Why Lousy Gifts Are Good
Opinion: They're downright good for humanity
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2010 12:48 PM CST
It's the thought that counts.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Amazon plans to unveil a "gift conversion" gizmo designed to protect people from getting bad gifts. If the website detects a stinker coming your way (based on how you set up your profile) it converts that neon orange necktie into a gift certificate, with the sender being none the wiser. Pretty nifty? No! writes etiquette guru Mary Mitchell at Reuters, who sees it as "brilliant technology sadly run amok."

"It seems to me that the system of clicking a button in order to indulge our self-centeredness so sterilizes gift-giving relationships that we end up inadvertently deleting our humanity," she writes. Receiving a ridiculous present and responding diplomatically is all part of the game, as is learning from the experience of being the sender of a bad present. "Yes, it takes time, energy, and effort; this is part of our humanity. That is what builds relationships."