Gift etiquette
Illustration: Matt Collins

Q: What should you do when you give someone a present and they immediately ask, "Did you get a receipt?" or "Gee, that's not really my color—do you mind if I give it to my dog walker?"

A: "You don't want to say they're being rude, which they are, but you can protect your own feelings. Say, 'I really had you in mind when I bought that. I'm sorry you don't like it. I hope you can appreciate the thought and return or regift it in secret, so my feelings are spared.'"
— Michele Warholic Wetherald, executive director of the American Association of University Women

"You have an obligation to express your disappointment to this person who thought so little of your gift that they'd disregard your act of kindness and take it as an opportunity to compensate their dog walker."
— Pastor Rudy Rasmus, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston

"Some people have never learned how to accept generosity. There are two ways of teaching them to learn: Keep giving them gifts until they figure out what grace and gratitude are, or simply stop until there's some evidence of a change in attitude. I endorse the second. It's more forceful and a lot cheaper."
— Jack Marshall, president of ProEthics

"You can say, 'Wow. I spent time and energy picking something personal for you—would you have preferred a gift card?' And when the next occasion rolls around, donate to a charity in that person's name. Or her dog walker's name.
— Faith Salie, host of the public radio show Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie

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