(Closed) What to say about unusable gifts

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
88 posts
Worker bee

How about "thank you so much! It was SO thoughtful of you." and hope they don’t ask any follow-up questions….

Post # 4
Member
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

I am in the same boat with an ice cream maker. We received it from my husbands (ha ha that is so weird to say) aunt and uncle. They got it for us because when we were at their cabin we kept saying how much we loved the homemade ice cream. So, it is a really thoughtful gift but, we don’t think we will use it. As far as thank you notes we will say "Thank you so much for the ice cream maker" just so they know we received it. But, I am in the same situation as far as do we tell or not tell them we returned it?!

Post # 5
Member
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2008

We received something called the "NuWave Oven" from my husband’s aunt & uncle.  We had never heard of it before and although it did seem useful after reading the manual we decided to return it.  I do feel bad that they spent the time choosing, but it was so random and not us.  I plan to say thanks & "can’t wait to try out the oven" on the thank you note anyhow…. they live far away and I would rather not hurt their feelings.  I think it is fine to fib a little as long as it is not to someone who comes to your house often and will notice the missing gift!

Post # 6
Member
438 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2008

yeah, we got a silver napkin holder with sea shells and starfish on it.  ??????  We don’t live near the ocean, nor do we have a beach themed room anywhere in our house.  I also don’t know who spends that much money on a napkin holder!  Its still sitting in the box.  I’m just glad its the only unusable gift we got.  I have no idea what we’ll say to them when we see them next month!  Hopefully they won’t mention it.

Post # 7
Member
34 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Some people have the types of families where you get gifts for Christmas and get gift receipts, and returning stuff is always an option. Other people, like my family, gives and receives – and gift receipts and returning something is never an option, unless it’s completely the wrong size or you get two of the same thing.

So based on my experience with gift giving and receiving growing up, I think I’d be sad if I knew someone returned the gift I gave them! Even though it feels strange to admit this, I’d prefer that they return the gift and lie to me.

Of course, there’s always the tricky aspect of having the person over to your house and them asking for an espresso- but if they’re long-distance or just never visit, it’s not such an issue. 

Post # 8
Member
278 posts
Helper bee

Just a general "Thank you for your generosity" seems sufficient.  I always recommend people buy off the couple’s registry….it saves a lot of awkward moments!

Post # 9
Member
90 posts
Worker bee

Lie through your friggin’ teeth.  Sparing feelings always wins in my book. Like thartofliving said, I’d prefer someone lied to me.

Post # 10
Member
508 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

For thank you notes, if you really aren’t going to use it or will return the gift, focus on the thoughtfulness and how much you enjoyed sharing the day with them (or how much you missed them if they weren’t there).  That way, you honor the generousity and the relationship rather than the specific gift. 

If the person presses for more info, you can either fib and say you love it and then hope they never come over and find you out or be honest and admit that you don’t drink coffee, so rather than pack it away, you exchanged it for xxx and will think of them every time you use it (or something along those lines).

It is awkward to field these kinds of questions, especially from people who went off registry.

Post # 11
Member
2292 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2008

Lying, even to save someone’s feelings, is never a good idea if there is a high likelihood of getting caught.  If the givers live far enough away, and/or never visit, a simple "thanks for your thoughtful gift" is sufficient.  And by the way, that’s always sufficient for the thank you note.  If they keep asking how you like the gift, or you have them over for dinner with some frequency, and they are likely to ask for an espresso, it’s better to let them know that while you appreciate the thought, you did return the gift.  This goes over better with a little justification (we really aren’t coffee drinkers) and an idea of what you did with the return/exchange (but we love fruit smoothies, so we have exchanged it for a smoothie machine).

Post # 12
Member
27 posts
Newbee

Definitely don’t tell people that you returned the gift unless absolutely necessary. Such as if they are at your house and want to see it. Then, say that you had to return it because ______(Fill in the blank). I would go with I broke it as another option. Please don’t think I am a dishonest person, but I would lie to spare someone’s feelings. Whatever you do, don’t feel bad about returning ANYTHING!!! If I had kept all of the terrible gifts I had received, I wouldn’t have had the store credit to get anything I needed.

 These are a few thank-you phrases that have worked well for me: Your gift was a…. 

"wonderful surprise"

"perfect addition to our kitchen" 

"beautiful addition to our home" 

Post # 13
Member
2365 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I would say "Neither of us care for coffee, but our guests enjoy it so much! Thank you!"

Make up something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They just want to know what’s up, and for you to affirm they did a good job picking out the gift!

Post # 14
Member
820 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I would definitely lie. That’s what white lies are for!

 I still feel bad, before my fiance and I knew anything about weddings, our friends got married and we bought them a crystal decanter from a Waterford outlet – it was a $300 decanter and still cost us $180, so we thought it was a great gift.. and we felt fine giving it. However, now we’ve learned that a) they would have preferred the money over something they didn’t register for b) we should have just spent the $180 on something we knew they’d like, off their registry and c) we really should have done one of the above two!! I cringe when i go over there because we don’t see the decanter ANYWHERE, but I know they couldn’t have returned it! Ahh I hate this story!! I feel SO BAD NOW! But the moral of the story is that the thank-you note sounded REALLY genuine, about how beautiful it was, etc etc- so I try to remind myself of that when I feel bad. It helps… for the most part. But better that than if they had said, we really don’t like the gift you gave us, can we have the receipt for it??? 

Post # 15
Member
232 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

i’d say treat it like any unusable gift you’ve received.  i haven’t had my wedding yet, but i’ve received a ton of gifts from my FI’s family that i will never use.  they are all in my ‘garage sale’ room – even though i sent a thank you note for the thoughtful gift.

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