Author Topic: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?  (Read 3505 times)

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Jape

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Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« on: October 28, 2012, 11:00:43 PM »
Back in February I gave a friend a gift voucher for a very nice restaurant that was enough to cover a three course meal for 2 with wine.  This was my birthday present to her.  She seemed pleased with the gift, but I haven't heard anything about it since.

I'd really like to know if she used the voucher, but I'm not sure if it's rude to ask her.  I'll admit a small part of it is also that I spent a lot of money (more than I normally would) and I'd like to know it was put to use!  Obviously I wouldn't tell her that bit though!

Would it be rude to say "hey Mary, have you had a chance to use that gift voucher yet?  What did you think of the restaurant?"

Sharnita

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 11:15:12 PM »
I don't think there is any polite way to ask.  If you actually go there yourself you might mention you went or will be going and see if she volunteers any info but otherwise I don't think you can ask.  Even if you can casually slip the restaurant into conversation I don't think you can push it if she doesn't pick up on the topic.

peaches

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 11:24:23 PM »
It would be hard to do this without seeming to be fishing for compliments on your choice of gift, or seeming to reproach the recipient for not keeping you updated. I wouldnít do it.

Sometimes Iíll find out (in a thank you note or in conversation) what a gift certificate was used for or when it was used. But if the gift was acknowledged when I gave it, I donít investigate further.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 11:41:51 PM by peaches »

kareng57

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 12:09:42 AM »
Nope - you just don't do it.

It doesn't matter how much $$$ it was.  It's too late now, but I would never give a gift card/certificate unless I knew that it was a favourite place for the receipient.  Perhaps they really do not like this restaurant but have not figured out what else to do with the certificate.  And - is it possible that they might have done something such as regifting/donating the gift certificate, either to friends or for a charity?

Amava

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 12:26:06 AM »
I wouldn't ask - there can be many valid reasons why somebody hasn't used a gift voucher for a restaurant: food restrictions, not having found the time, not liking the restaurant even... she might have regifted the voucher for any of those reasons and if you do ask, you might make her feel very uncomfortable and put on the spot.

We actually had that happen once, my husband's godmother gave him a gift voucher to a restaurant and since he has many dietary restrictions, topped off with voluntarily vegatarianism, it was really not a good fit. So we gave it to his parents. They used it well. But if the godmother had asked, I'd have felt really bad about it.

Worse, even: what if she did use it and didn't like the restaurant at all.

Raintree

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 01:13:40 AM »
For me it would depend on my relationship with that person but I might ask in a casual tone, "Hey, have you had a chance to use that gift certificate yet?"

I say this because one year at Christmas I gave a couple of separate people gift certificates for a local theatre production that was a lot of fun and I thought they'd enjoy. One was a family member and I found the gift certificate in a pile of papers somewhere when I was over at their house (no, I wasn't snooping through their papers but I think someone asked me to go in there and find something). It had expired (or the show was no longer running, like a year later) and they said, "Oh, we completely forgot about it!"

The other came to me months later and volunteered this information: "Oh, I am so sorry, you know what? I found that gift certificate you gave me and I had completely forgotten to use it! I feel terrible that I didn't use your thoughtful gift!" (or something like that).

I felt like the whole thing had just been money down the toilet and I didn't bother ever giving that kind of gift certificate again. I don't know why, but it just feels so much more like wasted money than if I'd given them some book or CD or other physical item that just sat on the shelf unread/unwatched etc.

So I think asking them might remind them if they've forgotten, especially if it has an expiry date. But I do think it's a point that once the gift is given, it's probably technically rude to put them on the spot by asking if they use it.

Such a nice gift though, and even for someone with allergies, surely there is SOMETHING at the restaurant they can eat!! Seems so ungracious not to eat there and then call OP and say how much they enjoyed it, and thanks again. Even if the meal turned out to be not to their tastes.

Bijou

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 01:34:12 AM »
I would probably want to find out because I got a gift certificate for a local restaurant for someone and during the process the restaurant did something wrong and the amount didn't show up on the certificate.  Fortunately I suspected something was not properly processed (the person took it in the back to enter it in a different system or something) and it showed no amount available.  Ever since then I make sure it shows up. 
Actually I will never understand why someone would not let you know they used it.  Like, "We went to the gift certificate restaurant last night.  It was great!"
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

Jape

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 07:40:59 AM »
Thanks everyone.  All excellent points.

