Gifts for the Greedy

I've become a magnet for weird PR pitches. Last month was All About Alpacas. Now, I'm being hounded by a company that seems to represent the worst in American consumerism and bald greed.

I speak of, a launching-any-minute website that aims to help people with salty tastes and limited tact get what they want instead of the same old junk they'll wind up tossing or re-gifting.

A good percentage of Christmas and other gifts become deadweight, the pitch begins. People spend 16% more on presents than they are really worth. For example, a gifter spends $20 for a DVD that would have only cost $15 if it had been purchased for themselves. Many of the inappropriate gifts come from the elderly, and it costs this group, on the average, 50% more to buy this present.

The idea: Bluntly inform Granny and all your other cheap pals that you don't want slippers -- but would adore it if they'd all pitch in on a pair of stilettos. Or diamond earrings. Or a leather jacket. Or an alpaca!

Groups of two to 20 can rally around your outlandish demands. You know you're worth it!

And while you're cashing in, you'll be fighting a nationwide epidemic: Wasteful Gifting.

What, you've never heard of it? Apparently, it's a societal scourge: The Economist estimates that around Christmastime, for example, people spend $40 billion, $4 billion of which is being lost in wasteful gifts.

I mock at the risk of handing the company the free publicity it seeks. But, I must.

Granny, if you're reading, I'm down with slippers. One of mine disappeared last spring.

-- Monica Yant Kinney


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