Tales Of Epic Re-Gifting Fail

Mainstreet.com asked their readers to recount the worst re-gifting experiences they’ve had. People really, really seem to like re-gifting unwanted wedding gifts without removing the original cards first. But the real winner in the categories of both cheapness and stupidity has to be the person who checked a book out from the library, then gave it to a friend as a gift.

Dan, from Melbourne, Australia, shares this one: “For my 16th birthday, my friend gave me a copy of Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre. He knew I loved philosophy, and had looked up ‘famous philosophy books’ online. I was overjoyed until he told me that I needed to read it in the next four weeks, because he had borrowed it from his local library, and if I wouldn’t mind giving it back to them by the 7th of the following month, that would be much appreciated. While I was shocked, none of us could stop laughing that he had given this as a serious present and didn’t realise how ridiculous it was. Needless to say that this was the most memorable present I got that year.”

Memorable, yes. I’m always the first to encourage people to use their local library. Not, however, for gift shopping.

What are your best awesome (or egregious) re-gifting stories?

Legendary Re-Gifting Failures: Holiday Edition [MainStreet]


Edit Your Comment

  1. tbax929 says:

    Is this the same site yesterday that had the 15-page article on Secret Santa? Why can’t they put it on one or two pages?

    Anyway, I think the worst one from the article was the beard trimmer that had been used by the previous boyfriend for manscaping. Yuck.

    I re-gift things all the time. But I’m smart enough to remove anything that would indicate it was re-gifted. I seem to get a lot of caramel popcorn, which I don’t like. So I re-gift that stuff to my nieces and nephews. I’ve also re-gifted clothing items that don’t fit me.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Pageviews. Slideshows are a pretty common thing on Web sites now. Why show only one ad to the same reader who’s reading your story when you can show fifteen?

      Not criticizing the practice, mind you. It drives me crazy, and I’m much less likely to link to a slideshow than a proper article, but I understand why it’s done.

      • tbax929 says:

        Yeah, I found that out yesterday when we were complaining about it. It didn’t stop me from reading the article, but I find it really annoying.

      • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

        Laura, not only does the site put you through the slide show, but each new ad that scrolls by while you’re looking at it counts as a whole new page. I got up to refresh my water and was stalled by a coworker for a few minutes. When I came back I had to Back-button through 40 pages just to get back to the Consumerist page.

        This is why I usually open the links in new tabs.

      • LESSTHANKIND says:

        But they ram that credit report scam ad down your throat every other frame of every slideshow. I’m sick of looking at that harried woman a thousand times whenever I try to read something on that site.

      • floraposte says:

        A couple of months ago, there was a Consumerist article with a list of friendly hacks and add-ons, and there was one to link multi-page articles together. I unfortunately forgot to install it at the time and now can’t find it (and now I’ve discovered that one more annoyance of the new design is that you can only look at your most recent posts through it, not page back, so that’s out as a search method). If anybody knows what I’m talking about, please post the link to either the Consumerist article or the add-on itself.

    • JamieSueAustin says:

      Among our group we decided that holiday gifts should only be re-gifts and used items. Lots of hilarity ensues and its almost a competition to come up with the weirdest thing from your house. We consider it a badge of honor to re-gift the same object three years in a row.

  2. Cameraman says:

    I love love LOVE getting pens, branded merch (like baseball caps, t shirts, and so on) and especially thumb drives with a manufacturer’s name on it from my coworkers. Because, you know, I didn’t get the same exact swag from the same exact manufacturers during the same exact training sessions you did. We sat next to each other! You borrowed my pen to take notes and never gave it back, for Pete’s sake!

    Sometimes the thumb drive will have random filez (note the z) on it, so that’s okay, even if I do run Linux at home so none of the virii get through.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Nothing shows your true feelings for a co-worker than giving them a drive full o’virii.

      • Cameraman says:

        Oh, if only they had given me a thumb drive full of virii, it would prove that they know enough about me to hate me. As the thumb drives often contain a grab bag of random crap (pictures of kids, resumes, MP3s, spreadsheets, and so forth), I’m convinced that people just pull thumb drives with a manufacturer’s name on it assuming that it has just a pdf catalog on it, and say “Here, ummm… merry chrismakanuwanzawhatevs…”.

    • mac-phisto says:

      hey, that’s not fair! i gave you your pen back – with a bow on it, even! you just had to wait 7 months to get it.

