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Why Online Wish Lists Make Good Economic Sense

No one likes to waste their money.  When we shop for ourselves and make purchases either big or small, we consider the price, if the value of the item to us is equal to that price, and make the decision whether or not to buy it.  In many cases, most of us also look for that great deal where the value is more than what we’re paying, and we gleam additional satisfaction off of that.

But what about gift giving?  Does the same process hold true?

Economist Joel Waldfogel from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management doesn’t seem to think so, and we couldn’t agree more.

Here’s a quick clip we stumbled across that explains this point:

Professor Waldfogel’s book Scroogenomics has long been an inspiration for us here at Giftster in our effort to help minimize and eventually eliminate the economic waste that comes with gift giving.  In his book, Professor Waldfogel explains that, in the USA alone, there is $14 billion in loss of economic value during the holidays centered around gift giving.

So how does that happen?  Pretty much exactly as the video clip depicts.

With gift giving, we often hear “it’s the thought that counts.”  In addition to this, we also hear that having a wish list or gift registry takes that thought away from a gift giver’s joy.  But the other side of that coin is the potential for giving a gift that is not needed, not wanted, or is completely not right for the recipient.  Now, that REALLY doesn’t bring a gift giver joy.

As gift recipients, we’ve been conditioned to put on our best present face and not let the gift giver know when they’ve missed the mark with a gift.  Why?  Because it’s the thought that counts and we should show our gratitude to the gift giver for being so generous as to think of us and spend their money and time giving us a gift. It would be impolite to tell them that the gift isn’t quite right for us.

And that’s where the devaluing of the item begins adding to a high pile of economic waste.  It’s also often the beginning of household clutter and the “I’m holding on to this because so-and-so gave it to me and it would just be wrong to return it or sell it or get rid of it because their thought counted.”

I know this first hand as I’ve got patches of said clutter around my own house, and I’m sure you do, too.

I can guarantee that’s not what the gift givers in your life wanted for you.  Having given gifts several times over in the past, I’ve gotten used to identifying my family and friends’ present faces, and feel horrible when they make the face because I’ve given a not-so-ideal gift.

When you’ve given a gift that’s not desired, even if you included a gift receipt and the monetary value can be recovered, you’ve now caused the recipient to spend their time making a return.  That has a value to it as well.  The retailer is now also spending money paying an employee to process the return, restock it if possible and, if not, marking it as their own waste because now they have a product that they cannot sell and recoup their own value.

Or, worse yet, if the item cannot be returned, it could end up being donated, thrown out, or sold for much less than what was spent.  As the video clip says, you might as well just burn that money.

Our solution has been Giftster.  It’s our way of empowering you with the necessary tools to get gifts right every time.

Finding a gift idea off of a wish list registry does not take the thought out of giving the gift.  If anything, it validates the thought and increases its value because you took the time to find out beforehand that the gift is, indeed, on the mark.  For those who prefer to go off-list and choose an item that is not specifically listed, we’ve also included a helpful gift preference profile so each Giftster member can list things like clothing sizes, personal preferences, interests, and even what to absolutely not give them.  This is all very helpful information to guide you to the right gift selection.

Within the next few months, we have other tools we’ll be rolling out to further empower you for superior gift giving without the fear of wasting your hard earned money and most valuable time.

Ready to get gifts right every time?  Create your free Giftster wish list registry today.  We’ll walk you through creating your first wish list, creating a group for your family, and inviting everyone to join in the fun.  Set it up once, use it for a lifetime.

 

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