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.