      PS -> can i borrow a pen? i seem to have misplaced mine…(hey, it’s never too early to start on next year’s gift giving) XD

  3. Alter_ego says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but it’s never even occured to me to regift something. I’ll either donate it, or give it to a friend who might like it, but never rewrap it and present it to someone else in a formal gift-giving setting.

    • Magspie says:

      It’s just you.

      • treimel says:

        It’s not just Alter_Ego. Unless it’s an out-and-out joke, I think re-gifting is about the worst “gift” you could possibly make.

        • tbax929 says:

          Tell that to my brother who was the beneficiary of an iPod I won at a company outing. I already had one, and his birthday was coming up. He was pretty happy with my gift.

          • treimel says:

            I said it was awful as a “gift”, I didn’t argue that the value of the object is affected.

            Moreover, if you “won” it, and then gave it away, then it’s not a re-gift, then, is it? What makes genuine re-gifting (in my view) so awful is that it’s a rejection of the intent of the original giver. You won it/bought it/found it/made it? great, give away. If, however, it was a gift for you, it is necessarily inappropriate as a gift for another.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      I can’t recall ever re-gifting. I’ve given presents I didn’t want to friends, but I’m up front about it. My wife gives excellent gifts, and my parents hand out envelopes of gift receipts with the presents. My brothers and I usually have present truces.

      I’m not necessarily opposed to the idea, so long as it’s a thoughtful (or extremely funny) re-gifting.

  4. 339point4 says:

    It doesn’t say where it happened, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the bowl mentioned in #10 was given by me. I selected a lovely Waterford “wedding bowl” to send to my SO’s best friend on the occasion of his hasty wedding in Texas. The marriage lasted about 8-10 weeks and I sort of wish I’d sent them paper plates instead since I never saw the bowl again.

  5. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    After yesterday’s 17 page crapfest, I put mainstreet.com in my hosts file pointing to

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Someone at work gave me a 6 pack of ales and micro-brews, which I don’t drink(I’m a plain Coors, Bud, RR, etc… fan), for Christmas, and I ended up giving it to my neighbor as a thank you for watching my dog while I went on a trip. Only after handing it over did I see the little bit of tape left on it from the wrapping paper. DO’H! Hopefully he didn’t notice.

    • lawnmowerdeth says:

      You gave away good beer because you prefer cheap beer?

      I think my head just exploded.

      • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

        “Good” is always up for debate. Perhaps his friend enjoys those kinds of beers? I know I can’t stand most of the beers I’ve sampled, and tend to stick with the few I actually like.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I have Gout, and as such, can’t regularly consume alcohol. So I’m not that adventerous when it comes to trying things. I grew up on “cheap” beer, and it’s what I like. Give me a case of Beast or IC lite, and I’m a happy man.

      • Smashville says:

        In other words…

        You don’t like what I like? My head just exploded.

      • econobiker says:

        “Can’t appreciate the best if you haven’t drank the worst.” has been my quote for years.

        I always ask beer snobs about what is the worst beer they have drank. Lowenbrau and Budweiser do not count in my book. Go for beers that made those brands seem premium. I drank YungLing brand beers ~before~ they were bought out and made a national brand- Steigmaier or Old German anyone? Those just didn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel – they were like the wet mop water on a filthy floor which the barrels sat in- at $5.99 a case (1980s) what did we expect?

        Schlitz Ice, Schlitz Genuine Draft, etc kept the beer beggars away from me during college… versus the then popular Milwaukee’s Best (which gave me headaches)- go figure. Show up at a band party with a case of Schlitz and it was like a force field around me no matter how dry other students were…

        My vacation beer for years has been Keystone Light (12 pack cans) since the regular version is unobtainable anymore. And I did read the Coors bio about the fake can lining…

        Currently living the low life with a mixed brew version case of Costco private label “Kirkland” brand beer…

        • treimel says:

          I don’t know who you think “bought out” Yuengling, but I have good news for you: America’s oldest operating brewery is, in fact, still wholly owned by the Yuengling family, as it has been from its founding. Yuengling bought an old Stroh’s brewery in Florida, so that has caused a lot of confusion, but Yuengling is still family-owned and completely independent of any other company.


        • el-brazo-onofre says:

          Blatz. It was $4/case in the early 90s. Naschty schtuff.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Dude, it’s beer. I doubt he cared where it came from or how it came to be in your posession.