Just to clarify, I know that there are no dietary restrictions, and she had mentioned wanting to try the restaurant.  It's my favourite, but it is possible she went and didn't enjoy it.

I go quite often, and am attending a function there in a couple of weeks.  That will probably come up in conversation (which is when I had wondered about asking her), but I'll leave it be.

Thanks everyone for your advice.

rose red

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 09:51:14 AM »
Even though we should not ask, I completely understand your feelings.  A few years ago, I gave a gift certificate for a spa treatment to a friend and it cost more than I would ever spend on myself (there was a reason I wanted her to have an extra special treat).  She thanked me when I gave it to her, but never mentioned it again.  I really wanted to know my money didnt go to waste and wouldn't even have cared if she gave it away; as long as someone used it.  But there was no way I can bring it up.

Salvage3

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 03:58:15 PM »
I agree with not asking.  Unless there was an expiration date, I have saved a gift certificate to use for a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, etc.).  It may very well be that she is doing the same or simply has not had the time to use it with enough time to really enjoy the occasion.

oogyda

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 04:57:32 PM »
Actually I will never understand why someone would not let you know they used it.  Like, "We went to the gift certificate restaurant last night.  It was great!"

I probably would not mention that I had used it if it was someone I don't talk to frequently (as in every other day or more often).  Even if I intend to, the conversation often hops around so much that I forget. 
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Raintree

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 10:39:32 PM »
Even though we should not ask, I completely understand your feelings.  A few years ago, I gave a gift certificate for a spa treatment to a friend and it cost more than I would ever spend on myself (there was a reason I wanted her to have an extra special treat).  She thanked me when I gave it to her, but never mentioned it again.  I really wanted to know my money didnt go to waste and wouldn't even have cared if she gave it away; as long as someone used it.  But there was no way I can bring it up.

Exactly, so this could just as easily been the subject of a related thread: "Is it rude not to acknowledge the use of a gift certificate?" I would vote yes, especially if it was for an experience (ie restaurant, spa) rather than an object (book, clothing etc.). For a physical gift, ie one that you can see, the recipient can see what it is right away and say, "Oh, thank you, that's lovely! I'll put it on my mantlepiece!" For a spa or restaurant, the recipient can thank for the gift certificate but they haven't really received the gift yet, in a way. If I received a gift certificate for a day at the spa, and then went off and had a lovely day courtesy of the gift-giver, I cannot even fathom failing to at least email the person, or call, or speak next time I saw her, to say "I went to that spa!! Thank you so much, what a lovely gift that was; I had an amazing day!" (Even if it didn't live up to expectations I would say something nice and thank them).

Even though there may have been a thank you at the time the gift certificate was received, for some reason I can't really articulate it seems rude not to thank the person again after you've used it. And to not say anything at all makes the giver wonder whether it went to waste, and I'd be thinking, "Well I guess I won't give them anything nice again."

Lynnv

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2012, 01:29:48 AM »
Even though we should not ask, I completely understand your feelings.  A few years ago, I gave a gift certificate for a spa treatment to a friend and it cost more than I would ever spend on myself (there was a reason I wanted her to have an extra special treat).  She thanked me when I gave it to her, but never mentioned it again.  I really wanted to know my money didnt go to waste and wouldn't even have cared if she gave it away; as long as someone used it.  But there was no way I can bring it up.

Exactly, so this could just as easily been the subject of a related thread: "Is it rude not to acknowledge the use of a gift certificate?" I would vote yes, especially if it was for an experience (ie restaurant, spa) rather than an object (book, clothing etc.). For a physical gift, ie one that you can see, the recipient can see what it is right away and say, "Oh, thank you, that's lovely! I'll put it on my mantlepiece!" For a spa or restaurant, the recipient can thank for the gift certificate but they haven't really received the gift yet, in a way. If I received a gift certificate for a day at the spa, and then went off and had a lovely day courtesy of the gift-giver, I cannot even fathom failing to at least email the person, or call, or speak next time I saw her, to say "I went to that spa!! Thank you so much, what a lovely gift that was; I had an amazing day!" (Even if it didn't live up to expectations I would say something nice and thank them).

Even though there may have been a thank you at the time the gift certificate was received, for some reason I can't really articulate it seems rude not to thank the person again after you've used it. And to not say anything at all makes the giver wonder whether it went to waste, and I'd be thinking, "Well I guess I won't give them anything nice again."

