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Author Topic: Gift shenanigans  (Read 2217 times)

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Gift shenanigans
« on: December 03, 2010, 06:29:03 PM »
Ok so I have 2 questions that i'm curious about.

Every year at Christmas BF's parents ask him what he wants. In previous years, he would give them some ideas, they'd then tell him they were buying him Certain Item. He'd avoid purchasing item and then come Christmas he would find they'd given him something completely different. One year they'd agreed to get him a battery drill and he ended up with extremely effeminate bed sheets (think country style rocking horses and flowers).

This year, when asked, he mentioned he could use a gift voucher from Big Hardware Store Chain, as we need a few things for the house and some tools for himself, and we could easily put it to use. They thought it was a great idea, easy for them, good for us, everyones a winner. However last night, BF's father rang and told him he would not be able to get gift voucher from Big Hardware Store Chain as it is in the next town over and they wouldnt go there before Christmas. He said instead he would get a gift voucher from Small Auto Store Chain which the nearest store to us is over 1 hour away. Me and BF both have vintage cars and rarely go to these sorts of generic auto stores as nothing really suits our vehicles and the store they've chosen doesnt carry much in the way of tools either.

So my questions are

1. Is it rude to ask for Christmas gift ideas, tell the person your getting them Particular Gift and then get something completely different? I understand it's their perogotive to get whatever they want, but why tell someoone your getting them a particular thing at all?

3. Is there a way of BF politely explaining to his parents that he won't be able to use the gift voucher? He doesnt want to sound ungrateful but he doesn't want them to waste their money either.

Thanks for your help!


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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2010, 10:27:03 PM »
I think that because they opened the door, he should call back and say, "I've been thinking--I absolutely won't be able to use that Gift Card from that auto store, and I'd hate you to waste your money. I thought, since you asked what I wanted, that it might be helpful to know that."

And then, when they give it to him anyway, he should sell it on Craig's List or something. Or ask around at the office to see if anyone might be willing to buy it off him for face value or a tiny bit less.

He could add stuff like, "Maybe an electronics store, or a clothing chain, would be more useful."
(bcs then he can buy underwear w/ the card, and use the "underwear" cash at the home store)

(also, I think you can buy Home Depot gift cards at most chain pharmacy stores, grocery stores, etc.--aren't they in those kiosks of random gift cards?)

I don't think it's rude to tell someone you're getting Particular Gift. It's annoying, but I believe the giver has all the control. And of course, your BF ought to have his parents' number by now. It's a bummer, but he ought to simply never expect to get anything the tiniest bit useful, and he should be ready to sell it all on Craig's List on Dec. 27.


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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2010, 11:06:15 PM »
I ditto the CraigsList/ebay idea. There are a bunch of gift cards for sale so he could sell his and then use the cash to buy a gift card he wants!


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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 12:15:47 AM »
1. Yes, I do think it's rude to ask what someone wants for Christmas and change it every time to something that catches their interest.  Like if a daughter really wanted a porcielen doll and her dad buys her a plastic one from the local discount store, she will be disappointed on Christmas morning.

2. When they make the call to say "we want to change your present". He needs to be prompt in replying "thank you for the thoughts, but I can't use that. How about a gift card for Wallymart or Tarmart? I can use those."
And then the ball is in their court. It sounds like they're used to changing it to suit them and not thinking about him.
Example: teenager is asked what do they want each year and do not recieve it. Instead, parents find random items on clearance and hand off said gifts to teen. The worst I can think of was wanting a blanket and got a second hand book wrapped inside a moth eaten sweater. Moth eaten wool sweaters are not as comfy and warm as a blanket.

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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 01:12:29 AM »
I think that "rude" is the wrong word to use, unless the gift is meant to be insulting. It certainly sounds like they are a bit thoughtless, or perhaps oblivious would be a better word.

In the future, your DH may want to consider saying "Oh, anything will be fine!". They're going to give him something random anyway, why get his hopes up? Just accept it graciously and then sell, return, or donate it.

In this case, when they've told you what they're going to get (and haven't actually gotten yet), I think it would be ok to say "that store isn't convenient for us, I'm afraid we wouldn't get to use the card.", but the best time to say that would have been when they brought it up.

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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 01:24:37 AM »
This sort of behavior is PA.  It is his parents way of asserting their "power" in the rel-ation-ship.

Talking to them won't help, so he needs to save his breath and either list the unwanted items on craiglist, eBay, or he can donate them to a group that's doing a silent auction fundraiser.


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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 12:22:28 PM »
Well, if he does end up with it, he can always regift it if he knows someone who would like it.

Or, go buy a lot of windshield wiper fluid, carwash, and red rags >.<

My favorite blog, which discusses personal finance:


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Re: Gift shenanigans
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2010, 01:08:31 PM »
If you are asked for a gift list it's perfectly fine to supply one.  The list should be modest and in keeping with what the people asking for your list can afford.  If that is the case, there should be a reasonable assumption that you will receive something on that list. A book, a tool, a sweater, a pair of socks or a box of candy.  Holiday gifts need not be about excess.

However, sometimes things do go wrong.  For years my parents asked me for a gift list.  I always said I wanted a cotton turtleneck in any color but blue.  For about a decade I always received a blue polyester turtleneck.