I love reading about all the worst, most inappropriate, most obviously regifted presents people have received (not just for holidays, but birthdays, weddings, showers, etc). It's pretty fascinating how wide the range is between people who put care and thought into gift-giving, and those who either don't care or live to use the gift-giving occasions as an opportunity to make some point, one that is universally unwelcome to the gift receiver.
However, it got me to thinking, what are the bounds of etiquette when accepting a gift that is truly inappropriate?
We're told to smile politely, say "thank you", and do with it whatever we see fit without insulting the giver. We're even told to use subterfuge to determine whether and to where the gift is returnable ("Oh it's lovely, wherever did you get it?"), especially if a gift receipt is not included (and they never are). This is fine as far as receiving ugly but technically functional gifts goes (clothes in your size but not style, collectables for the non-collector, etc). You don't want to hurt the person who did seem to try, just didn't get it quite right.
But reading about all the cases where someone is intentionally given an article of clothing so ridiculously big/small as to be unwearable, or given consumables that have been previously sampled... Wow. When the thought is so absent that the giver is assumed to be truly careless or even malicious, isn't it also within our rights to, um, state the obvious? In my mind, if what you were given is tantamount to an insensitive or rude comment, the responses we are encouraged to use are those which essentially point out to the speaker exactly how rude or insensitive their comment was.
I ask, too, because I guarantee you if someone gave me half-eaten or half-used goods, my knee-jerk reaction would most likely be to blurt out "Oops, I think you might have made a mistake. Did you know this food/soap/spice kit was opened already?" I can't imagine who would do something so rude on purpose (maybe they would?), but if they didn't even care to make sure that the gift was in presentable form, I think a little embarrassment on their part is warranted. If they did mean well, maybe they'll be more conscientious next time. But if they still don't care, at least you know where the line is drawn.
And to the PA givers who deliberately choose unwearable clothing (who know your size but buy too small to "encourage" you to diet, or too large because the giver thinks you dress like a slob, or whatever the reasoning), well. I'd have a hard time fighting the snark, but I wish it was appropriate to respond with: "I think this gift was mislabeled, clearly this item is far too big/small for me." Because then a giver who is driven by PA motives is called out. Either they have to defend their choice (which only reflects poorly on them) or admit they made an error in judgment (not just about the clothing size, but about your willingness to take that kind of abuse).
So, eHellions, what are your thoughts?