B1 Intermediate US 75 Folder Collection
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What's the worst holiday gift
you've ever received?
For me, it's easy.
My mom used to consider Chanukah
a belated back-to-school holiday.
We would get binders, pens, staplers.
Once my mom wrapped this huge mystery present
that my sister thought was a dollhouse.
But it wasn't a dollhouse.
It was a trash can.
Most of us are actually terrible at giving gifts.
About $70 billion worth of presents
are returned every year in the U.S.
So how do we get... less terrible?
Here are 3 ways to improve your gift-giving game
around the holidays.
1. Stop trying to make your gift so dame delightful
Research has shown that givers are obsessed
with the moment of unwrapping a gift
even more than the gift itself.
We envision the look of delirious happiness
and the ecstatic exclamations.
Like, WOW!
Oh my gosh!
You really know me!
Ironically, givers are selfish.
We want something from giving:
those looks of delight. Those exclamations.
This is why items like hyper-specific kitchen gadgets
and fancy vintage clocks
all seem like fantastic gifts.
But it turns out, recipients often want things
that are far more practical -- things they can actually use.
In one study, researchers asked givers and recipients
to rate gifts along two metrics:
Desirability, like a fancy but complicated coffee maker,
and feasibility, like a coffee maker you can
actually use without studying the instructions.
They found that givers reliably chose the desirable gifts.
But recipients preferred feasibility.
So what's the most practical gift you can give
that people might actually be grateful for?
2. When in doubt, give cash.
When economists study gift giving, they're very concerned with one thing: waste.
Let's “hypothetically” say that my grandmother
buys me a sweater that I hate, and your grandmother
also buys you sweater that you hate.
(Sorry, grandmothers!)
Before long, we're talking about billions of dollars in waste in the economy.
Economists call it "deadweight loss"
and they estimate that up to 30% of the value
of all gifts is wasted.
That means -- the company wasted time making the gift,
the giver wasted time buying it,
and the recipients wasted time returning it.
There's a way to fix this.
There is a very specific gift that is always worth the exact same
to both giver and receiver.
It's called cash.
The good thing about cash is that the receiver
can always make use of 100 percent of its value.
The bad thing about cold, hard cash is that... it's cold.
It doesn't say anything except, "Here's some money."
So this is a conundrum.
How do we design a gift-giving formula that is as efficient as cash
and as sentimental as you want to be?
3. Just give people what they ask for.
A good way to get what you want
is--shocker!--to tell people what you want.
A 2011 study looked at Amazon wish lists
to determine if people were more appreciative
of gifts from the list versus gifts that were total surprises.
It turned out that people got gifts that weren't on their list,
they actually saw them as less thoughtful
and less personal.
Surprise is overrated -- we're happier to get what we ask for.
We do everything we can to keep gifts top secret:
We wrap them so they don't look like they came from a store.
We tear the price tags off.
But we are spending money here.
If you want to make your gift count,
stop obsessing about the moment of unwrapping
and surprise.
Find out what the people that you love want--
and get it for them.
This is You Are Here, a show about the science of everyday life.
I'm Derek Thompson. Thank you for watching.
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Why Is Everyone So Bad At Giving Gifts?

75 Folder Collection
Courtney Shih published on February 19, 2020    Tina Huang translated    Evangeline reviewed
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