Although most of us dream about the perfect gift, we usually pick the wrong one when it comes to surprise our friends and family. According to Elanor Williams, co-author of the latest study and marketing professor at Indiana University Bloomington, our vanity is to blame.
More precisely, when we want to pick the perfect gift for someone dear, we take into consideration our perspective, and only later we think about what that person actually wants. However, Williams explains that this strategy doesn’t pay off every time.
The psychologists note that choosing the right gift might be a tricky process. Even if there are many studies on gift giving, the latest research is designed to clear things out for everyone. According to Jeff Galak, co-author of the study and marketing professor at Carnegie Mellon University, there is a certain pattern that leads people to the same errors over and over again regarding gift giving.
As such, the researchers aimed to find out what caused those errors. During the study, they discovered that we usually focus on the moment of the gift exchange, instead of thinking about the right gifts.
Basically, we are more interested in the person’s reaction while opening the present. On the other hand, receivers focus on the gift and ask themselves whether it will be useful or not. Galak underlines that even if we account for the recipient’s perspective, we still focus on the moment of the gift exchange.
Before buying the present, we should ask ourselves if the dear ones will enjoy the gifts, or if they will still use them a month after they’ve received them. The researchers also explain that we usually go for fun presents over useful ones.
It means that we are more interested in the person’s reaction. Williams used a personal example by saying that her parents once bought her an expensive five-pound serving plate which was entirely made of salt.
Although it looked great and its size was impressive, Williams realized that she had no use for it. Therefore, she brought the plate back to the store and replaced it with a nice electric teakettle.
The scientists also explain that we focus on the expense thinking that expensive items will also make quite an impression. However, if you find a useful present which is not pricey, then you don’t have to worry that you are saving a buck that will end up sacrificing quality.
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