In the spirit of giving and receiving presents, I thought of an an interesting incident my husband and I experienced in receiving a gift.
On our tenth anniversary I threw a party and some people brought gifts. We kept all of them and were thankful for them, but the most thoughtful gift of all we returned it to the store. My husband, Clif, plays a sport regularly and some of his teammates came to the party. One of the guys, let's call him Tom, was a newlywed and he and his wife came to the event and also graciously gave us a gift.
A while back, after a game one day "Tom" asked Clif about he and my dating experience. My husband mentioned to him that he and I started watching the E.R. series in 1995 while dating and getting to know each other. So the gift was the complete series of that season. (It was when George Clooney played Dr. Ross and he was being non-committal with Nurse Carol and he and Dr. Green would play basketball while solving each others personal problems - yeah back then when it was really good.) My husband and I thought, although it was the most thoughtful gift we had received, we would never watch it. So I returned it to the store with the gift receipt in hand. While I returned it, I was also buying some socks for my son. The lady at the check out stand asked if I wanted it on my card. Sure, I replied.
A week later, my husband was in R.E.I. sports store when he saw "Tom" and his wife who had given us that thoughtful gift. The guy asked my husband, why did you return my gift. My husband was dumbfounded and didn't know I had already returned it. He stammered and hemmed and actually said we would never watch it, but thank you for the most thoughtful gift.
We tried to figure out what happened and concluded that although I had given the gal at the check out stand a gift receipt, she had returned the gift to the giver allowing them to see that the gift was returned. I had given them my card and they had charged the socks appropriately.
We felt terrible and did not know how to remedy the situation. We knew it would be awkward for Clif and "Tom" when they played on the same team again. What would you do if you were in that situation? What would you have done differently? Should we return our thoughtful gifts we receive or is there some unwritten laws to giving and receiving gifts?