Amazon Encourages Rejects Rather Than Returns
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
and consumers both dread returns. But Amazon has apparently found a solution
for both parties, quietly patenting a procedure that lets recipients avoid
The Guardian notes that by using the so-called "Gift
Conversion Rules Wizard," the parameters of acceptable presents can be
individually set. The system is triggered when either certain gift-givers send
a present or when any incoming gift order contains certain criteria. For instance,
restrictions such as "no clothes with wool" or nothing featuring "Justin
Bieber or Susan Boyle" can be placed. "Check clothes sizes
first" ensures any apparel gift is is the right size.
The more controversial
part is enabling the censoring of gifts from certain givers. Amazon’s system,
according to a patent, will allow customers to "Convert
all gifts from Aunt Mildred. … For example, the user may specify such a rule
because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than
As the Washington Post explains, Amazon then appears
to accept an order but — instead of delivering it, sends a notification so
the recipient can choose something else instead or obtain a redemption coupon
for later use. The gift giver ostensibly knows nothing of the changed transaction.
avoid offending givers, recipients, according to the Guardian,
the sender for the gift they thought they had sent, while secretly enjoying
the gift they ‘converted’"
Objections are being lead by Anna Post, according
to the Washington
A descendent of "the late etiquette author Emily Post and spokeswoman
for the Emily Post Institute," Ms. Post believes a backlash could force
a re-think because it "totally misses the spirit of gift giving. … The
point of gift giving is to allow someone else to go through that action of
buying something for us."
Don Davis, editor of Internet Retailer magazine,
speaking to the Guardian,
believes it might not be successful because, "Given how many people use
Amazon, all the Aunt Mildreds of the world would soon know about ‘conversion’."
Its only likely success, he added, would be getting "Amazon on to a David
Letterman list of top 10 signs that western civilization is dead."
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Amazon’s Gift Conversion Rules
Wizard? Is this a great idea or another example of technology getting too
- Return to Santa – Amazon calls time on the unwanted gift – The
patents procedure to let recipients avoid undesirable gifts – The Washington
tech helps return gifts before you get them – CNET