November 30, 2009

Glorious Returnable Gifts

Last Friday, my Roman extended family decided to throw me a little bon voyage dinner. It was fun, and sort of special being the guest of honor among no less than sixteen people (and that's not even the half of us...). Plus, and I totally wasn't expecting it at all, which made it even more thoughtful, my cousins all pitched in to get me a going away present. However, in a moment of communal dysfunction, they sent the one cousin who was probably most incapable of choosing the gift to buy it. Actually, according to him, he was all set to buy me something I would have actually liked, but being self-conscious about  his ability to pick out a gift for a particularly picky female cousin, he let the stupid sales girl talk him out it, letting her convince him that I would definitely prefer this much trendier alternative. Obviously, he couldn't have known that I obstinately dig my heels in against trends, especially ugly ones, so I don't blame him at all for picking me out a purple felt purse (he was originally going to get me a grey one, which I definitely would have preferred - purple, yuck - but then I wouldn't have the rest of this story to tell).

Had he bought me the grey one, I probably would have liked it enough to not bother exchanging it. But given that I was never going to be seen in public with a purple felt purse, I diplomatically told him I liked the style, but I might want to exchange it for another color. My cousin, who had prefaced the whole gift-giving moment by saying I should definitely exchange it if I didn't like it, immediately gave me the receipt.

So today I went to the store intending to simply exchange the purple purse for the grey one and be out of there asap (it was pouring rain, I was on my scooter without a raincoat, I was cold and wet, and I wanted to go home). But I had also misjudged the situation. I thought I was going into some chic little boutique with one shirt, three purses, two pairs of shoes, and a snooty sales lady, so the only choice I would have would be to change color on the only style of purse they carried (many little Italian shops work like this). Instead, it was this adorable little shop with all kinds of cute housewares, purses, scarves, jackets, and they even had a little stationery section! Instead of darting in and out, I easily lost myself for half and hour in there. And instead of going straight to find the grey purse, I browsed around a bit looking at all the other cute stuff they had. And then I saw the most adorable little carry-on luggage set (an overnight bag and a shoulder bag). And both bags together came to six euros less than the purse I was exchanging! I could trade in one so-so bag for two much cuter bags and still have money left over!

So obviously, in about three seconds flat I was in the stationery corner finding something to put those six euros towards. I settled on the cutest little set of four black and white polka-dot and striped notebooks (two big, two small). Okay, so those came to little more than the six euros I had left over, three times more to be exact. But I was more than happy to invest twelve euros towards the total  in order to trade in my gift purse for two adorable travel bags plus four adorable notebooks. And the sales people weren't even snooty! They were the sweetest middle-aged man and woman, both sort of hippie-ish, with long white hair, who were incredibly patient with me while I picked out all the stuff I wanted and dripped rainwater all over the store with my umbrella and helmet.

So the moral of the story is (if this can even be considered a moral) if someone insists you take the receipt because they're afraid you may not like the gift, they are already insecure enough about their taste in gifts for you that they won't be offended if you do decide to exchange it, and this way, you can end up getting six amazing things for a wee bit more than the price of one thing you weren't that crazy about to begin with.

Clearly, I'm not going to leave you hanging without any visual of how cute these things really are. So here are some pictures (and if you need a before image of the item I was trading in, just imagine a purse you don't really like, made out of purple felt).

The carry-on luggage set:

available from Reisenthel

The notebooks:

available from semikolon

Très cute, n'est-ce pas?  Over all, I'm very happy with how this all turned out. Even more so because I wasn't expecting a gift at all, so it was a pleasant surprise to get one, and because the designated gift chooser was so unsure about his choice being the right one that he was practically the one who told me I had to go exchange it, so I had no guilt in doing so.

In unrelated news, today is November 30th, which brings us to the end NaBloPoMo 2009. It has been a pleasure and a challenge writing every day for thirty days, trying never to be dull, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have, and will continue to follow me even without the guarantee of daily entertainment. You have all played a part in helping me stay on track, because without all your lovely comments and encouragement, I would have lost my faith very early. I will try my hardest to post as often as possible, and I'll being doing NaBloPoMo again next November. Thanks for reading!


my name is lauren. said...

Those notebooks are so darling!

Julia said...

arent they precious? im obsessed with all things polka dot, but i think big black and white stripes are the perfect accompaniment.

Mira said...

these look so cute