Monday, December 27, 2010

No More Fruitcakes: Amazon to the Rescue?

Ah, a heart-warming Christmas story! has patented a process that would allow gift recipients to return gifts before they receive them.

If Uncle Ben buys you his annual gift Christmas fruitcake through Amazon—and you hate fruitcake and would prefer a bag of Sunsweet Gold Label Pitted Dried Plums—hey, make the switch!

Gone: Amazon’s packing, labeling, and shipping costs for the round trip.  Call that mega$$$.

Gone:  Your time and effort to repack, label, arrange for shipment—or otherwise recycle.  Call that “pain” and add to it, perhaps, just a touch of holiday “guilt.”

A spokesperson for the Emily Post Institute, according to the Washington Post, has given the idea two-thumbs down:  “This idea totally misses the spirit of gift giving.  The point of gift giving is to allow someone else to go through that action of buying something for us.  Otherwise, giving a gift just becomes another one of the world’s transactions.”

Hey, Emily Post Institute, lighten up.  What spirit resides in a gift that becomes the family joke or ends up in the trash can covered with a little-white lie (“We loved your annual fruit cake, Uncle Ben”) and the hope the trash collector doesn’t drop that fruity brick on his foot?

If implemented, the Amazon system would have options.  For example, it might let you send Uncle Ben a thank-you note telling him that you exchanged his fruitcake for the bag of dried plums.  But it also might let you enjoy just a little guilt by sending Uncle Ben a thank-you note without telling him you converted his gift fruitcake into a another gift or a gift card. 

I give Amazon's idea two-thumbs up!

What do you think?

To read Michael S. Rosenwald’s Washington Post article that inspired this posting, CLICK HERE.

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