Author Topic: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want  (Read 8334 times)

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baglady

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2013, 06:40:51 PM »
I'm reminded of Jerry's parents on "Seinfeld." They never could wrap their heads around the idea that their son was an actual adult who didn't need them to take care of him.

I don't remember Jerry's parents treating him like a child.  George's parents on the other hand... ::)

I was thinking of the episode where Jerry was driving his parents somewhere, in his own car, and they kept insisting on paying when he stopped for gas, and he kept refusing, telling them over and over that he could afford his own gas. They weren't treating him like a child, but they were treating him as if he were something other than an independent, self-supporting adult. If they can't think of him as a real adult, it's just another step to "He doesn't know what's best for him, so we're going to get him this thing *we know* he wants/needs, even though he doesn't know it yet."
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sevenday

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2013, 06:51:38 PM »
re: getting duplicates of something - Only once have I asked to return/swap an item.  Let's say I collect widgets.  One year there was a particular line 4 Limited Edition Sparkly Widgets. I purchased one for myself and got #2 from my SO; sister and friend both purchase #3.  I know that this line will end very soon, so I asked sister if she would mind swapping it for #4 so I could have the whole set.  She understood and agreed.  In other cases they were inexpensive but slightly hard to find widgets - but I kept both instead of asking to swap. My reasoning was this - I could probably find other widgets later if I really wanted them, and if one of the duplicate widgets broke I wouldn't get as upset because I knew  had an identical one safe somewhere. 

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2013, 09:59:00 PM »
I'm reminded of Jerry's parents on "Seinfeld." They never could wrap their heads around the idea that their son was an actual adult who didn't need them to take care of him.

I don't remember Jerry's parents treating him like a child.  George's parents on the other hand... ::)

I was thinking of the episode where Jerry was driving his parents somewhere, in his own car, and they kept insisting on paying when he stopped for gas, and he kept refusing, telling them over and over that he could afford his own gas. They weren't treating him like a child, but they were treating him as if he were something other than an independent, self-supporting adult. If they can't think of him as a real adult, it's just another step to "He doesn't know what's best for him, so we're going to get him this thing *we know* he wants/needs, even though he doesn't know it yet."

That seems to be a sitcom trope, the codependent Jewish parents and their sons.  Like on Big Bang Theory with Howard and his mother. 
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SadieBaby

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #33 on: December 30, 2013, 08:29:38 AM »
re: getting duplicates of something - Only once have I asked to return/swap an item.  Let's say I collect widgets.  One year there was a particular line 4 Limited Edition Sparkly Widgets. I purchased one for myself and got #2 from my SO; sister and friend both purchase #3.  I know that this line will end very soon, so I asked sister if she would mind swapping it for #4 so I could have the whole set.  She understood and agreed.  In other cases they were inexpensive but slightly hard to find widgets - but I kept both instead of asking to swap. My reasoning was this - I could probably find other widgets later if I really wanted them, and if one of the duplicate widgets broke I wouldn't get as upset because I knew  had an identical one safe somewhere.

My sister-in-law has bought me the exact same earrings twice.  I haven't said anything either time.  The first time they were gold hoops with a design etched in them, and gold hoops are always nice to have.  The second time they were more distinctive silver drop earrings with inlaid enameling.  I love those earrings, but after I got the first pair I was hesitant to wear them for fear of losing them.  They have French wires, which often hang up on collars and push themselves out.  Well, when I opened a present on Christmas morning and found the same earrings I was thrilled.  This was last year and I have worn the heck out of the original pair since, knowing that I have a full set of spares.  (The funny part is that I almost wore the originals on Christmas and if I had, my sister-in-law would have seen them and wanted to grab back the new ones.  I don't know if I would  have been able to convince her that I *wanted* two pairs -- really!)

cicero

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #34 on: December 30, 2013, 08:57:58 AM »
re: getting duplicates of something - Only once have I asked to return/swap an item.  Let's say I collect widgets.  One year there was a particular line 4 Limited Edition Sparkly Widgets. I purchased one for myself and got #2 from my SO; sister and friend both purchase #3.  I know that this line will end very soon, so I asked sister if she would mind swapping it for #4 so I could have the whole set.  She understood and agreed.  In other cases they were inexpensive but slightly hard to find widgets - but I kept both instead of asking to swap. My reasoning was this - I could probably find other widgets later if I really wanted them, and if one of the duplicate widgets broke I wouldn't get as upset because I knew  had an identical one safe somewhere.

