A bad gift is something we have all experienced. However, we rarely believe the gifts we give to others may be bad as well. It’s time to start believing.
In a poll of global consumers, over 70% planned to return at least one gift received during the holidays. Needless to say, that’s a massive percentage of returns and brings us to the topic of this article. Why are people so likely to receive a bad gift and how to avoid giving something that will ultimately be returned?
To be honest, the reason your gift could end up being bad may not even be your fault. Although I’ve never returned an item, there have been many left to collect dust. The reasoning ranges from trivial to major. Several coats don’t fit my preferred style and some kitchen gadgets are more inconvenient than useful. From my own experience, I can say that your gift could just be a bad gift due to the giftee’s personal preferences.
However, for the majority of bad gifts, there was likely some way you could have avoided giving it. By analyzing this article you can discover the major reasons a gift ends up being returned and how to avoid it from happening to yours.
Reason 1 – The Clothing Isn’t Right
Clothing and shoes make up the highest amount of returns, especially for online shopping. Even people who know their sizing can end up returning products they ordered themselves. I consider clothing a high-risk type of gift not only because sizing is needed to order properly, but even with the right size, other factors can make the clothes unfavorable.
Everyone has their own style and what they like to wear. For example, some people like baggy clothes and some people prefer form-fitting clothes. Your sizing can be spot on but if the style isn’t something they like, your gift will either get returned, collect dust, or be given to someone else.
The ultimate way to avoid your clothing gift from being considered bad is to keep things simple. The more complex the outfit is, the more likely the giftee will find something wrong with it. A t-shirt is better than a dress. Some socks are better than a pair of shoes. If you are intent on getting a complex outfit, you need to know the person’s sizing at minimum at should also have a grasp of their preferred style.
Despite it being a gift, I’m personally a fan of asking the giftee’s opinion on clothing before buying it. It might ruin the surprise but, given the price of some apparel, it’s necessary to ensure your money doesn’t go to waste.
Reason 2 – They Don’t Need The Appliance
Small appliances are insanely popular gifts. They are functional and more pricey than average, giving them more value among cheaper gifts. I like seeing people’s faces light up when opening a new gadget. For adults, it’s reminiscent of childhood days spent opening toys.
But, odds are that your appliance will just collect dust.
While appliances aren’t truly bad gifts, the functionality is usually already being fulfilled by something else. In today’s consumer society, people don’t go on for too long with a need that goes unfulfilled. In addition, while the gadget may sell itself as being more convenient, your giftee probably has a faster method of getting things done.
Yes, that air fryer might make a fast dinner, but it won’t beat the pre-cooked food they’ve come to love.
If you don’t want an appliance to be a bad gift, you need to analyze their lifestyle and also ask if they already have the appliance if it is something common. In my stay at home mom gift guide article, you see that I recommend a toaster oven because of how parents often need to cook small meals for their children. While a regular over covers the same function, a small oven saves energy and reduces unnecessary heating.
These are basic considerations you need to take when scouting for good appliances to gift. Another important aspect is the size of the item. It’s a pet peeve of mine, and likely many others, to have to move stuff around just to access something else. Gifts that add clutter to the home are not tolerated for long. Eventually, the added inconvenience begins to outway the function if the item is incredibly useful. That’s why, in this case, the smaller options are usually better.
Avoid getting large appliances unless you know they really need one.
Reason 3 – The Scents Aren’t Right
Bath and body products come in as another popular gift category that can go unused by the giftee. Rather than soap and body wash, I mainly discussing perfume/cologne and lotions. Unlike the soaps, perfume and lotion are applied in ways that make their scent long-lasting. That’s why their fragrance is more important than anything else. I have a particular cologne that I like, as I’m sure most people do.
The wrong scent for a perfume or lotion means it won’t get used, plain and simple. How we smell is a very personal preference. Even scents that smell amazing might not be suitable for your giftee because they have a preference. For instance, I like citrus-based cologne for everyday activities and a musk cologne for the night. Rarely do I ever change and wear something different.
In extreme cases, sometimes a scent becomes so popular that people lose interest in it.
That top-recommended cologne or lotion might not be as good of a gift as you intended if people can readily identify it with one whiff. We like to place a lot of our personality in the scent we choose and having something too common is essentially saying our personality is boring.
If you are worried about your bath and body product being a bad gift, I recommend sticking to soaps and body wash. Because soap scent is only strong at the time of washing you can gift a lot of fragrances you wouldn’t dream of giving as perfume or lotion. However, if you do want to give a perfume, cologne, or lotion as a gift, the gentle fragrances are best. They can always be used as all-purpose fragrances with no specific meaning. Even something basic like a vanilla-scented lotion can get the job done. I would also pick fragrances by trying them in-person instead of purchasing online. That way you can make a better decision based on if the scent seems to fit your giftee.
Reason 4 – They Like To Be Healthy
Junk food and gifts seem to go hand in hand. For whatever reason, when we want food to seem special it almost always involves fat and sugar-rich delicacies. Caramel popcorn, layered cake, and boxed chocolate are just a few common food gifts that seem to be bought without much thought. As someone who watches what they eat, I wish more thought was put into such gifts.
I do eat unhealthy food that gets presented as a gift. They would become unnecessary waste otherwise. However, I stress to people that they shouldn’t buy me junk food as a gift. That same stress is now being directed at you. If you know someone that is leading a healthy lifestyle, don’t be inconsiderate. Junk food is certainly a bad gift for them.
Not only is junk food terrible, but it’s also unnecessary. I wrote before how to make a healthy gift basket that people will love. It’s not hard and the end result can actually be better than other options. Your giftee will appreciate that you took their lifestyle into consideration when picking out their gift. I know I always do.
Reason 5 – You Didn’t Buy Exactly What They Wanted
Sometimes nothing is better than an alternative. If your giftee has told you what they wanted, it’s better not to overthink it. I’ve had this happen to me on numerous occasions. Someone asks me what I want, I tell them, and then somehow they manage to get something different than what I asked for.
I’m not spoiled enough to not appreciate a gift. However, when you specifically ask a person what they want and then decide not to get it, that action undermines their input. What happens then is that any gift you present, even if it’s great, will be looked at with discontent. Say you go out to buy a PS4 because it’s on sale. Great gift, right? However, little Jimmy asked for an Xbox One, but that was still at full price. I know the rational thought is that saving a few hundred bucks is more important, but people don’t always view gifts rationally.
I know a lot of times I’ve had the feeling that nothing would be better than not getting what I preferred. It’s a dumb feeling, but realistic. That’s right. Your gift can be bad simply because people are irrational and picky. I wish it wasn’t true but those are the facts.
To avoid your gift not being appreciated, you should take to heart whatever they say about what they want. If you have no intention of getting exactly what they ask for, it’s better not to ask what they want. Keep their gift a surprise.
Stop Giving Bad Gifts
There you have the top 5 reasons people unintentionally give bad gifts. If you take this information and apply it, you should be able to pick out something special that will be treasured. I really hope this list has inspired people to reflect on their gift purchases. Often times, you won’t ever realize the gift you gave is bad so it’s important to get it right the first time.
Finding out what to give doesn’t have to be hard. If you need some inspiration, check out some of the unique product lists I’ve written.