Author Topic: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant  (Read 7105 times)

meghan88

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Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« on: June 09, 2016, 06:48:52 PM »
I've long said to anyone who'll listen, though it falls on deaf ears:  Please don't buy me anything, ever.  If I don't already have it, then I really don't need it.

After helping out a former colleague a few times, I received a call yesterday about a delivery of an "edible arrangement" as a thank-you.  It was lucky that I got the call at work because it would've been a nightmare had they delivered it there because there was no way I could get it home by bike.  And, we get free fruit and healthy snacks at work so it was no sense in accepting it there and sharing with colleagues.

So it was delivered to the condo today; DH works from home and had to break from a call at work to accept the delivery.

The thing was a huge bucket of pre-cut fruit, all artfully arranged on 60 plastic skewers, stuffed into foam covered in kale in a tin pail, and swathed in cellophane.  It was accompanied by a box of chocolate-dipped strawberries.

It didn't fit in the fridge, so DH took out a shelf to make it fit.  I got home at 6:30 and had to deal with it as the first order of business to get our fridge space back.  After removing it from the fridge with the intent of stripping it all down into a pyrex container, we tried to replace the shelf, which (being a two-piece deal that had a rolling component) promptly broke off some of the trim at the back when it fell on the kitchen floor, and also the top of that shelf came apart from the frame.  Then, we spent a fun 20 minutes trying to figure out how to put the shelf back together, minus the broken trim, and getting it back into the fridge at the right height. 

The next half hour was spent stripping the skewers of fruit into the pyrex container, washing the skewers prior to recycling, washing the kale and putting it into another container, and cleaning up.

We're kinda picky about our fruits and veg ... buying organic, washing everything (even fruits with peels prior to cutting into them), buying only what we need for consumption in the next day or so.

To recap the impact of the gift:

- a huge bowlful of non-organic fruit that needs to be consumed within the next few days
- a pile of cellophane and foam in the garbage, nearly doubling our twice-monthly output
- 60 large plastic skewers in the recycling
- a tin pail that's painted blue that I guess will have to go in the garbage as well, since I can't see a use for it
- broken trim on fridge shelf
- loss of an hour of a day post-work (not to mention the time spent in "therapy" via this rant)

(We are also none too thrilled when people bring cut flowers when they come for dinner:  stop everything, cut the stems, deal with the wrapping, find a vase, cart the green waste to work when they die because we don't have green waste pickup at the condo.)

Asking a serious question here:  Should I have refused the delivery when I got the call?  Is there ever a way to say thanks, but no thanks to gifts like this without offending the giver?

Chris22

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 07:19:29 PM »
Aren't you a ray of sunshine.

Basenji

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 07:25:49 PM »
Is there ever a way to say thanks, but no thanks to gifts like this without offending the giver?

No

meghan88

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2016, 07:34:21 PM »
LMAO ... asked and answered ... yes, I am an ungrateful black hole from which no ray of sunshine or light can ever escape.

Actually, I am a generally cheerful and very helpful person ... just don't do anything nice for me please, in exchange.  Or so it seems.

rockstache

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 07:45:32 PM »
You pretty much have to accept it. Just for fun you should look at what it cost them.

Basenji

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 07:51:11 PM »
To follow up: I get your annoyance at overpackaging and I have always thought those peeled fruit arrangements are a bit unhygenic--what happened to fruit baskets with whole fruit? You know, in Nature's packaging in a nice woven basket. But yeah, as a longtime reader of Miss Manners, I say suck it up. These days people who thank people who do work for them/help them are rare and should be cultivated. Make a fruit smoothie and drink to your polite former colleague.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2016, 07:53:02 PM by Basenji »

Goldielocks

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2016, 07:53:45 PM »
You pretty much have to accept it. Just for fun you should look at what it cost them.

Gadzooks, I am guessing $150..  $2 per skewer and $30 for the berries. Any takers?

You could have asked who it was from, redirected the delivery to the food kitchen charity, and thanked profusely stating that you shared it with friends outside of your home.

okits

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2016, 10:42:00 PM »
You pretty much have to accept it. Just for fun you should look at what it cost them.

NO!  DO NOT LOOK!

OP is already annoyed.  Don't make her ill, too.

And +1 to what Basenji said.

