Stores Offer To Send Your Friends And Family An Invasive Holiday Wish List

Wouldn’t it be great if you could email your holiday wish list to friends and family without seeming like a self-indulgent clod? Well, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that several stores now feature self-promoting wish lists that magically email themselves or generate sales calls to potential gift givers.

Searle, a chain of high-end boutiques in New York, is phoning husbands and grandmothers to tell them about the $478 silk dresses and $298 velvet scarves their loved ones have put on their “Dear Searle” lists. Bluemercury, a chain of 26 beauty boutiques, is inviting customers in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Princeton, N.J., among other places, to provide names of relatives and friends the store can call to suggest gifts.

Online retailer Net-a-Porter.com, which sells women’s designer clothes and accessories, has gone a step further, offering videos that are emailed to husbands and boyfriends, telling them what the sender wants. First, the sender fills out a questionnaire, in which they pick from a list of pet names for the recipient, ranging from “Honey Bunny” to “Hot Stuff” to “Boo Boo.” They can also select descriptors of the potential gift-giver, such as “macho” or “commanding.”

Then an email is sent to the designated recipient, featuring a flirtatious blond woman called “Santa’s Helper.” She advises the viewer that “It’s time we had a serious talk, Honey Bunny” (or whatever the selected endearment). The helper says the sender is “lucky, isn’t she, to have a man like you?” and highlights a gift the sender has picked out, sometimes providing a link to her wish list. “Let’s face it,” the virtual helper says, “if she’s happy, you’re happy.”

Wow, you hardly have to talk to your loved ones or reflect meaningfully on what makes them happy. Thanks, creepy technology!

Hey, Honey Bunny, Stores Know What Your Wife Wants [WSJ]

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  1. XTC46 says:

    I’m all for my girlfriend just coming out and saying what she wants, but for a store to call me would just be a pain in the ass.

  2. new and troubling questions says:

    Hell, we could totally just stop even pretending that gifts are a meaningful way to show someone that you give a crap about them…just hand out envelopes full of cash and call it a day.

  3. parad0x360 says:

    Great so if they were to get my email or phone number to call me about something I would never buy since they call like a telemarketer or spammed me…Now im on there phone list due to prior business and good luck getting off.

  4. jackhandey says:

    Spending $298 on a velvet scarf is just sick. Think how much good beer that would buy.

  5. Scuba Steve says:

    I’m really starting to hate christmas, not because I’m a selfish bastard, but because everyone eise is a selfish bastard just like me.

  6. Jay Levitt says:

    The e-mailed videos *could* actually be hysterical if done right, but it doesn’t sound like they mean it to be funny.

    Still, imagine “It’s time we had a serious talk, Honey Bunny”, if the “Honey bunny” were poorly edited in with a male voice-over…

  7. sly100100 says:

    I like the christmas wish list for a lot of reasons. Mostly because my wife & I were in a car accident just after we were married and her memory is pretty much shot, along with her train of thought. Knowing that she has that problem she asks me to give her a wish list.

    I can see that this would be very if it were emailed to her, but not phone calls. Those would just be annoying.

  8. mammalpants says:

    this is the first year i have really hated christmas.

    it’s no fun at all anymore. it’s all about companies creating less supply than demand and creating marketing buzz and panic. i think ive noticed this over the past few years as people have learned that ebay can bring in some big bucks if they happen to have an extra toy or game in their hands.

    it really sucks.

  9. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Christmas…A time of joy to spend the season with family and friends? Or a megalithic-market driven bundle of crap thrust upon the masses to sell shit that you don’t need as well as a time where you feel obligated to put yourself thru the angst and pain of holiday shopping all the while feeling “happy” that you got everyone on your list a gift-card? You decide.

  10. loueloui says:

    This is as bad as the jewelry companies. Am I the only one who thinks they drum into everyone’s head that ‘If you don’t buy your significant other thousands of dollars in jewelry from our store you just don’t love her. ‘

  11. kc2idf says:

    Here’s how you deal with receiving such a call:

    “That’s great, thanks for the tip! I’ll just pop over to (insert competitor here) and pick one up!”

  12. BigNutty says:

    This is just sick. If I found out someone (including my wife) actually registered for such a thing, I would make sure I got them nothing.

