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January 24, 2019

Is that what you really wanted?

I was once given a set of pots and pans for my birthday. I stared at the package aghast. What I really wanted was a nice new Indian outfit that I wanted to wear at an upcoming wedding. Pots and pans?! I know you’ll say it’s the thought that counts and whatnot but come on! I never used those pots and pans by the way. Obviously the giver wanted them to be used in the mutual kitchen and were passed off as a birthday present. I sulked for months on end after that.

Eventually I got over that, but I hasten to add that’s probably been the only time I’ve been a bit ungrateful. I’m very receptive and thankful for everything I’m given. It doesn’t matter who gave me what, whether I’d have chosen it for myself or not, I always appreciate that someone took the time out to think of me and buy me a gift.

I might be wrong but I feel women are better than men at hiding their disappointment at getting unwanted gifts. I’m saying this from experience because just last week I celebrated a friend’s birthday and we were pretty much having a great time and then he started opening his gifts. We were just a handful of people left behind so we were all chilling out and watching him feign surprise at most of the packages and then came this pretty packaged box in pink wrapping paper. It had little hearts on it and the giver had gone to the extent of putting on a bow with ribbons so clearly it was from a woman. No I’m not stereotyping. Ok, maybe I am but our prediction was right. We all took guesses at what it might – from a tie with cufflinks to a notebook, after-shave and an office desk set – but we were all wrong. Inside was a beautiful glass plaque with a beautiful and very lovey dovey message lasered on it.

At one the three guys started sniggering and the birthday boy’s face fell visibly. It was like he literally ran out of flippant remarks and didn’t quite know how to handle this. Thankfully the person who had gifted this to him had left ages ago so didn’t have to see all this drama.

He wasn’t being mean. He was just being a guy (yes, stereotype yet again) at being given a gift he would have no use for. I think blokes like gifts they can use. Something to sit unopened at the bottom of their desk isn’t a great idea for a birthday gift – especially for a single male whose idea of displaying something is the amount of beer bottles he has consumed in one sitting. Taking pictures and uploading on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are another story.

If you got a gift that you didn’t like or had no use for, would you tell the person who gave it to you to change it or to take it back? Of course this would depend on the type of relationship you have with this person or how well you know them. Imagine your boss’s wife gifting you an ugly mask. Would you be able to return it?

Anyway I’m glad I’m never faced with such a dilemma. I’m very grateful for all the gifts I ever receive. It’s a nice feeling to be thought of and be given something by someone. Not many people give gifts these days. You’ll be lucky with a Facebook message so appreciate what you’re given. You can always donate to charity of you don’t like it. Or **cough** me.

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