How to Return A Gift and Retain Your Sanity

Gifts-01The holiday season is a time for many things – gratitude and graciousness, friends and family, cookies and eggnog, and – perhaps most notably – gifts. Despite the hours you’ve spent researching the best deals and compiling color-coded, meticulously organized wishlists for each of your relatives that still hasn’t quite figured out who you are, what you’re about or what you like, there will be duds… many, many horrendous duds.

We’ve all received a gift that’s left us less than thrilled or nauseatingly underwhelmed – a variety pack of musty perfume or cologne that smells like it came from your grandparent’s personal collection; thick socks incapable of fitting inside even the bulkiest shoes; or a repeat of last year’s atrocity you “just loved so much I thought you needed another”.

Enough with feigning excitement to please those we [sometimes begrudgingly] love the most. Returning gifts is, was and forever will be an inevitable part of the holidays for reasons ranging from incorrect size or color to sheer loathing. In an effort to avoid end-of-year expletives or fist fights, we compiled a few tips to return and retain (your sanity, that is).

  • Return it online. If your gift came with a receipt, every conceivable problem has been solved without discussion of returning your gift with the one who bestowed it upon you. Many online sites will allow you to return the gift in the mail. For example: Amazon allows you to enter the gift’s order number, select the item you are returning, put the return authorization within the package and attach the label. Short, simple and painless (unless you get a paper cut). If returning online isn’t an option, you will have to head to the store and face the lines.
  • Re-Gift. Birthday coming up? Anniversary? Can you take your unwanted gift and use it for a future gift-giving occasion? You may not put cash in your pocket, but you will save yourself the future expense and hassle. It’s true what they say: one person’s junk can be another’s treasure.
  • amazon-01Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon. Most of us won’t be able to get our hands on the receipt and it’s pretty rude to ask for it. Take some pictures and post it on Craigslist, eBay, or Amazon. Chances are, someone will want it (and pay you to have it).
  • Store credit. Most retailers will allow you to return an item long after you received it for in-store credit. Wait out the endless lines and grab something else you actually want or need.

You can always do what we do and throw in the closet, forget about it for several years and accidentally discover it down the road when you are cleaning out your closet. By then, it’s either something you want or you’re ready to take the write-off and donate it. Happy returning!

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