  7. pop top says:

    I’m a huge re-gifter, but a smart one (meaning I don’t give it to people who know I got it as a gift, I remove name tags, etc.). I don’t see a problem with re-gifting as long as the item isn’t damaged or completely inappropriate for the person receiving it.

  8. kelmeister says:

    When I was in fourth grade, I was incredibly disappointed–angry, even–to receive in a Secret Santa exchange a small box of ugly, mismatched, used earrings. And my ears weren’t even pierced!

    Now that I’m older, I realize the girl who gave them to me didn’t have two nickles to rub together, and that was the only thing she could find in the house to give me to save herself the embarrassment of showing up with nothing at all. And it makes me very sad. I hate Secret Santa exchanges.

    • Alter_ego says:

      I went to a private elementary and middle school, where we did a secret Santa since our grade was only about 30 people and everyone knew each other. We had one girl who was a jehovahs witness, so she didn’t give or recieve gifts. Which would have been fine, but she put her name in, and pulled mine in sixth grade. So she recieved a gift every day for a week, but refused to give me one because it was against her religious beliefs. I was pissed!

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        That.Ain’t.Right. At all. I would have reminder her that it is against her religion when she asked where her gifts were.

    • Noir says:

      oww, that’s really sad

    • rpm773 says:

      Eh. I wouldn’t be so sad. You indirectly received a very valuable gift from the experience: sensitivity. Others would have done much worse.

  9. JulesNoctambule says:

    I have an aunt who is notoriously bad with presents, so everyone always opens hers early to see if they’re suitable for re-gifting to someone who would actually like them.

    This year, the winner so far is the pink-and-kitty-cat print tote bag — that she gave to my husband. The five-year-old girl who received it yesterday was delighted.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      Ooh, and I just remembered — this same aunt regifted a crystal picture frame to my husband and me when we married. It was one she’d received at hers some fifteen years earlier; we knew this because she did indeed fail to remove the card inside. Too bad there wasn’t money in it, as happened to a friend of mine who received a regift! We donated it to a thrift store in the hopes that it will be regifted for all time.

    • 339point4 says:

      I wish I had an aunt like yours! Every family needs a character like that. =)

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        It’s not ‘character’, sadly, so much as ‘I forgot about you and hey, Dollar Tree was still open!’; there’s no feeling behind it except a sort of casual disregard.

    • myrna_minkoff says:

      Any chance she does that on purpose as a way to be ‘colorful’?

  10. MameDennis says:

    My (now former) stepmother gave me a scarf for Christmas one year. It was the same scarf I had given her the previous Christmas.

    I’m still not sure if it was meant to be a slight or if she was just stoned and clueless as usual.

  11. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    It’s easy to tell when an item is a regift: It’s not a gift card :)

    • halo969 says:

      Haha you would think! But my husband’s former boss regifted a Lettuce Us Entertain You gift card to us one year. We could tell because the activation date was a year earlier and the card was worn like it had been traveling in his wallet since then.

      That being said, it was for the full value of $100, so we dined nicely with it. :)

  12. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    This is almost absurd enough to be in one of those money saving tips articles. Save money and do something “green” by giving a friend a book from the library rather than buying a new book which is a waste of paper.

    • fantomesq says:

      It doesn’t save you money if they don’t return it on time… that would serve him right. I hear they’re serving arrests on those who check out books and don’t return them now! ;)

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Nuh uh, I do it all the time. Our library lives off my fines!

        • floraposte says:

          I think f. is referring to the stories about libraries that are sending fines to debt collections. It’s still not the norm, thank God, but it is happening.

  13. Cameraman says:

    When we got married, we received the most hideous purple and green… flowerpot? I think? It’s too big and long to be a bowl, and too fragile to be a serving piece. Originally we kept keys and pens and things in it, but then we’d have to look at it every time we went to get our keys, and I can’t imagine anywhere I want to go that badly, including Disneyland on Free Blowjobs Day.

    We plan on regifting it, and are just waiting for someone we don’t like to get married. It’s currently in a closet in the kid’s room, waiting and lurking in the darkness. Thus far, all the weddings we’ve been invited to are for people we like and want to give a good gift to.

    • pop top says:

      You could always gift that at a White Elephant party. Fill it up with some candy or something.

    • floraposte says:

      Sounds like the sort of thing that could easily get knocked off and broken if sitting near an edge, at which point it becomes fodder for whimsical mosaics made by somebody else’s kids :).

