A Modern Day Convenience? Or Raping Your Friends for Fun and Profit? Examining the Intricacies of Gift Registries and Amazon Wish Lists

May 28th, 2008.

The invitation read:

Hey everyone! Jacob is turning 4! So let’s break out the crabby patties and have a party!
Where: [deleted]
When: [deleted]
Please RSVP: [deleted]
Gift ideas include: Construction toys, dinosaurs, and toy tools!


I grew up in a household where it was taboo to even expect a gift. So the idea that someone would send out a party invitation that also doubles as a shopping list is particularly horrifying to me.

But hey! I suppose it’s a great way to teach your children that people are nothing more than walking, talking credit cards you can use to get more stuff! Why make a celebrations about spending time with the people you love when you can tactlessly and shamelessly turn every event into ‘GIMMEE GIMMEE GIMMEE’ grab time?

Am I the only one who is turned off by the blatant present grubbing that is running rampant nowadays?

My Sister-in-law just got done throwing three separate birthday parties for her youngest son’s first birthday. And yes, if you got ‘lucky’ and happened to be invited to all 3, you were expected to bring 3 different gifts. Ignoring the fact that my 1 year old nephew could theoretically amuse himself with a piece of aluminum foil rendering most store bought presents a foolish waste of money, what the hell does he need three parties for? His mind is mush; he has no concept of what a ‘birthday’ even is! It’s not like he’s going to greet my ass at the door, all, “Aunt V! So good of you to come! Please, toss your coat in my crib and grab yourself a drink!”

I’ll tell you why she did it. She wanted to use his birthday as an excuse to grub for money. Flummoxed by the idea of picking out three presents for the kid who doesn’t yet have the mental capacity to understand he sometimes sits in piss and shit, most people just wrote that greedy bitch a check.

I wish I could say this new trend of shockingly poor manners was reserved strictly for children’s birthday parties. But unfortunately, it’s everywhere.

Bachelorette parties! Bachelor parties! Buy me stuff!

Mother’s Day! Father’s Day! Secretary’s Day! I did my fucking job just like every other shlub on this planet day! Buy me stuff!

Hey! I just moved into a new apartment! Buy me stuff!

How many excuses are we going to utilize in order to convince those supposedly nearest and dearest to us to buy us stuff? And not just any stuff, either. Please only buy the stuff I’ve listed on my gift registry/Wish list/Internet gift guide. Oh, and leave the receipt in the bag in case I get two.

So rude. So presumptuous.

Bridal showers! Baby Showers! Buy me stuff!

A quick word about showers: a long time ago, when a man and a woman got married, it was tradition to bring the bride and groom a small gift in order to help them ‘set up house.’ You see, people back then usually lived with their parents up until the day they got married, so the young couple was honestly in need. Not only that, but for couples living in small towns in the middle of nowhere, it was hard to get your hands on basic necessities even if you had the money to spare. They didn’t have a Macy’s right across the fucking street!

Furthermore, they faced the same trials and tribulations when they had their first baby. Back then, there was no mall and no Babies R Us store. They had nowhere to go to buy a stroller. So the neighborhood friends would ‘donate’ their unused baby items to the expecting couple to help ease the stress and expense.

In short, the tradition of having ‘wedding showers’ and ‘baby showers’ made sense….70 years ago.

However, now we have couples who have been living together for years before they tie the knot and therefore have no legitimate need for anyone to help them ‘set up house’ and Mother’s who actually demand baby showers for their 3rd or 4th child. Showers are no longer about tradition! They are about greed and taking advantage of friends by peer pressuring them into buying designer knife sets when they’ve got their own damn bills to pay.

Valentine’s Day. Sweetest Day. Buy me stuff!

Didn’t I just invite you to my wedding? Please, buy me something from my list to cover the cost of your meal.

(My Grandmother used to say that if you can’t afford to feed them, entertain them, and fill them full of booze, then you have no business throwing a party)

Hey everyone! Junior just graduated from kindergarten/middle school/high school/his first semester of college! We’re throwing a party! Please review his wishlist online for proper gift suggestions! After all, we made that list for your convenience. We wouldn’t want you to actually pick a gift out yourself or, God forbid, make him something with your own two hands. Egad. We’d rather you just donate to his ‘new car fund’ or buy him an Ipod.

For those of you who are tuning in to this little website of mine from a different country, I just want to make it perfectly clear that this is how the common American treats his friends. His friends! Trust me; I know why you hate us. We’re greedy. We’re tacky. We think everyone ‘owes’ us something. In fact, I’m willing to bet money that some lousy fuck is out there right now trying invent a ‘tradition’ that forces anyone visiting America on holiday to purchase a gift for someone beforehand.

Welcome to our country! Buy us stuff!

Burn us. Burn us all. Burn us before it’s too late.

Hey Americans! Guess what, you dipshits? It’s not a gift if you ask for it! It’s an obligation, presented in the greediest and most classless way possible. Congratulations on managing to take all the heart and soul out of gift exchanges while simultaneously trivializing your personal relationships. You no longer have friends. You have breathing ATMs! Kudos. Kudos to you all.

The sad part is I actually love to give people gifts. I’m a big fan of the ‘just because I love you’ gift or the ‘I know you needed it’ gift. But the rudeness, the audacity, and the horrendous gluttony of some people is enough to turn me off to the whole gift exchange process altogether. I’m a living, breathing person and if my only value to you is what is in my wallet, then we don’t need to be fucking friends.

I’m going to sum this article up with two stories I stumbled upon on the Internet.

The first story I found on Yahoo Answers. It featured an Entitled Bitch asking people whether or not it’s appropriate to send a child to a birthday party without a gift. The reason she asked was because she just got done throwing her child a birthday party and one of the friends apparently showed up sans gift. Entitled bitch went into this big long explanation where she detailed how much she paid to throw the party and speculated on how much the child’s parents made per year. It was quite obvious that she thought the little girl who came without the present should have been excluded from the gathering completely if her parents wouldn’t (or couldn’t) pony up a present.

Hopefully, she’ll pass that devastating good will onto to her spawn.

I can’t, for the life of me, remember where I ran into this next story. I think it was on an Internet forum or something and if someone could point me towards it, I’ll link to it.

However, the true story was written by a girl whose very best friend in the whole world came from a very poor family. One year, this girl was throwing a birthday party and her best friend’s parents declined the invitation because they honestly couldn’t afford a gift. Completely unknown to the little girl, her Mother spoke to her friend’s parents and assured them that a present was completely unnecessary and begged them to send her friend to the party anyway. This little girl’s Mother didn’t want her daughter to have to spend her special day without the presence of her best friend over some silly piece of plastic.

Anyway, on the day of the party, the little girl in question got all caught up in the ‘Queen for the Day’ mentality that comes along with big birthday bashes and started behaving somewhat bratty. When her very best friend in the whole world showed up and rang the doorbell, she keenly remembers answering it and saying simply, “Hey! Where’s my gift?”

Humiliated, the little boy burst into tears and ran all the way back home. Her friendship with him effectively ended for good that fateful day. The little girl/now grown woman ended her story by saying (loosely paraphrased), “I will never forget the look in his eyes when I said that to him. It absolutely haunts me to this day.”

Reading her story actually broke my heart a little. More so because I know most kids nowadays, if placed in a similar situation, wouldn’t think anything of it.

After all, celebrations aren’t about people anymore. It’s all about the presents, baby! Buy me stuff! Buy me stuff! Buy me stuff!

Fuck you all. Buy your own fucking stuff.

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