Day After Psychology - Return, Regift, Keep? - writercize #146

December 26 is generally considered the second busiest day of the retail year in the United States, between returns, purchases using gift card money and seeking deep post-Christmas discounts on holiday items and overstock.

It's also an interesting time to watch the shoppers.  There are the scrimpers out to save and the excited kids ready to spend holiday money on the gift of their choice, but there are also droves of people who hid disappointment over a gift with a wide smile and a polite thank you now ready to trade their unwanted wares in for something more their style.  I heard one woman state her first and last name on national radio and expose the gift she was rushing to the store to return.  Ballsy!

What do you do if you receive a gift you don't especially care for? Do you keep it, and stare at it in guilt for not using it? Do you keep it and use it, even though you don't like it? Do you regift or donate to charity? Or do you head straight back to the store for a return or exchange? If you are the gifter, would any of the above options offend you? What does the behavior say about the receiver, and what does the preference say about the giver? What would happen during the awkward moment when the person returning a gift runs into the gift-giver in line at the store?

writercize: Create a short character sketch of a person based on his/her solution to an unwanted gift.

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response about a woman who keeps ugly sweaters.
writercizer sample response:

Elisa's closet housed the city's most impressive collection of holiday sweaters. There were at least 30, piled high, bright colors and laughing Santas and red-nosed reindeer and all shades of silver, gray, blue and white snowflakes invading any retina that dared open her closet door. 

Far to the right was the pile of three sweaters with particularly extravagant designs, like bells. That pile loved to sing out. Every time there was an earthquake or a heavy truck driving by within a couple blocks radius, Elisa knew by the bells' sweet rings.

Elisa had only purchased one of the sweaters. For a holiday party that she thought was one of those bad Christmas sweater deals, where everyone wears the tackiest sweater they could find. She found a hideous cardigan, covered with three-dimensional snowmen complete with long carrot noses, and wore it in to the party, appalled to see that when she got there, everyone else was in formal attire. She was rushing a sorority at the time, and while all the other invites called for formal dress, her initiation came in the form of a very bad sweater.

Ever since, Elisa had been receiving anonymous packages on her doorstep just before the holidays, each one with a sweater worse than the last. She knew they had to be from an old soror, but they never came with a name on the return label. She never wore them, but couldn't bring herself to return or donate them either, thinking that perhaps one day she would need them, or throw a party where everyone would randomly want to dress up in ugly sweaters, or she would run out of clothing and have nothing left to wear in her closet other than holiday knitwear. So she hung on to them, gave them space in her closet and in her life, allowed them to remind her of the humiliation she had felt that night, and waited for them to reveal their true purpose in her life's trajectory one day.

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