      • Cameraman says:

        I tried! I threw my keys at it, I forgot to pack it in newspaper when we moved, I stared at it really hard trying to explode it using the power of my mind- you know, all the usual stuff. It even fell off a window ledge (my wife swears she doesn’t know how it happened). For a super thin piece of ceramic, it’s suprisingly durable. Presumably the Dark Forces that created it imbued it with some supernatural invulnerablity powers.

  14. LESSTHANKIND says:

    Due to a… traumatic family situation, we were once dumped on the family of a distant relative at Christmas time. We stayed in a camper in their backyard, though they had a large house and nice finished basement. Anyway, on Christmas, instead of at least going to Woolworth’s and buying a few cheap things, they grabbed any crap they could find from around the house, wrapped it and gave it to us as gifts. Hotel soaps, their own used belongings and things like that. UGH. Twenty years later, still the worst Christmas ever. (And no, they were not poor. Not even close.)

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      wow. a more tasteful way to handle the situation if they didn’t want to give you anything would just be to make you a nice meal or something due to the circumstances of what sounds like a hastily arranged accomodation

      • LESSTHANKIND says:

        Thanks everyone. Yeah, it was bad. Five people and our dog in a little camper in the dead of a New York winter. Those stupid hotel soaps just served to remind us how unwanted and totally lost we really were. :-( I hardly ever think about those times anymore, but this item brought it out, I guess. Therapy session over!! heh

    • hardtoremember says:

      This story makes me sad. Yay for the Christmas spirit. I have never re-gifted anything aside from being a joke. This year we bought a sofa for my Niece so we wrapped up a picture of it with a white elephant gift we got at work last year.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Good God. I hope those people have a plethora of nasty Christmases to punish them for their insensitivity and plain rudeness to guests.

    • jacobs cows says:

      Next time dont impose just stay home.Couldnt you tell your welcome was a cool one when you were staying in the camper?

  15. Etoiles says:

    I’ve got some stuff from the wedding that we really need to re-gift. Not things that are totally thoughtless or hideous, just things like a huge Yankee Candle item in one of the scents that gives me almost instant migraines. The problem is, the wedding gifts were given *at* the wedding in huge, open, visible presentation baskets, so pretty much everyone we know right know would know that it’s a re-gift…

    • Dutchess says:

      most of those Yankee Candle scents give me instant migraines. They’re all sickly sweet and pungent.

      I do love the ones that smell like chirstmas trees. I buy a dozen after christmas and they last me all year. I love the smell of Balsam and Cedar or Pine Trees in the house. Makes me think of the old pine sol commercials, “like a Carolina pine forest” lol

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Hey, that’s a good idea. I like the pine ones too but I never thought of doing that any other time but Christmas.

        Since my living room (and most of my house) is green, that would even go with my decor.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      find a nice family who lost all their pretty things in a house fire? i bet they’d appreciate your duplicates and overflow

      • Etoiles says:

        We actually gave most of our duplicate stuff to charity, already. (Including the stuff we registered for as replacements of my college stuff.) Now we’re just down to the, “no, seriously, four different hurricane lamps?” and “I can’t breathe that, who scents something that strongly?” stuff.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          in that case, craigslist.
          i unloaded some seriously awful junk a former roommate ditched in the driveway and garage when she moved out. i hauled it to the curb, snapped photos, posted a free listing on craigslist with ‘don’t contact me, just come get it, i’ll delete the listing when it’s gone’ at 11pm. it was gone by 2am

        • strongbow says:

          Freecycle it. It’ll be gone before you know it.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I was given one of those Yankee candles one year, and I have a similar reaction to yours. Apparently, some people collect those things and the one I had was somehow special, so it sold for a nice chunk of change on Ebay.

  16. kateblack says:

    I used to run a Secret Santa gift exchange, and would do a theme every year. It was within a group of artists & writers, who tend to make wonderful somethings from nothing all the time. The last year, the rules were to keep it solely handmade & secondhand and under $20.

    The gift I received was a used children’s headband and a sloppy, puffy painted t-shirt. *sigh*

    Since I was the organizer, I was glad that *I* took a hit rather than another recipient, but it was so disappointing. Everyone else set a high bar.

    • kateblack says:

      My partner & I also got busted regifting to one of his coworkers. We had two copies of the same book. We accidentally gave him the autographed version.