I do understand wanting to know if/how a gift certificate was used and if the person enjoyed it.  But I can't agree that the person is required to follow up on the thank you with a "how I used the card" follow up.  If that is needed then what is the polite person supposed to do when they don't like the gift certificate?   Are they doomed to be rude?

I can't think of a polite way to say "Aunt Dotty, thank you so much for thinking of us.  We gave the gift card from the <restaurant we hate> that you gave us for Christmas to my sister-I am sure she loved it."    Never mind explaining that we donated it to charity, which is what DH and I usually do with non-useful cards.  Aunt Dotty may not approve of the charity we picked.  In our particular case, I am sure that our Aunt Dotty wouldn't approve of the charity.  And I will not lie to her and tell her that I loved going to <restaurant we hate> when we didn't.  It is more of a lie than I am comfortable telling.  I don't mind little white lies, but this feels more like a medium grey one to me.  Plus, much as I love Aunt Dotty, I don't want to encourage her to settle on this as the "best gift ever for Lynnv and her DH."  At least while she rotates every year, we have about a 1 in 3 chance of actually using the card she gets us.

I am sincerely grateful for her gift and that she thinks of us at all-which I do express.    But if being polite requires that I tell her when I use the card and how much I enjoyed <whatever card it is that I hate>, I can't see a way to be polite about cards I don't like.

With physical objects, it is easier.  I can thank the person sincerely for the time and effort and for thinking of us.  But I don't have to tell them how I am going to use the gift.  I can say, "Aunt Dotty, thank you so much for the candlestick you gave us for Dragon Appreciation Day.  You can never have too many candlesticks.  It was lovely of you to think of us during this busy season.  And how is Uncle Spotty doing with his lumbago?" and on from there.  I don't have to mention that, while you can never have too many candlesticks, this one is creepier than a roomful of clown dolls.  And that I am going to be burning it because I fear that it is going to go all Chucky in the night.  And yes, for the record, my own Aunt Dotty has gotten me some of the weirdest and creepiest gifts ever-including a creepy clown doll/candle holder.  <shudder>

IMO, a sincere thanks for the gift and for thinking of us is the equivalent of the above thank you.  And is perfectly polite and does not require a follow up on how the card was used.
Lynn

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Raintree

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 04:33:39 AM »
Totally see your point. I guess if someone gives me a card to a bookstore or something, I don't always announce what book I got. And there is the possibility, what if you gave it away as it was something you really didn't want? But if I enjoyed some amazing dinner or day at the spa or some other special experience, I'd probably mention it. One person's amazing experience might not be another's. Some woman at work tried to give me some coupons for an amazing deal at a tanning salon, and seemed kind of put out that I wouldn't take it. "But it's such a great deal!" Yeah but I would not use it even if it were free. My skin gets tanned in summer in the course of spending time outdoors, but I would never deliberately go damage my skin and I never try "to get a tan." So I guess it would be awkward if someone gave me a gift certificate for a tanning salon because I wouldn't use it.

Nice restaurant though, that the recipient had already said she wanted to try? Not saying another word about it seems almost like not acknowledging the gift, but I realize my argument for that is rather weak.

Bijou

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Re: Is it rude to ask if someone has used a gift you gave them?
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2012, 03:41:41 PM »
Back in February I gave a friend a gift voucher for a very nice restaurant that was enough to cover a three course meal for 2 with wine.  This was my birthday present to her.  She seemed pleased with the gift, but I haven't heard anything about it since.

I'd really like to know if she used the voucher, but I'm not sure if it's rude to ask her.  I'll admit a small part of it is also that I spent a lot of money (more than I normally would) and I'd like to know it was put to use!  Obviously I wouldn't tell her that bit though!

Would it be rude to say "hey Mary, have you had a chance to use that gift voucher yet?  What did you think of the restaurant?"
I'm kind of having second thoughts about my first post on this subject.  I don't think you can ask, at all.  It would be like saying, "You didn't tell me how much you liked the restaurant meal I got for you." even though you don't mean it that way.  They already thanked you when they received it from you (or even if they didn't), so I guess a person has to leave it at that.  But like I said before, I'd make sure the amount is actually showing up on the certificate so it's not like the person opening a wrapped gift from you to find the box empty. 
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.