MrsPete

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 05:41:19 AM »
I can only see this as a nice gesture.  My family would've enjoyed it as an item we would never buy for ourselves. 

jac941

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2016, 06:32:22 AM »
I often feel the same as the op. But I have to agree with everyone else - graciously accept and appreciate the thought. Even if it's more of a pita than not getting anything at all. And frankly the food arrangement would be welcome compared to some of the crap people get my kids. At least it's mostly consumable and won't bring tears when it breaks and then leave bits of plastic to step on for the next few weeks.

I definitely would have accepted that at work and tried to pawn it off on others. Usually there's someone in the office who really likes that stuff. And they'll think your super generous for sharing.

Giro

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2016, 08:03:22 AM »
You should have

- given it to a neighbor, friend, family member other acquaintance
- taken it to a children's hospital and passed it around so the children could get a "fruit lollipop".  They love fun gifts and it's healthy
- taken it to a police, fire, paramedic station
- day cares would probably love this

I got one before and it took me about 10 minutes to pull out the sticks and throw them in a container for storage.  You didn't have to tear apart the fridge which took much longer. 

I get a little nauseas when I see gifts like this just because they are SOOOO expensive.  I just cringe thinking about how much they spent on about 10 bucks worth of fruit.  But, they spent it not you.  Just say thank you. 

My husband stops at the florist about once a month and buys me a dozen roses.  I know it's wasteful but I think they are for him as much as they are for me.  I smile and thank him and put them in a vase. 

Be a gracious gift receiver like this kid. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1XZfVkXGCw






patchyfacialhair

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2016, 08:29:38 AM »
With silly gifts, just laugh, appreciate the gesture and the fact that someone went out of their way to spend their time/money on you, then donate it. My SIL bought my wife a ridiculous Snuggie (you know... the blanket with sleeves!) with some random design. We live in a 1BR apt so we try to keep junk to a minimum. We had a good laugh about the gift, texted SIL thanks, then I donated it to the Goodwill located between my office and the apartment. Win/Win/Win.

Basenji

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2016, 11:19:21 AM »
Avocado! Thanks!

My new life philosophy...

BFGirl

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2016, 12:44:12 PM »
Someone was trying to be thoughtful?  Say thank you and move on?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2016, 12:54:50 PM »
Say thanks, put it on the kitchen table like a flower arrangement, pick fruit off of it for a few hours, then trash what is left?

I've never taken the fruit off the skewers and stored it. Those things are made to be looked at.

They cost way too much; but if it is really such a hassle to you as a gift giver, just toss it in the trash. The exact same thing that would have happened if you refused the delivery.

Next time take the delivery at the office. My office gets fresh fruit too, and we still occasionally get these things when clients send in thank yous. They are artfully arranged and people tend to smile when they see them, pick a few pieces off and move on. No one says "phh. we already had that in a bowl."

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2016, 12:56:03 PM »
Someone was trying to be thoughtful!!!!!!  Say thank you and move on!!!!!!
FTFY.  Look at it from the giver's perspective--they genuinely appreciate what you have done for them, and this is the most appropriate way they could think of to express that gratitude.  Sure, it's not what you would have spent the money on.  But recognize that what you did for them was meaningful and appreciated.

Ceridwen

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2016, 01:02:40 PM »
You should have

- given it to a neighbor, friend, family member other acquaintance
- taken it to a children's hospital and passed it around so the children could get a "fruit lollipop".  They love fun gifts and it's healthy
- taken it to a police, fire, paramedic station
- day cares would probably love this

I got one before and it took me about 10 minutes to pull out the sticks and throw them in a container for storage.  You didn't have to tear apart the fridge which took much longer. 

I get a little nauseas when I see gifts like this just because they are SOOOO expensive.  I just cringe thinking about how much they spent on about 10 bucks worth of fruit.  But, they spent it not you.  Just say thank you. 

My husband stops at the florist about once a month and buys me a dozen roses.  I know it's wasteful but I think they are for him as much as they are for me.  I smile and thank him and put them in a vase. 

Be a gracious gift receiver like this kid. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1XZfVkXGCw

I totally agree with the suggestion of passing it on to someone who would enjoy it, but the children's hospital and daycare are not good suggestions.  Our children's hospital won't even accept used toys as gifts for the children (due to hygiene concerns), so I highly doubt they would accept "used" food.  Similarly, daycares have to be hyper-vigilant about allergies.  We're not even allowed to bring cupcakes for kid birthdays anymore.

The Money Monk

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2016, 01:41:18 PM »
Aren't you a ray of sunshine.

Seriously. Some people on here come across as the biggest grumps and miserable cheapskates.