  17. DoubleEcho says:

    My wife and I “sorta” regift. Our daughters get gifts from my parents, my wife’s parents, and our grandparents, as well as a family friend and his wife. Which means more toys than a 5 and 2 year old can play with (in fact, we have to give away/sell toys every year) even after asking them not to give them so many toys. You know, the whole grandparent thing, “Kids NEED tons of toys for Christmas!”

    So we inspect the gifts under the wrapping paper as much as we can, and we either use them for birthday or next Christmas gifts depending on what they are (obviously rewrapped for birthdays). Trust me, when you’re getting 2 big boxes from USPS from just one family out of 5 JUST FOR YOUR KIDS it gets a little crazy.

    • DoubleEcho says:

      If it helps make sense, 3 of the 5 families live out out of town and mail their gifts.

    • Julia789 says:

      My niece has eight million toys, so for birthdays and holidays I send her books, which she does not have enough of. She’s very small, but still little ones need those “touch and feel” books and ABC’s books, etc.

      Of course in return they send my 8-year-old a PIECE of a Harry and David gift basket they received, for Christmas, regifted and wrapped in “happy birthday” wrapping paper. An 8-year-old does not want a piece of pineapple cake that was shrink wrapped and came with pears and pretzels at one time, but is now alone… He needs books or toys. One year they gave him a sports drink bottle, with a company logo on it. One of the free promotional deals. His face sank when he opened it.

      The year before that it was just some stuff from around the house, placed in a Christmas tin but with a Happy Easter card. They make almost $200K a year, I don’t understand why his wife (who is in charge of gifts and everything else household) is reusing stuff to this extent. If they don’t want to spend money, make cookies or something. Make a coupon for “trip to the zoo with Auntie.”

  18. Smashville says:

    I think that is really just one big long glorified Patron ad.

  19. Kevin411 says:

    One of the items in the article hit close to home. After the death of my grandparents and the subsequent divvying up of all their sentimental items through the family, my Aunt claimed all the leftovers (odd wall hangings, plaques, nic-nacks, small electronics, attic crap) which no one had wanted. Over the following years, we each got an item from this stash each Christmas as her gift, in memory of our grandparents.

  20. LESSTHANKIND says:

    One of my friends is a multi-millionaire, yet nearly every year–while I carefully choose very nice gifts for her whole family–I receive bizarre dollar-store crap and generic regifts. Every few years she surprises me with clearance items from The Gap, though. LOL

    Another friend rummages around his house and constantly sends me packages with his old t-shirts and stuff as gifts. Once he gave me a pair of socks as well, clearly worn (not even washed) and with a hole. The next gift-giving occasion, my best friend threw an old sock into her package to me, and we laughed for centuries.

    Anyway, I don’t mind cheap gifts, or even regifts, at ALL. As long as they’re clearly chosen for ME, and my interests/tastes. Some of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten have been regifts or things the giver got for free and said so… but they were right on target.

    • lucky929 says:

      definitely- my best friend has on occasion given me a bag of things she found at flea markets and such. However, since they were things bought specifically for me and with me in mind, I always end up loving them. As strange as some of the things can end up being, the thought obviously went into them.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      yeah, regifting is best when done with the recipient’s need/want in mind.
      i regifted my crock pot recently for a christmas present [early] for a friend i overhead on the phone talking to his girlfriend about trying to afford a crock pot so they could cook more at home when they both work two jobs.
      i use it maybe once a year, since they got it they’ve used it three times a week.

    • econobiker says:

      She is a multi-millionaire because she spends no money items that do not enhance her wealth. Ergo crappy gifts. This probably follows through with tipping service workers such as waitstaff ect…

  21. morlo says:

    Sounds like the gift of being/nothingness will turn out to be the best gift Dan ever will receive.

  22. Bob Lu says:

    If I had a friend who know and care about me enough to borrow a book he/she know that I am interested for my birthday, I would be deeply touched.

    • pop top says:

      That would be like renting a movie and giving it to you and asking you to return it. It’s not really a gift because you don’t get to keep it, so it’s not thoughtful or touching in the least.

  23. jpdanzig says:

    Can someone explain to me why we’re all “gifting” presents to people when we have long been “giving” them instead? Really, the continuing assault on the English language perpetrated by the shills on QVC and their compatriots in the mainstream media galls me to no end…

    • pop top says:

      It couldn’t be because English is a constantly-evolving language that is prone to many colloquialisms and slang terms.

