Crap Presents For Christmas & Birthdays

Is it rude to return a crap present? Chances are that you have received a crap present for Christmas or Birthday and are miffed and considering returning it.

There is a growing trend for people to re-gift, also known as recycling, to save money. Recycling only works if it happens to be what the other person wants, otherwise all you have done is reduce your clutter.

It most certainly is rude to return a present. Do not do it. Sometimes people do not have the money to buy lavish gifts and they might be recycling what they have received. Even if it is a crap present, accept it with gratitude. I always make a list of the presents that people have given me and then write them a thank you note mentioning how generous they are, and how kind it was of them to remember me.

It can be annoying if the person who gave it to you is rich and wastes money all year round, yet during Christmas they start becoming stingy and recycle awful products that you would never use in a thousand years.

I have one friend who always gives me recycled presents. These are things that they bought for themselves but did not like so they decide to save it for Christmas to give to me. I always receive a whole load of stuff that I do not like, and all of it goes to my local charity shop to raise money.

One year I received a cheap bottle of toxic aftershave. The box looked nice, just like a well-known brand of expensive aftershave, but this one stank of cats pee on a hot summer’s day. I put a little bit on my hand and instantly it started to burn. I spilt a drop on my expensive desk and the French polish came right off! It then cost me £30 to have the desk restored by a professional restorer! The smell was so strong that it lingered for days and two days later, I ended up with a sore throat from the toxic aftershave fumes. It then cost me a further fiver to buy a throat spray from the Boots Chemist... The most annoying thing I noticed was that the giver had already tried it and did not like it, but for some inexplicable reason they thought that, I might like it.

So Pete's rule number one is never recycle something that you tried and did not like yourself, chances are others will not like it either.

Recycling presents is a good practice if it is thought out properly, however if you recycle an awful present, then it makes a huge statement to the person you have given it to. Stuff like that should end up in the bin, preferably a toxic chemical recycling centre for hazardous materials.

In gratitude for three days worth of computer work, backing up a server, reinstalling the operating system, reinstalling the drivers, reinstalling the software, restoring the hundreds of original settings, upgrading the hardware -- for which I paid for the parts out of my pocket -- the ungrateful sods gave me banana flavoured Jelly sweets. They had brought them from their holiday in Turkey, and happened to have two boxes lying around.

Now you might think that this banana-flavoured jelly sweet must have had an amazing taste but actually, it was disgusting. The flavour was somebody's idea of what a banana might have tasted. It was like chewing burnt plastic that stank of banana essence and tasted like gravy. I would not inflict it even on my worst enemy hence both boxes went straight in the bin.

The next year they gave me a shirt that was no ordinary shirt. As soon as I wore it, I could feel that it had a life of its own and did not sit properly. It felt tight around one armpit on one side. The collars would not remain symmetrical but skewed at a jaunty angle. The sleeve was too large on one side and too short on the other. Obviously, this shirt was for the elephant man and even he would have had difficulty wearing it...

After some deliberation as to whether I should give it to Oxfam, I decided to throw it away. I would not want anyone buying it from there and blaming them as they have an excellent reputation for good quality clothing.

Once they gave me a dusty jumper with a hideous pattern on the front, as payment for one days work repairing a computer. I actually did not want any money, but the giver felt that by giving me the jumper it would somehow make us even. The problem with this jumper was that it stank of mothballs. Even worse, it must have been hanging in their cupboard for years as it had a thick layer of dust on the shoulders. As soon as I wore it, I started to sneeze uncontrollably. The continuous sneezing lasted over an hour and led to a wheezing cough and finally I could not breathe at all. I had to call an ambulance, and the doctor suspected an allergic reaction. It was then that I realised that it was the nylon / acrylic dusty jumper from hell. I had to buy two prescription medicines, which cost me £15.00 in total. Thanks very much!

The human potential of recycling awful presents simply amazes me. If you want to say thank you to someone, just send a card, but most definitely do not send things that you have lying around the house! If you have things that you do not need, put it all in a box and take it to your local charity shop. If you want to make money from it, then why not sell the good stuff on eBay. They often allow free listings for anything under a pound.

However, most importantly, always remember... Never to send me your recycled presents! :-)