  13. jenl1625 says:

    @loueloui: Actually, you left out the “on a regular basis” part of the equation. Buying a huge engagement ring just doesn’t cut it unless you’re buying follow-ups for Christmases, significant birthdays, significant anniversaries . . . . oh, and don’t forget that you’re just not really in love unless you WANT to just pop in and also buy a “just because” piece of jewelry . . . .

  14. LTS! says:

    These kinds of services are fine for the self-absorbed jackasses who desire to make use of them. If I were to get a “wish list” from someone I would be sure to change my email address and write them out of my life. But, for those who like it.. big deal, it’s something they can use.

    As far as people hating Christmas because lots of people are caught up in the materialism of the holiday, why hate Christmas? Hate the people, not the holiday. You can still enjoy Christmas by simply ignoring everyone’s materialistic desires. If people get too pushy just remind them that you can buy whatever you want anytime of the year, but I’m happy that you received presents on Christmas as it appears that’s the only way you’ll be happy.

    Other than my kids very few people are getting presents, and those mostly consist of a bottle of wine or a really good beer.

    Oh and for the commenter who said we should just give wads of cash.. you do realize that boxes of cash were the first Christmas presents, so it would truly be going full circle!

  15. @sly100100: “I like the christmas wish list for a lot of reasons.”

    We’ve always done them because I’m one of four children, with an extended family of around 15 minor cousins when I was growing up, so my mother was buying for 19 children, her husband, her parents, my dad’s parents, and any adult relatives spending the holidays with us. Wish lists simplified her job considerably.

    But in my house they were always understood not as “buy me this” but “here are some of the kinds of things I want this year,” including very specific things like “this particular book” and very general things like “something for my new apartment,” and we all HATE doing them, but their purpose is not for US to get stuff, but for it to be easier for other people who also have hectic holiday demands on them.

    Now that *I* have to buy for a buttload of people, I really appreciate them … some years I just don’t have the vaguest idea what to get person X, and it’s much nicer to have direction.

    Still, I don’t think corporate America needs my wishlist. Then it’s just annoying, not helpful.

  16. boxjockey68 says:

    I grew up without Christmas & every Christmas I would wonder what the people who were lucky enough to have Christmas were doing? I imagined their picture perfect Christmas mornings, fun filled, full of love and SPLASHED with presents… Translation, I thought Christmas was about something else entirely…I thought Christmas was about love, family, good times, and good food. I didn’t realize it’s all about the commercial aspect.
    That seems kind of tacky to me.

  17. yasth says:

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that the WP is discussing openly gifts purchased, I mean I guess with a wishlist you have a decent idea anyways. Still there is something odd about gifts being printed weeks in advance in a National newspaper. Does one still have to act surprised?

  18. vex says:

    Anyone putting me on a telemarketing list is guaranteed to get nothing.

  19. madamedelight says:

    It might be sickening commercialization of the Holidays but– she is wearing that aborable RM Moon Dress from Roland Mouret.

  20. SpiceMustFlow says:

    In my house, we are so not down with the whole Christmas commerical machine.

    We mostly don’t exchange presents with the adults in our family, and we buy art supplies for all the kids. We don’t give each other presents, because, seriously? It’s not like we don’t buy ourselves whatever the hell we like all year long.

    Oh, and if I was spending $298 on myself, it would be for a KitchenAid stand mixer, not some overpriced piece of crap velvet scarf.

  21. apathetic.objector says:

    Sending one of these to my husband would guarantee that he would never shop at one of these businesses. Ever.

  22. @fluffybudgie: Try Tuesday Morning, you can find the stand mixers for half price, if you’re not picky about color!

  23. SpiceMustFlow says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Tuesday Morning? Is that a store name?

    Because I sure wouldn’t be that picky about colour at that price!

  24. @fluffybudgie: Yes! It’s sort-of like a Big Lots or a Marshall’s for name-brand kitchen stuff and housewares: [www.tuesdaymorning.com]

    Stock is a bit unpredictable, so you may have to try a few times. Last time I was there it was like festival o’ Hallmark gift wrap, and 1/4 to 1/10 of the Hallmark price. The time before that it was like nothing but hatboxes, which was weird. But usually it’s a pretty good selection, with a focus on a particular item or section of products.

    (They’re open in streaks, closed for re-stocking between, and the new “streak” starts on a Tuesday morning. If you have to drive out of your way, it’s worth calling ahead to find out when they’ll be open, especially in January and July.)

  25. @fluffybudgie: The other awesome thing to get at Tuesday Morning, btw, is luggage.