    • magic8ball says:

      Thank you!! I know English evolves and yadda yadda and I try not to be a prescriptivist, but PEOPLE! We already HAVE a word for that! It’s a perfectly good word. Go ahead, just “give” something to someone instead of “gifting” it. I dare you.

    • LESSTHANKIND says:

      Because the term is meant to refers the gift itself, not the act of giving. It’s not so much using an incorrect word (like incorrectly using “overdraft” as a verb instead of the correct “overdraw”) as it is coining a phrase.

  24. FooSchnickens - Full of SCAR says:

    Wow, a lot of these are pretty lame. :|

  25. ShadowFalls says:

    I can’t say I ever had this issue. I have never re-gifted something, nope not even once. I make sure what about I would like to receive and get something that is at least close enough relating to it. The best solution to avoid this, is never get into it. Communicate your interests to people, many don’t know your size for clothes or tastes for jewelry, give them a heads up on that and other interests they might not know.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      HA! My family never listens; they also never ask what I want. And on what planet is it okay to dress another adult in clothing you THINK they should be wearing? “Ohhh, you like teeeee shirts…..but you neeeeeeed an [ill-fitting, orange :P] sweater to wear to wooooorrrrrrkk.” Um, no.

      They whine, “You’re harrrrrrd to buy for.” I say no, just ASK me what I want. Then they say, “But it should be a surrrrrrpriiiiiise…” Well, I outgrew surprises when I was, like, ten. I’m thinking it would be a bigger surprise if they got me something I didn’t have to donate to charity or put in my garage sale. Seriously, if you can’t put any thought into it, just give your money to charity or buy a toy for a poor kid. I don’t care one way or the other.

      I suppose I should be grateful I get anything at all, and my sister sometimes scores pretty well with something I like, but really I wish they wouldn’t waste their money. The thing that bugs me the most is the fact that they don’t listen to me.

  26. econobiker says:

    As a wedding gift my spouse and I received a set of nice dishware in the original but slightly beat up box from an often married couple who are friends of my mother. (I think the marriage that joined them was his 3nd and her 5th ~maybe~ mostly divorced but one or two widow/widower deaths in the mix.)

    We opened the box and found a card from another couple to the often-married couple in celebration for their wedding.

    We sent a nice thank you card.

  27. TBGBoodler says:

    Best re-gifting story in my family: My mom and her sister were at a bridal shower. When the bride-to-be opened one particular gift, my mother exclaimed, “Oh! My sister Mary got two of those!”

    The bride then turned to my aunt and said, “Thank you, Mary.”

  28. jenl1625 says:

    When I was a kid, my dad’s mom (Mimi) was always so hard to buy gifts for because her interests were SO limited. So one year, when I’m 13 or so, I pick out a nice-looking packet of scented bath salts for her. Over the next year, I see them sitting in her bathroom, unopened.

    The next Christmas, she gives them to me as my Christmas present.

    Of course, the Christmas after *that*, she gave me this *beautiful* scarf. I didn’t own any scarves, and wasn’t sure I had a use for it, but it was gorgeous. And then, this woman who NEVER leaves her house without a scarf (because her ears are so sensitive, dontcha know) realizes that it’s time to go home, and she’s forgotten to bring a scarf – can she borrow mine? I never saw it again….

  29. AwesomeWife says:

    I just had to re-gift something last night. A friend of mine showed up with an unexpected gift… she NEVER gets me anything… so I ran into my bedroom, took a gift card that someone else gave me, threw it in a gift card holder and walked out with a big, “Merry Xmas” smile. I hope she didn’t notice.

    I have also been a victim of a re-gifter. But not in the same sense as everyone else. Last year my boss gave all of us in the office (4 people) the same gift card. The idiot who rang them up for her doubled one of them and didn’t put anything on one card. With my crappy luck, I got the one with a zero balance. One of my co-workers, whom I disliked with a passion, got the doubled gift card. Since she was too classy to shop at Old Navy, she re-gifted it. When I went to use my gift card, I realized there was no money on it. I then had to tell my boss, who called Old Navy. They told her about the doubled balance and my co-worker had to fess up about re-gifting her card and my balance being gone.

    At least she was decent enough to get me a gift card out of her own money to replace the one that had nothing on it.

  30. AwesomeWife says:

    My grandmother once gave my husband a shirt that she had previously given to my cousin. My cousin had left it at her place, already used, and dirty. My grandma threw it in the wash and gave it to my husband.

