Sunday, July 4, 2010

Straining the Definition of “Gift”

Do have mixed feelings about an acquaintance whose birthday is coming up? Do those feelings sometimes veer more toward the negative, now that you think about it? Do you wish you could indirectly communicate your feelings toward this person?

Well, I have the method for you.

Kristen sent me this photo — along with the message “Please, do not get me this gift” — of a set of sink strainers inexplicably marketed and marked as a “gift.” (I assume they meant “item” or “object.”) I honestly can’t think of a present that better tells its recipient “I don’t especially care for you.” I suppose in the literal sense of a gift being something that is given, the terminology is appropriate, but I can only imagine that this “gift” has been responsible for many broken friendships. Unless, of course, someone’s sink blockage problem is so bad that they must be given this by somebody else, in which case that person probably has more pressing concerns than their birthday presents.

The packaging says “Made in China.” Chinese readers, if you exist, can you tell me if this would be considered a thoughtful present in your country?

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