifting’ unwanted or unsuitable gifts onto another party – probably while we were still living in caves!

Certainly it was around in the golden age of Hollywood, as actor David Niven (now sadly deceased, alas) recounts in his memoir, Bring on the Empty Horses:

 

Everyone at the studio … expected presents, but the biggest outlay was in the realm of personal gifts to friends and business acquaintances.

One was constantly getting caught short.  I once gave [actress] Miriam Hopkins half a dozen handkerchiefs and she gave me a Studebaker.  All in all it was a difficult and expensive time.

Errol [Flynn] and I thought we had it licked when we decided that the whole Peace and Goodwill Department was getting completely out of hand, so we decided to buy no personal or business gifts at all: instead we invested in some fancy wrapping paper, yards of multi-coloured ribbons and several dozen greeting cards.  We then sat back at North Linden Drive and waited for the deluge.  As the presents poured in it was a simple matter to re-wrap them, add something personal on a card and despatch them elsewhere.

Trade was brisk for several days before Christmas and all went well till someone sent us a case of champagne, which we gratefully opened instead of sending on its way.  After that we became careless.  Our rhythm faltered and the operation lacked synchronisation with the embarrassing result that [producer] Walter Wanger received a beautiful black, silk evening wallet on which in gold lettering was inscribed, ‘To D.N. from W.W.’

David Niven, Bring on the Empty Horses, 1975, Hamish Hamilton

The ‘regifting production line’ that David Niven recounts sounds entirely credible, although I am doubtful about the handkerchief/Studebaker anecdote.  I’m told that Mr Niven was known to embroider his stories for better effect, and suspect that this might be one of them.  (Well told, though!)  And his experience illustrates a crucial regifting rule: always take the greatest care that anything you regift does not end up back with the giver!

The rebirth of regifting

July 3, 2009

Regifting as a practise has no doubt been around since we started giving gifts.  But the term ‘regifting’ seems to have either been invented, or come back into common usage, thanks to the popular 1990s comedy series Seinfeld

In the episode The Label Maker (first screened in January 1995), Elaine gives a label-making gadget to a business contact, Tim – then notices that, soon after, Tim gives Jerry an identical label maker. 

Which causes Jerry and Elaine to debate: Did Tim buy another label maker, emulating Elaine’s gift idea (because he liked it so much), or simply regift the original one (because he didn’t like it at all)?

You can read the script here – you may need to scroll down a ways to reach the regifting part.