Christmas gifts you DON’T want to give. (OR – How to be a NEO)

$1 Billion in Unwanted Gifts

As you may already know, we’ve been running a competition called ‘When Good Gifts Go Bad’.

If this is the first you’ve heard about it, stop reading this blog immediately and enter! The competition closes on December 17 so you might still have time (depending on when you read this, of course).

Oh, and as a side note, by the time you’ve finished reading this blog post you’ll know how to be a NEO (nothing to do with the ‘Matrix’). Anyway, carry on…

The response to the competition has been pretty good, but even better are some of the ridiculous things that people are getting as gifts – cinnamon-scented socks, tea towels for a 15-year-old and blank video tapes, to name a few. Unbelievable!

If I’ve sparked your interest but you don’t have time to read all the entries, here are what I consider to be the most pitiful amongst them:

  • Salt and pepper shakers for an 11-year-old
  • A sarong ring without the sarong
  • Melted chocolates
  • Expired vouchers
  • Hotel soap
  • Three-legged teddy bears
  • Dog soap for someone who didn’t even have a dog
  • A Scrabble turntable but no Scrabble board
  • A potato masher
  • Green fabric with black spots for someone who doesn’t sew

These gifting stuff-ups, along with others, are adding to a colossal ‘pile’ of unwanted presents. Kate, our PR chick, did some research and found a report by eBay stating that the cost of unwanted Christmas gifts last year reached an estimated $1 billion! You can be sure the dog soap and sarong ring are adding to this.

But why?

Something clearly isn’t right.

The ever-inquisitive Kate did a bit more research, and found a consumer behaviourist and futurist who she could talk to. His name is Ross Honeywill and he believes that society has lost the meaning of gifting.

“Gifts have become symbols of obligation,” he said.

Honeywill also added, “The gift has become an outcome of responsibility and peer pressure, and therefore no imagination or caring is required.”

And this is where the aforementioned NEOs come in. Honeywill talks about a new breed of revolutionary consumers called NEOs (New Economic Order). The gift purchases of these NEOs are motivated by authenticity, being edgy, individuality and expressing themselves in what they choose.

Certainly, a NEO wouldn’t buy melted chocolates or a potato masher for a loved one. But they WOULD buy an experience from RedBalloon. (Got to get the shameless sales pitch in there somewhere.)

Have you been given a bad gift that is adding to the $1 billion pile-up? Feel free to leave a comment!

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