I stumbled upon an interesting article tweeted by ChannelAdvisor Australia today. It’s about a bad gift prevention patent that Amazon have applied for. The patent is a process to allow recipients of gifts purchased for them online, to reject the gift and have it swapped for something they actually want, before the item even ships from the warehouse.
This solves an age old conundrum of what to do when you receive an unwanted gift. Many people will still have a few Christmas presents knocking around the house which they’ve not bothered to sell on eBay. The items will quite likely end up as raffle prizes, be re-gifted as birthday presents or simply lay around gathering dust.
Amazon want to solve the dilemma of returning goods to shops or having to find another method to dispose of them by eliminating the problem at the source. If someone is shopping for you on Amazon, then Amazon want you to receive a present that you want, even if that’s not what was chosen on your behalf. You would even be able to set up rules so that if someone for instance keeps buying you fitness DVDs for Christmas you can set up a rule to swap it for a book on your wish list.
I’m not convinced though, firstly if I’m buying a gift for someone I’m unlikely to simply get it delivered from Amazon or another online retailer directly to them. Even when gift wrapping services are available I want to send the gift personally. Gift exchanges before the item even arrives reduces presents to little more than gift vouchers, which although always welcome don’t tend to make opening presents much fun.
As it was my birthday this week it’s a topic very close to my heart. I’ve pretty much got everything I need so I’m not the easiest of people to purchase gifts for, but some close friends presented me with a cheese board and cheese knife (and maybe a hint that my kitchen isn’t the best equipped… ;-))
To many that might not seem the most exciting present in the world but to me it’s more than just a cheese board. Whenever we visit each other for dinner we invariably end up with cheese and biscuits and wine, so the promise that my friends will be visiting and we’ll be using it next time we’re together at my house is far more valuable than any gift could be in itself.
A gift should be more than just the chance for the recipient to reject a present and change it to something they’d rather have been given. It’s the thought that counts and for a faceless organisation to automatically reject a gift based on your pre-set preferences removes all the kind intentions of the giver.
I’d rather receive something I didn’t particularly need or want with the thoughts and love of the person kind enough to think of me, than to dismiss a present outright without even seeing it. I’m absolutely delighted with my cheese board and the thought my friends put into choosing the gift, but what about you?
Do you receive presents you’d simply rather reject without even knowing what you were supposed to be given, or are you just happy someone was thinking about you and kind enough to buy you a gift?