We all have stories of holiday gifts that we've received but
didn't want. Maybe it was a sweater that was two sizes too big, or
perfume that didn't smell much better than rubbing alcohol, or an
ugly black radio/cassette player instead of the cute pink one you
really wanted (yes, Dad, I still remember).
Test Your Holiday Gift-Giving Etiquette
SheSpeaks and Lippe Taylor surveyed 3,000 women to find out
which were the
gifts they had ever been given. Here are the results:
-- The same sweater ... three years in a row
-- A compost starter kit -- although useful, the women surveyed
didn't want to receive this item as a holiday gift
-- Monogrammed towel with the recipient's name spelled incorrectly
-- A bathroom scale
-- Used make-Up
-- A re-gifted coffee mug from a casino, with a buffet coupon still
Maybe you've received one of these gifts, or possibly something
even worse. But hopefully you've never given anybody something
quite so bad. There is a good chance, though, that you have given
someone a gift he or she didn't want or like. And that means the
recipient had to go to the trouble of returning that gift.
A study by market research company MarketTools reveals the
most-returned gifts. So you might want to avoid buying these items
for friends and family unless they've specifically requested them
(and have included make, model or size with their request).
-- 62% of those surveyed by MarketTools returned gifts of
clothing and shoes.
-- 16% of those surveyed returned toys, games & hobbies.
-- 14% of those surveyed returned consumer electronics.
-- 13% of those surveyed returned kitchen & bath gifts.
-- 10% of those surveyed returned beauty & cosmetic items.
-- 10% of those surveyed returned jewelry & watches.
should make it easy for recipients to return unwanted items by
including gift receipts. Don't worry, it's not tacky. In fact,
Peter Post, co-author of
The Etiquette Advantage in Business
Essential Manners for Couples
, says that you should include a gift receipt so that the recipient
will feel comfortable taking the item back if it's not right.
If you don't receive a receipt with a gift that you don't want, you
might not be entirely out of luck. Many retailers will give you
store credit -- but probably at the lowest price at which the item
was sold in the past 30 days. Some retailers limit the number of
times you can return items without a receipt. Other retailers only
let you return items without a receipt up to a certain price.
Unfortunately, some may not give you a refund at all without a
Make sure you act quickly to return unwanted gifts. Although
some retailers allow up to 90 days to return items, some limit the
return window to 30 days or fewer. Check the retailer's site or
call after you receive an unwanted gift to find out how quickly you
need to return it. Also make sure you don't open the manufacturer's
or retailer's packaging on unwanted gifts. Otherwise you might only
be able to exchange it for an identical item, which is the case for
computer software, movies, music and video games purchased at Best
Buy, for example. Or you might have to pay a restocking fee
(generally 15% of the purchase price) if you return items --
especially electronics -- that aren't in their original package.
This is meant to discourage the one-time use of items.
If you receive a gift card that you don't want, it's easy to
sell it for cash (up to 90% of the face value) at sites such as
. One of the best days to sell unwanted gift cards is December 26
because retailers are looking to replenish depleted gift card
inventory and often pay some of the best prices, according to Gift
me on Twitter