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Creation Date: 2004-01-06
Greetings. I hope you had as nice holidays as I did. The truth was that I worked more in the last two weeks than I have in years. Work as I define it, you see. I have a strange definition of work and it definately fits what I was doing the past two weeks. Work comes with money attached. But work cannot be defined so simply as that which you are paid for. I could get paid for listening to music and not call it work. I could also imagine a situation where I did (err, would) not get paid and would consider it work.

I have a really good lesson for you tonight. If I had read what I am now writing, I would be slightly less clueless.

Returning a gift bought with credit. The money is put back onto the credit card of the gift giver. The gift receiver (to be denoted by Engr from now on) decides s/he does not want the gift. The Engr is now faced with a dilemma: explain to the gift giver that their time spent buying the gift was worthless. The gift (in most cases) is non-trivial: $100 or so. The Engr needs the money to pay rent or purchase necessary or desired items. The giver does not want to give money since that is not only unsensitive, but also insecure (in that it could allow the Engr dubious purchases). The store allows returns to be exchanged for items worth an equal amount, but the store has nothing worth $100 to the Engr. Solutions?

1) Sell it on eBay for $25.
2) Ask giver about possible solutions.
3) Get the most out of the product and put in closet.

1a) Is that the best you can think of?
2a) It requires uncomfortable conversation with gift giver.
3a) A reasonable answer, but why torture yourself? Keep a worthless gift?

Now, let's change perspective. The company who sold it has a major reason to not refund. They put work into selling the item. A return is the loss of work of selling. How about the perspective of the gift giver? They put work into thinking of a gift. They couldn't be certain because gifts are supposed to be secret. The responsibility is obviously shared by the giver and the receiver. Both can and will effect affect the solution, so the Engr as a reciever must make a deal with the giver (Solution 2) or decide to lose value (Solution 1 or 3).

So there are important factors which play into this. I will explain the situation. The item in this case was a DVD collection. I spend less than $200 per year on renting 100 DVDs. That's a bunch, but it's reasonable for an otaku like myself. It makes no sense at all that I should spend $100 on 4 DVDs that I do not like (and will not enjoy once let alone a half dozen like I do the rest of my collection).

In this case, the Engr spoke with the gift giver. The topic of the gift refund did not come up. Why? The Engr has a taboo about talking about money. If it doesn't involve getting evicted, it doesn't come up. That is the way of this Engr. Why? The Engr knows where the conversation will lead and does not want to go that way.

Gift giver asks Engr, "What is in the bag?"
The Engr resists, but sheepishly explains.
The gift giver says, "I don't mind," and gives a third party the credit card to make the refund which cancels the purchase from the credit card. The gift giver gives a check instead. The gift giver asks, "What will you buy with it?" Probably a wi-fi card and a laptop battery. This brings up a very radical rant below.

Gifts should not pay rent, but what do expect a poor person to do with cash they need? Spend it on booze and hookers? I'm boycotting everything except rent, computing, vegetarian food, and anime. Selective boycotting is a bullshit numbers game. Most people say that my so-called boycott is just my lifestyle but it is more. There is something terribly wrong with the way that our society is going. I can see the symptoms, the cause, and just one cure: opt out. I won't be part of a society like this. I'd rather sit at home thinking about things than to be out there. Joining in this society of consumption is actively participating in our own destruction. I won't have a part in it. I wear my hair long as much as I can get away with as a symbol to those who have joined the society and to those who wish to join the revolution. The revolution will not be televised. Ask me about opting out. I have quite a bit of resources that a person can begin on their own journey with. Don't take my word for it.

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