  31. caitlinagogo says:

    My cousin, who is quite a bit older than me, gave me a wrapped AOL CD for Christmas. This was some time in the mid/late 90s. I already had AOL and was old enough to know that we got about 5 of those CDs a week in the mail for free.

  32. BlackMage66652 says:

    One year, a distant relative gave me a copy of The Wiz on DVD… I don’t think I’ve ever re-gifted something so fast in my life.

    I opened the box it came in, saw it, wrapped it and sent it off to an Uncle I don’t like… a day after I opened it.

  33. lesbiansayswhat says:

    You know what, I think we should agree to gifts like this. We’re told it’s the thought that counts so this guy did some thinking and successfully found the right thing..and he didn’t have to buy anything, which is a good thing!

    • Smashville says:

      Not to mention that…considering the book…it was actually kind of brilliant. Clearly if he had taken the time to read the book, the fact that the gift had to be returned would make more sense.

  34. Thora says:

    Re-gifting is really hit-or-miss. If done sneakily & tactfully enough I see no problem with it. Do not give obviously used items(IE with signs of wear, or anything broken, or half-eaten), remove all bits of previous wrapping, and do not re-gift anyone’s own gift back to them.

    And if you get a really shitty, full-on LAZY gift from someone whom you KNOW could have done better, give them a gift of equal shittiness. Passive aggressivity is KEY here :)

  35. echovictorecho says:

    My mother is in the hilarious (and somewhat sad) habit of giving people things *she* wants – clothes “for me” that are in her size, books on subjects only she is interested in, etc. The most egregious example: she collects crystal figurines, and one year gave a little crystal dragon to my decidedly-not-into-crystal stepfather.

    Guess what she got for Valentine’s Day?

  36. trillium says:

    Not so much a regifting story (unless my Mother in Law has a life time supply) but for three years running my DH and I got a glass Christmas Tree candy dish (the four piece stacking set)… we now have three. I think they were packed with the same candy/nut mixture each year as well. I almost sent one to her last year with home made candies in it but my DH reminded me where they had come from.

  37. ShinGetterPoPo says:

    A year or so ago, I had a friend (not anymore, but that’s a longer story). Sometime around July he had a paperback that he read and offered to me. Said he enjoyed it. I politely thanked him, but let him know that I already had a copy of it.
    A few months later it became my birthday. He gave me a gift bag. I open it up and inside is the book I had declined. Then he asked me for the gift bag back so he could use it for other presents.

  38. GildaKorn says:

    “Unwanted” gifts end up going to Goodwill, unless they’re really not worth their time, either. I don’t know if that counts as regifting. It’s not an awesome or egregious story, I’m afraid.

  39. sublight says:

    I have a tale of multiple re-gifting that sent a package on at least one lap around the globe.

    My wife’s birthday was coming up, and I knew she loved Brazilian music and a particular Brazilian movie, so I bought her the soundtrack from Amazon US. It arrived here in Japan just fine, but when I gave it to her, she said she already had that album. Oops!

    So it sat in its sealed wrapper until Christmas rolled around. We were wondering what to get my aunt and uncle in France, when we remembered that album. They often sent us jazz and ‘world music’ CDs, and based on the decor of their home we thought they’d like it. CD sent.

    Fast forward to the next Christmas, we receive a package from the above aunt & uncle that looks very CD-shaped. On Christmas day, we open it to find that same Brazilian soundtrack CD, still in its sealed wrapper.

    A week later at work I asked a co-worker if he or his wife liked Brazilian music, and told him the story of the wandering CD. He accepted it, and according to him it’s still at their house.

    So the CD was gifted four times, and traveled from the US to Japan to France and back to Japan again over two and a half years before finally being opened.

  40. dg says:

    my grandmother and her friend used to trade a holiday card every other year. Not a different card – but the same holiday card. Every other year, one would cross out the other’s name and send it out… Hillarious. They’d known each other for oh, 50 years and neither could think of anything the other needed, so they got creative…

  41. duffman13 says:

    IDK about regifting, but my wife and I registered for a bunch of stuff we realized that we didn’t need when we actually got it for our wedding. we returned most of it, bought the stuff we did need from May’s with the store credit.

    What we did learn is this: register at bed bath & beyond. They will give you cash for any returns that are on your registry.

  42. BytheSea says:

    Someone gave me a library book as a present last year in a gift exchange for work. It was sort of a joke, but I was kinda annoyed b/c I wanted the book dammit.