Have You Ever Been Guilted into Buying a Gift?

I just heard about the most genius gift buying strategy and wanted to share it with you guys. A friend of mine, ‘Michelle,’ received an unexpected Christmas gift from a co-worker. And it wasn’t just a small gift, either. It was an expensive handbag.

Michelle didn’t ask or expect something like this, so she was forced into the uncomfortable situation of returning the $15 present she bought and looking for something else. All while not wanted to spend 1/3 of her paycheck on a gift for someone she has little emotional connection to!

Ready for some creativity? Guess what she did?

Instead of creating an awkward moment by refusing the gift or giving something of much lesser quality, Michelle decided to she had to get something somewhat close in price to the bag. After all, she didn’t want to ruin the friendship or make things uncomfortable at work.

Of course, she wanted to do all this without having to actually spend her hard earned money.

So Michelle took the bag (and gift receipt) and returned the item. Why? So that she could use the money to buy a present for her co-worker!

While in the end, the co-worker ended up just buying herself a gift, my friend was able to take this strange situation and turn it around so that everyone was happy. Michelle didn’t have to spend big bucks, her co-worker felt good about both giving and getting a present, and nobody’s feelings were hurt!

Readers, what do you think of this strategy? Was this the right behavior? Is there a better option?

13 Responses to Have You Ever Been Guilted into Buying a Gift?

  1. If someone gave me a designer handbag, I would have returned it too.

    Seriously, I think this is a great idea and I had never thought about it. I’ll keep it in mind next time this happens to me.

  2. I think it’s really stupid. I would be very offended if someone returned a gift I hand picked for her and used the money to buy me a gift. Fake friendship right there.

    • @SY, The giver didn’t know it was returned. Anytime a gift is returned and the giver knows, their feelings will be hurt. However, they did include a gift receipt in the box, so there are worse things to do. Clearly gifts mean a lot to this person and Michelle was just trying to do her best in an uncomfortable situation.

    • @SY, buying someone you aren’t close to an expensive gift makes it look like a desperate attempt to buy friendship.

  3. I still want to know why a non-close friend would spend big money on a gift for me…I think Michelle did the best she possibly could in that situation!

    • @Crystal @ BFS, No idea why a co-worker felt the need. Michelle was planning on getting her a $15 notebook, so there was a huge difference in their feelings I guess.

  4. I think it was a good strategy, only she will have to avoid the subject of the purse if it comes up. If someone gives you an unexpected expensive gift, and you think it was over the top and not warranted for the friendship, I think this approach is a good way to be gracious and spare the other person’s feelings. It’s showing kindness without breaking your own budget.

  5. Very smart strategy. I would do the same thing. I was guilted into participating in gift exchanging for Christmas. I was under the impression that we WEREN’T buying gifts until people started talking about what they were getting me

  6. I think that was a good strategy as well, especially since she’s not very close to her co-worker. It was also a very clever move; use the money from the gift instead of her own money. I personally have no problem returning unwanted gifts, even from relatives. I know, I’m shameless, but often it’s the expensive gifts that will just end up as clutter in my closets. I’d much rather have the cash to do as I please; spend, save, or both.

  7. Maybe this is because I’m a guy, but anyone who really knows me knows I hardly buy anyone gifts (except close family) for Christmas. It seems spending hundreds of dollars on someone you hardly know has hidden motives, especially if they didn’t buy everyone else in the office the same caliber of gift. I’ll never buy anyone in my office a gift because it can create havoc on my finances and can get out of hand quickly. Plus, once you start, you have to maintain it every year. I’d just assume not start and make it clear I don’t give gifts to non-family. Call me a grinch, but I don’t let anyone try and guilt me into doing something I don’t want. The fact that someone would buy me a gift like that should make them feel uncomfortable.

  8. I probably would have refused the gift or brought in a home made one the next day. Thank you cookies or something.