Is A Bad Gift More Thoughtful Than A Good Gift Card?

- Very Serious: An Advice Column By Kelly Conaboy -
Is A Bad Gift More Thoughtful Than A Good Gift Card?

Kelly Conaboy is writing an advice column for Dipp readers. It's going to be very serious. So serious, in fact, we named it Very Serious: An Advice Column by Kelly Conaboy. Just email her at with whatever's bothering you and each week, Kelly will solve one lucky reader's biggest problem. You can read all of Kelly's excellent advice here.

Dear Kelly,

Is it worse to give a bad gift that shows you thought enough to at least buy it in advance, or a gift card?



Cameron, a question:

When people say “it’s the thought that counts,” do you think any of them mean it?

I was thinking about this recently because it was the advice I was given after I inquired about what to buy someone. I was asking someone who really knew them, because I only know them in passing. The response was: “Well, with them, it’s really the thought that counts.” Absolutely no help at all, Cameron. What am I supposed to do with that advice. So I bought fancy soap.

Fancy soap is not a particularly good gift, unless you know for sure that the person you’re buying it for likes fancy soap, but it’s at least got a purpose. It can be regifted, for one. And if not, it can be used when the person runs out of their normal soap, or left out for company. But it is impersonal. I think, as a person, when you receive something like fancy soap — or a scarf not suited to your taste, or a frog figurine, or a mug, or an iPhone case with a meme on it that isn’t even one of the memes you’ve expressed interest in — more often than not you’re thinking, “I wish this person just gave me however much this cost on a gift card.”

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