Monday, May 19

Gifted Thoughts

Today I wandered over to my local bookshop to buy a birthday present for a good friend of mine. He's a big baseball fan which usually makes it easy to find a gift, but this time I decided to get him something in a more literary vein.

“Want a gift receipt?” asked the clerk as I prepared to check out. He was a young man with long hair and an intelligent looking nose.

That's right, I often judge people by the shape of their nose. Call me a nasalist, but there it is.

Since I was distracted by a magazine cover showing Britney Spears getting out of a car, I didn’t quite hear him. “Excuse me?” I asked.

“A gift receipt. You know, for when they want to return it.”

“Don’t you mean if they want to return it,” I said, as I reconsidered the copy of Anna Karenina which lay accusingly on the counter.

“Yeah, right." He also glanced at the book. "If they want to return it."

“Uh, just a sec,” I said, grabbing the Tolstoy tome and quickly retreating to the Sports section.

If only Leo had written more about the Yankees…

I don’t remember getting gift receipts when I was a kid. We weren't exactly poor, but we weren’t rich either so any gift I got was welcome and unquestioned. Even as an adult I don’t recall returning presents, other than an unfortunate pair of green argyle socks I once received from a presumably color blind aunt.

I don’t know whether this reluctance to return a gift is generational, cultural, or geographical. It seems more common in the East, but I've only lived in New York as an adult.

As far as it being a rich man, poor man thing, I don’t want to get into class warfare but it does seem that if you have a lot you might be a bit more picky about the things you are given.

One thing I like about posting to this web log, though, is that in the blogosphere there are no exchanges allowed.

Once you read a blog, it’s yours to keep.

1 comment:

Reseda Doug said...

Well I was always taught that when someone gives you a gift you don't want or like, like say the book on Christianity an old friend kindly sent me after he lost his mi-- ah - was "born again", you wait till they leave and then toss it out.

If it's not something proslytizing like that book, but just something ghastly, like an ugly tie, you "Regift" it to some other poor sucker. If it's an ugly clock or a hideous picture from your Aunt Evelyn, you stick it in a closet, and put it out when she comes to visit.

The real purpose of a gift receipt though is to let the recipient know just how much you spent on them. So always put in a receipt for something vastly more expensive. ("This ugly tie cost $500? Wow!")

Last December my brother ordered a gift for me online, to be mailed directly to me, with the instructions that it have a message on it telling me not to open it until christmas.

They did indeed put the words "Do not open until Christmas" on the back of the invoice (With what he had paid for on the front.), and then put it INSIDE the gift-wrapped gift. (A lovely coat.) So I found the instruction not to open it when I opened it. This place's gift preparers were not gifted themselves.