Wealthy people are the most likely to give "spiteful gifts"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/29/wealthy-people-are-the-most-li.html

late stage capitalism weaponized into an economic prison poop-shiv


Wait, people who have to worry about affording rent are less likely to spend money in ways with zero or negative utility? Who would have thought…


Here’s the link to the article. There’s more information there than just spiteful gifts:

“Friends are the biggest culprits of unwanted gifts. More than 1 in 4 adults (27%) state that their friends give them the worst presents. Coming in second place are the ones who should know us best, with 16% of adults stating their parents give the worst gifts.”


Definitely some reporting bias here: only 1% of respondents reported that “what they enjoyed most about the holidays” is “getting drunk”. I’m pretty sure the real number is higher.


I think my parents have it right. Partially to save on shipping and partially cause Me the Mrs and the kid end up getting things we actually want they give us $$$.



Not to be spiteful but to be a jackass my dad would send neighbors a postcard from our city whenever we were on vacation in other parts of the world. It always said ‘Wish you were here!’


I wonder if the “spiteful” category needs some tweaking. Do you add a gift that you know the person will hate, because it’s a joke? Like, in addition to the “real gift(s)” you gave them, which you know they’ll love? Joke gifts were a thing in my family, and there was an art to giving someone the perfect, awful gift.


Does spiteful gifts include giving noisy or messy toys to nieces and nephews? Because that’s how I perceived every gift my sister gave my kids.




With batteries not included.

It’s an ancient tradition:

receiving a gift of a white elephant from a monarch was simultaneously a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because the animal was sacred and a sign of the monarch’s favour, and a curse because the recipient now had an expensive-to-maintain animal he could not give away and could not put to much practical use.



I think perhaps one of the most spiteful(?) gift I ever got was self inflicted. I had asked for (and desperately wanted) the rpg Ultima IV. Well I got it Christmas morning under the tree. Problem was we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a few days and five hours away from any computer I could play it on. So instead of enjoying my best present that year it sat there and mocked me.

I think I had the manuals (all of them) memorized by the time we got home.


When I turned 13 my dad got me a Mickey Mouse & Friends Bowling Set meant for toddlers, but I think it was due less to wealth than drunk-shopping at Child World on the way home.

Now I’m trying to think of times where I bought thoughtless gifts.

For sure, I’ve bought “maybe this will inspire them” gifts (like Maker kits, or a Cartoon History of the Universe collection) that I suspect inspired nothing.


One library where I worked had a gift exchange, and the traditional joke gift was ‘naked Santa’, which was a booby prize included in the first ever gift exchange. Since then it became a tradition for it to be palmed off on some poor unfortunate at the annual exchange.

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I think my mother could have a new career as a spiteful personal shopper. I think I best find someone else to make the recommendation though.


As an aunt, godmother and friend without kids of my own, can confirm about half of the gifts I give to children are deliberately noisy and/or messy. Especially if I don’t like the parents (one of my siblings) or they’re particularly anal-retentive about mess/‘disorder’ (the same sibling). Hey, a kid’s gotta live a little (and they can always bring it to my place to use/play with/whatever)!


I’ve been very lucky to have some hilarious friends over the years. My best friend (still, since schooldays) once sent us a really tacky postcard from Tijuana. It showed a donkey wearing a sombrero. He drew in an arrow pointing right at the donkey’s ass, with this message: “Wish You Were Here.” Took me a long time to stop laughing.