Two weeks past Christmas, people are still lined up at the service desk to return that thoughtful gift from Aunt Betty. The oversized shirt. The ugly sweater. The kitchen gadget that hasn’t seen daylight since being packed in China last August.
Each year we’re enlightened with new insight about which gifts not to give. According to a 2015 Newsweek article, “42 percent of women returned holiday gifts from their husbands (who should theoretically have at least some insider gifting knowledge) . . . 17 percent of [gift] recipients planned to donate an unwanted present, 13 percent planned to re-gift one and 10 percent would simply throw the bad gift away. A GameStop survey indicated that 98 percent of their customers had received at least one holiday gift that they’d rather return.” While such rejection creates a logistical pain for retailers, returns drive billions in shipping revenue for UPS and FedEx. At least someone’s happy.
Thanks to friends and family who achieve powerful efficiency from making mouse clicks on gift card denominations, I will not be among the angry many standing deep in a queue, waiting to speak with a cranky associate. Regardless, the holiday season left me with a large pile of marketing gizmos to get rid of. Stuff I never asked for, and don’t want to keep. If only I could find someone willing to take them back.
Item: holiday e-cards
Reason for return: Insulting. Worse than mailing a card addressed to Current Occupant.
Item: marketing and sales stories
Reason for return: I started reading one, but one paragraph in, I searched for candor and couldn’t find any.
Item: customer case studies
Reason for return: I got a bunch of these, and discovered they were fake. Nothing more than propaganda masquerading as objectivity.
Reason for return: I don’t need it to prop up my ego, and I can’t re-gift it. Besides, Russian hackers already know enough about me.
Reason for return: I don’t dig learning about nuclear proliferation or brain chemistry in 140-character snippets. Also, I read an article about an accomplished executive whose career was destroyed because she Tweeted before thinking. That worried me.
Reason for return: Demotivating and annoying. At this point in my life, I don’t need to turn my fitness regimen, nutrition, sleep habits, and everything else into a competition.
Item: robo marketing calls.
Reason for return: People send this horrible gift every year, and nobody wants it back.
Reason for return: Defective. Doesn’t understand sarcasm, and got confused when I typed long strings of expletives in Spanish and French.
Sorry, marketers. I know you tried so hard to please me with these gifts. But once I removed the ribbon and wrapping paper, they didn’t . . . add any value! There – I said it! I hate to appear ungrateful, but please – someone, anyone – take them back, and don’t give them again! But first, wait until I’ve tweeted one sentence from this blog, and compiled a story about how easy it was to write.
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