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Gifts. [Oct. 8th, 2006|10:34 pm]
Kake
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I have a lot of posts queued up that never seem to have a good time for posting; it always seems like someone's going to think it's purely about them. Luckily, a situation[0] arose today which sparked some potentially interesting thoughts but without being anything anyone would get their knickers in a twist about, so I can post the thoughts now without upsetting anyone.

[0] For the curious: I wrote some code a while ago — unasked — for a project that I'm not directly connected with, and sent it over to someone who was connected with it. I found out today that they don't want it. No big deal.

Anyway, on to the thoughts. They're about gifts.

If I give you something, it's yours. It's so thoroughly yours that you can do whatever you like with it. You can love it and cherish it for the rest of your life, or you can throw it away the next day. It's yours. The gifts I give don't have attached conditions; I wouldn't consider them to be gifts if they did.

I would be more upset by finding out that out of guilt you'd held on to something you really didn't want, than by finding out you'd got rid of it.

I rarely give presents at “expected” times. You're extremely unlikely to get a $religious_holiday present from me, and you're not all that likely to get a birthday present. What you are likely to get is an “I saw this and thought you would like it” present, or an “I thought you needed something nice to happen” present.

Sometimes, of course, these occasions coincide (and then circumstances conspire against my actually delivering the thing — for example, I still have an undelivered birthday present for jvvw, somewhere; oh, and a Christmas card for rejs written in about 2001).

So I wondered how the rest of you feel about this sort of thing. I made a little poll, but I would love to hear more in comments. This is also a rare public post, so feel free to point people at it. If interestingness ensues, I may make more public ones.

Apologies to mahogany and rjw1, who answered the first version of this poll; I didn't realise until I looked at your answers how difficult the commas in the first version made it to read. Please please fill it in again!

Note: in this poll, “I” refers to you, the person answering.

If I gave someone a present, I would be unhappy if they:

threw it away without telling me
0(0.0%)
asked me if I minded them throwing it away
0(0.0%)
threw it away and told me they did
0(0.0%)
gave it away without telling me
0(0.0%)
asked me if I minded them giving it away
0(0.0%)
gave it away and then told me
0(0.0%)
put it into storage without telling me
0(0.0%)
asked me if I minded them putting it into storage
0(0.0%)
put it into storage and then told me
0(0.0%)
kept it but would have preferred not to
8(22.2%)

If I gave someone a present, I would think less of them if they:

threw it away without telling me
1(5.9%)
asked me if I minded them throwing it away
0(0.0%)
threw it away and told me they did
4(23.5%)
gave it away without telling me
0(0.0%)
asked me if I minded them giving it away
0(0.0%)
gave it away and then told me
0(0.0%)
put it into storage without telling me
0(0.0%)
asked me if I minded them putting it into storage
0(0.0%)
put it into storage and then told me
0(0.0%)
kept it but would have preferred not to
1(5.9%)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ceb
2006-10-08 09:45 pm (UTC)
I'd be unhappy if they threw it away (absent it having broken/been used up) because I try to give people presents of things I think they'll like and it would mean I'd failed in my aim. I might or might not be unhappy if they gave it away, depending on whether it was because they didn't like it (sad) or because they'd found someone who would like it more (happy).
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[User Picture]From: nou
2006-10-09 06:10 pm (UTC)
That makes sense. I like the idea of a gift I'd given being handed on to someone else who'd appreciate it more; it's like little tendrils of happiness wandering out into the world.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)