My sister-in-law has bought me the exact same earrings twice.  I haven't said anything either time.  The first time they were gold hoops with a design etched in them, and gold hoops are always nice to have.  The second time they were more distinctive silver drop earrings with inlaid enameling.  I love those earrings, but after I got the first pair I was hesitant to wear them for fear of losing them.  They have French wires, which often hang up on collars and push themselves out.  Well, when I opened a present on Christmas morning and found the same earrings I was thrilled.  This was last year and I have worn the heck out of the original pair since, knowing that I have a full set of spares.  (The funny part is that I almost wore the originals on Christmas and if I had, my sister-in-law would have seen them and wanted to grab back the new ones.  I don't know if I would  have been able to convince her that I *wanted* two pairs -- really!)
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miranova

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #35 on: December 30, 2013, 09:00:46 AM »
My SIL (dh's sister) does not watch TV.  So much so that she cancelled cable and got rid of her old TV.  MIL got it in her head that her daughter NEEDS a new TV for Christmas.  She then called me and suggested that we get her a DVD player to go with it.  I spoke to Dh and he refused to do it, because he knows his sister doesn't want a TV!  (Pretty much what I thought he would say).  We got her a gift card, just in case she is really dying to get that DVD player with her new TV that she never wanted, but if not she can get something she really wants!

My husband was baffled...it is pretty common knowledge that his sister doesn't watch TV.  She can't engage in any conversations about latest shows, she is never home, she more outdoorsy, loves hiking and running etc.  She can't sit still.  He was like "what in the world would posses my mother to think that she wants a TV?"  I just laughed and wondered what our gift was going to be.  We won't know until they arrive in January.  Maybe we will get a sewing machine.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2013, 09:16:20 AM »
I've gotten the same gift, with slight variations, from the same relative, twice now. The first time it wasn't something that worked well for me, so I gave them away (inexpensive).  The second was this year. she gave me a piece of jewelry she adores, idential, except for the color of the crystals in it. She is a compulsive shopper in every sense of the word, and buys multiples of anything and everything. This piece of jewelry is from a line she loves, but I don't really care for. The funny thing is, she is quite cheap, and the jewelry is from LAST year, so I'm sure she just plucked it out of her stash and re-gifted.

Which is fine, but I didn't really like it the first time around nad have never worn it. Now I have two. adn she commented on the colors in this one, so even though I actually prefer the first one, I kind of have to keep this one too. Darn.

Marisol

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #37 on: December 30, 2013, 01:41:24 PM »
I was given a microwave even though I said I didn't want one. Little did I know that once I had it I would use it.

Then there was the "grow your own herbs: parsley" kit given to me by someone who knows I don't cook much and knows I don't keep indoor plants because my place is too dark.  But she thought I could use fresh parsley for my cooking. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #38 on: December 30, 2013, 02:01:49 PM »
A tiny update of sorts- I chatted about this with my husband some more.  He said that his parents are very old fashioned and have always been more interested in giving what THEY want the recipient to have, rather than what the recipient wants or needs.  This would explain why they even do this to each other (like with the long johns my father-in-law gave my mother-in-law even though she repeatedly said she didn't want them).  Not sure what the point is of asking us if we'd like something when they're going to give it to us anyway. 

Though they did give us one item we expressed an interest in!  I feel weird telling my in-laws what I want, but did feel comfortable enough to say I'd like a certain ornament from Hallmark.  They gave it to my husband instead which is slightly odd, but all the ornaments go on the same tree, so it doesn't really matter.  They gave me a different ornament instead, let's call it Snowman #9, which had already been given to me by my own mother since she knows I collect that particular series.  This happened last year as well- got Snowman #8 from my mom and my mother-in-law- and I very gently let my mother-in-law know that my mom gives me an ornament from the Snowman series every year.  I'm honestly not sure if she forgot I'd said something last year, or if she gave it to me because she wanted to.  Interestingly, when I unwrapped this year's duplicate Snowman #9, she told me she'd given my brother-in-law an ornament from the series he collects even though she thought he probably had already purchased it for himself.

All in all, I do not think they're trying to be malicious or anything and genuinely want us to like what they give.



