December 19, 2010

Proper etiquette with gifts

I received a gift from a co-worker that, while considerate, wasn't something I wanted. Unfortunately, he didn't include a gift receipt or return paperwork. I could attempt to return it to a local retailer, but without receipts I couldn't prove the item was originally purchased there and the store could refuse the return. I could attempt to sell the item online, but Amazon has a policy in place that makes it impossible to sell certain items during the holidays without sending them to an Amazon processing facility, so the company can vouch for their authenticity.

In the end, I did what the etiquette books say is extremely rude and should be avoided at all costs: I told him the truth. I explained that I appreciated the thought but would like the item exchanged for something else. Why should people be forced to keep items they don't want? I think re-gifting is just as bad an "etiquette sin" as being honest. And besides, don't most people buy gifts with the intention of making the other person happy?

So please, if there's any doubt the person may not like the gift you've selected, include the gift receipt.