What's the worst gift you've ever received?
Bad presents can have a snowball effect.
"Lazy Man" knows a grade-school kid named John who got a stuffed Garfield a couple years ago. Now John has 15 Garfield things in his bedroom. Lazy Man saw them and said, "I can't believe I didn't know you liked Garfield this much." John replied, "I don't."
Someone saw that stuffed Garfield in John's room and assumed he loves all things Garfield, and it escalated from there. This little story at Lazy Man and Money explains how people accumulate huge collections of frog, owl or strawberry figurines, posters, pendants or whatever and they really don't want them.
What's the worst gift you've been given? Lazy Man describes five categories of gifts he wishes he hadn't received. As Shadox said at Money and Such, "You know what? It is not only the thought that counts, people."
- Bing: More on bad gift ideas
We've written about gifts that save people money.
Lazy Man describes "the gift that keeps on taking." Someone got him a
print of a place he and his wife love, not knowing that they already
had one almost exactly like it. Cost of the print: $50. Cost to Lazy
Man to frame it: $200.
Among the other categories on his list:
Figurines. They're functionless, other than to collect dust. Or you can spring for a glass display case to house them.
Gifts that can't be returned. He mentions an engraved picture frame. We'll add to that monogrammed items.
How can you avoid giving unwanted gifts? Use a registry if there is one, he said, give gift cards for stores the giftee frequents, or give gifts that can be consumed or experienced, like wine or theater tickets.
Do not assume. Lazy Man said he once "made an offhand comment about how ridiculous it is that 'Bananas in Pyjamas' is making someone rich. One joke gift led to four people getting me Bananas in Pyjamas in a quick two years."
Published Oct. 14, 2008
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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