Thursday, December 30, 2010

Avoiding Xmas Deadweight Loss, Part III

In the first and second parts of this series I discussed different ways to avoid the huge loss to society in bad or overpriced gifts (but maybe not wrapping). The suggestions were simple ways to be sure what the receiver gets is close to what the receiver wants. I've suggested giving guilty pleasures, giving in your expertise, and also fun gift exchanges. But apparently Amazon may solve this problem for us:
Every year, millions of packages get shipped across the country from Amazon from all over their various warehouses to gift receivers who open them and invariably look at them and go, hmm, I didn't want that. And then the gifts go back across the country.

Amazon has come up with a way to make sure that the gifts that you get are the gifts that you want. They have patented a method of creating rules in your Amazon account so that if you get a gift, for instance, from Aunt Mildred who is a awful gift-giver, those gifts would automatically either be converted to a gift card or something from your wish list.

You can specify, for instance, don't give me wool sweaters. And if a wool sweater is ordered for you, it would be converted into something else. The rules could go sort of on and on and on. You could say anything over $50, let me know first and convert the gift.
All this without ruining those good feelings the giver gets:
In many cases, they would not know. In fact, in their patent has made it pretty clear that you could send a return thank-you note that thanks the person for the actual gift that you converted, without telling them that the gift had been converted.
Until then, we'll have to just have to be uncomfortably forward with what we do and do not want.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.