MrsDinero

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2016, 02:53:24 PM »
Sometimes the biggest gift you can give to someone is graciously accepting their gift in return.

xclonexclonex

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2016, 03:05:27 PM »
Graciously accept. No need to be rude about it. I understand the stress you had to go through, I have been very similar situations, but please don't make the mistake of explaining to people that you do not want their gifts. They will never understand, and they will think you are being rude.

Been there, done that.

Now, I just accept whatever I get with a smile, even though I have absolutely no use for it.

ash7962

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2016, 03:17:52 PM »
OP, to me you didn't come off as ungrateful since I'm sure you didn't say any of this rant to your gifter.  I totally understand your feelings of a gift just being more trouble than its worth, and ranting about it to the internet is totally ok.  To me this is similar to when my friends/family buy things like a new car "because my old one is 3 years old" and expect you to gush with them about how super amazing awesome their new shiny thing is.  Its all social expectations that you don't really want to follow being forced on you because others aren't aware that you're making non-normal choices.  Not their fault, but still kinda annoying for you.  Honestly I think its maybe even a little insensitive to buy someone a food item when you know said person works all day.  For me it would be a huge hassle to even accept package of food especially if it was a total surprise. 

Next time you help this particular coworker out you can try mentioning to them that you appreciated the gift they gave but it was too much food for you and your husband or its hard to accept package that require signing at your home.  Then you can say to either to not worry about getting you a gift or that you'd appreciate just grabbing lunch one day with your coworker as a thank you instead (just an example).

ender

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2016, 05:03:28 PM »
Sometimes the biggest gift you can give to someone is graciously accepting their gift in return.

+1


meghan88

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2016, 05:47:23 PM »
OP, to me you didn't come off as ungrateful since I'm sure you didn't say any of this rant to your gifter.  I totally understand your feelings of a gift just being more trouble than its worth, and ranting about it to the internet is totally ok.  To me this is similar to when my friends/family buy things like a new car "because my old one is 3 years old" and expect you to gush with them about how super amazing awesome their new shiny thing is.  Its all social expectations that you don't really want to follow being forced on you because others aren't aware that you're making non-normal choices.  Not their fault, but still kinda annoying for you.  Honestly I think its maybe even a little insensitive to buy someone a food item when you know said person works all day.  For me it would be a huge hassle to even accept package of food especially if it was a total surprise. 

Next time you help this particular coworker out you can try mentioning to them that you appreciated the gift they gave but it was too much food for you and your husband or its hard to accept package that require signing at your home.  Then you can say to either to not worry about getting you a gift or that you'd appreciate just grabbing lunch one day with your coworker as a thank you instead (just an example).
Thank you ash7962 and everyone else who answered.  Of course, I sent a very gracious thank-you note immediately, even before I got home, and told them how lovely - and large - it was.  I really did appreciate the gesture.  My former colleague is in another city so lunch is not an option.  DH took the fridge shelf out to keep it in one piece in case I wanted to see it (and most probably because he didn't want to deal with it himself :-)  )

We've been plowing through the fruit and haven't yet made a dent.  I brought the box of strawberries to work this morning and only three were eaten during the day, but at least a co-worker said she'd take them home.

This is the only forum I know of where there's a fair number of people who'd be of the same mind, so this is a rare outlet for this type of rant.

And I don't think I'm a miserly cheapskate.  I go over the top when someone else is celebrating, but I either give cash (my usual go-to and always appreciated), or gift cards to places that I know for an actual fact that they shop - e.g. liquor store, major department store, restaurant, or something along those lines.

I just don't happen to need, or want, anything for myself and I make that very clear (or so I thought) to all who know me.  For example, my birthday is not known to anyone except DH and my sister, who know better than to try to buy me something other than dinner.  And the tax man, but there's no danger of a gift from him.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2016, 10:02:52 PM »
Sometimes the biggest gift you can give to someone is graciously accepting their gift in return.

Truth.  Namaste.

misshathaway

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2016, 02:48:22 AM »
Recipient of same - almost. This was a huge box of Florida oranges every year like clockwork from old friends who now lived in Florida. We did not have to deal with skewers but they would not fit in the refrigerator even unboxed and there were only 2 of us. Every year we had to find homes with neighbors for the oranges so they would not go to waste, except some of these neighbors also knew the old friends and had their own box to deal with. I feel your pain. There was just no graceful way we could think of to stop it.

I am not sure I agree with the "thoughtful" part of the Edible Arrangements. It's often the easiest thing to do and either the expense is shared or the company picks up the tab.