Re: the bolded:  Because it fits with their internal narrative that says, "we gave them something they want!" They have no idea, so they ask. You tell them you don't want it, and they -immediately- edit that to be that you expressed interest.  Because their own minds are made up.

An insight!  They live their life according their internal narrative, not in the external, verifiable world. They have a script running in their heads that is SO powerful, they cannot deviate from it.

(My MIL, otherwise a dear woman, had a streak of this w/ grandparent-dom. In her mind, Grandma coaxes kids to eat. So there's my 2yo, cheerfully munching away at whatever was on her plate, and Grandma says, "here, have a bite," but she can't, bcs she's currently *eating*. So Grandma picks up the spoon and pushes it against her lips, trying to force it into her mouth, even though the child is currently *chewing*. Because, well, that's what Grandmas do--they feed their children. And so she wasn't even processing the stimuli her eyes were sending her, because that internal narrative was so incredibly powerful. Fortunately, she's gotten a little better, but we've had to be pretty swift to point out the external truths when the clashes came.)

Arila

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2014, 05:04:07 PM »
Maybe the next time they start probing for "would you like xyz as a gift?" You just bring up that you like to be surprised, and the surprise is part of the good experience, so they should just "use their good judgement".

If you can get that going, then maybe you won't feel quite so frustrated by their not taking your direction in the future (because you haven't given it).

HGolightly

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2014, 05:35:02 PM »
My mom is unimpressed with me over returning a nightgown she got me for Christmas. Yes I asked for a specific one due to the impending birth of baby #2 and this was not it in any way. She then pressed that I should keep it for after as it is more age appropriate than pyjamas. I do not like nightgowns, never have regardless of "age" . The kicker? This is the same woman who asks for specific items each year, gets them and then returns them for some unknown reason.

heartmug

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2014, 07:48:38 PM »
Chiming in to say, yes, people (my ex-in-laws AND my own parents) have done this. In the IL's case, it was a deliberate statement of we dislike you and want to show it in a manner you cannot object to, as it would be rude. So I gave away/donated/exchanged their gifts, and now I have returned the wasband to his parents also.



We must have the same in-laws.  Now they just don't bother asking.  We get what they think we need/is deeply discounted/ what they don't want anymore.  Salvation Army is our friend  ;)
The trouble is not that the world is full of fools, it's just that lightening isn't distributed right.  - Mark Twain

Ceallach

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2014, 08:22:26 PM »
Based on the updates regarding the relationship, I think it's a control thing, but not in a mean OTT controlling way - in the sense that they haven't moved on from their role parenting children to parenting adults.   The way they behave is as though their son, and by extension you, are still toddlers, where Mummy and Daddy will get what's best for precious and make sure that precious has everything precious needs including the things precious doesn't realise are important.    So they don't even realise that they're doing it - they're not consciously trying to control you - they're just trapped in a time warp.    It's kind of pathetic actually.   I would probably find it amusing and make a bit of a joke about it if it weren't so sad!

In terms of the etiquette, nobody is entitled to a gift they like, but they are also not obligated to keep or use a gift they dislike.  When a gift giver puts their own desires ahead of the recipients the risk they face is that the gift won't be used or appreciated.   It's ok to do that occasionally if you think you do know better about they'd like, you can take a risk and hope they'd like it, but it's exactly that, a risk.  In their case it's extra risky seeing as they have already asked you and you've expressed an opinion.   Again, they think they know best.   But that doesn't mean you're stuck keeping what they give you. 
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2014, 09:40:09 PM »
If you've specifically told your in-laws that you don't want a particular item, but they gift you that item anyway, I honestly think it would be ok to point that out to them immediately upon opening the gift.

I also think it's fine to simply tell them "We are not going to use this item. Would you like to keep it instead?"

Evil!LifeOnPluto also suggests that if you're at their house, hiding the item (eg under the spare bed, or in the boot of their car) before you leave.

Teenyweeny

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Re: Giving a gift you know the recipient does not want
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2014, 10:16:47 AM »
I will confess, I can see how the colour of the bowl could be a mistake. I've been known to have conversations with my wife that go like this:

Wife: "Does BIL like widgets?"
Me: "I remember him having a strong opinion,  but I can't remember if it was good or bad. He...loves them?"

And lo and behold, he'll hate them.

I even do it to myself. Time and again I've stood in the wine aisle at the supermarket, holding a bottle and thinking "I know this made a strong impression on me...was it vile or did I love it?"  ::)