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What's the worst gift you've ever received?

Bad presents can have a snowball effect.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 4:23PM

"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."

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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