Rural

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2016, 07:39:15 AM »
I'd have done exactly as you did, thank he giver politely and rant on the internet about it. I have a compost pile, though. I hope the giver at least knows you well enough to know you have no allergies? Receiving one of those would make my mother violently ill for at least the rest of the day.


I don't suppose you have freezer space? Smoothies later, or add to ice cream, or just plain dessert.

human

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2016, 09:15:29 AM »
I really don't get all the drama.  I do one of two things with gifts I don't want garbage or donate. In this case it would have went into a big garbage bag and then to the garbage room, about forty seconds of my time.

Other items like clothes go in a big bag to be donated once a year.

I send a thank you email for dinner and that's it, no thank you notes for gifts ever.

MgoSam

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2016, 11:24:01 AM »
It's a gift, just nod and say thank you. At least that's what I do.

I also think that re-gifting is ok, and don't understand why some people think it's rude. If I get a gift that I have no use for but know someone else that does, I see no harm in giving it to them. Then again, I usually gift cash as a wedding gift, I figure that it's easier to transport if the couple is moving and they'll find a way to use it.

meghan88

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2016, 04:23:06 PM »
It's a gift, just nod and say thank you. At least that's what I do.

I also think that re-gifting is ok, and don't understand why some people think it's rude. If I get a gift that I have no use for but know someone else that does, I see no harm in giving it to them. Then again, I usually gift cash as a wedding gift, I figure that it's easier to transport if the couple is moving and they'll find a way to use it.
Yep - did the profuse thank-you.  And I totally agree with re-gifting as long as the gift is appropriate and will be appreciated.  Yes, cash is king as a wedding gift - haven't met anyone yet who couldn't use it.  We usually give more than the norm.  Just happy to not have to shop for something, or even buy into a registry.  I once heard someone say that the only thing they ever ended up actually using from their registry gifts were the pyrex storage containers.
I really don't get all the drama.  I do one of two things with gifts I don't want garbage or donate. In this case it would have went into a big garbage bag and then to the garbage room, about forty seconds of my time.

Other items like clothes go in a big bag to be donated once a year.

I send a thank you email for dinner and that's it, no thank you notes for gifts ever.
I just couldn't stand to see that much food go into the garbage, or even the green waste.  We are making our way through it.
Recipient of same - almost. This was a huge box of Florida oranges every year like clockwork from old friends who now lived in Florida. We did not have to deal with skewers but they would not fit in the refrigerator even unboxed and there were only 2 of us.
Yikes.  I sympathize.

And yes, if we're given advance warning of a gift, we ask that a donation to a charity of the gifter's choosing be made instead.  In this case, I had no opportunity to refuse it because it was already done and paid.

Dicey

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2016, 05:24:32 PM »
Be a gracious gift receiver like this kid. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1XZfVkXGCw
Yum, I lurve me some avocado! Thanks for that, Giro! I'd love to know the back story on that gift.

To OP, don't throw away the skewers. Wash them and re-use them for your own perfect, fruity, organic summertime treats. Give the colorful bucket to the nearest kid in your universe. Heck, I would have rinsed the cellophane and re-used it at least once to delay its inevitable trip to the landfill.

OTOH, I feel your pain, I really do. This is just one of those times where you have to say WTF?, scratch your head, shrug your shoulders, and move on. Thanks to the broken shelf, you'll never forget that this person took the time to thank you for your efforts. There's something in that, right?

Cassie

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2016, 05:34:54 PM »
Homeless shelters will take food from you so if this happens again drive it down to them.  I made a ton of spaghetti sauce for a fundraiser of 100 people and we had a lot left over. I took it to our local shelter and they were thrilled to get it.  One time our Freezer got turned off and I caught it right away before food was bad. I took some to the shelter telling them to cook it right away and again they were happy.  When I hear people say throw it away I want to cry. There are others that want and need it.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Un-Mustachian Gifts ... a rant
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2016, 07:13:16 PM »
Homeless shelters will take food from you so if this happens again drive it down to them.  I made a ton of spaghetti sauce for a fundraiser of 100 people and we had a lot left over. I took it to our local shelter and they were thrilled to get it.  One time our Freezer got turned off and I caught it right away before food was bad. I took some to the shelter telling them to cook it right away and again they were happy.  When I hear people say throw it away I want to cry. There are others that want and need it.

The ones here have pretty strict rules. They wouldn't take anything already opened like this, or any cooked food not cooked on their premises.  Too much chance someone could have done something to it.