Holiday Traditions

How to return a gift in 33 easy steps

December 28, 2017
Tired couple in Christmas pyjamas looking at mess of wrapping paper
Westend61Tired couple in Christmas pyjamas looking at mess of wrapping paper

Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas this year? HAHAHAHAHAH of course you didn’t, you clearly wound up with a hacked-together collection of depressing mugs, ill-fitting polos and at least one item that made your 6-year-old say, “I definitely didn’t want that,” erm, hypothetically, little punk, sorry Santa tried to make you READ AN AWESOME BOOK ABOUT VOLCANOES, jeez. Anyway, since this pile of rejected sadness represents free money, and since you won’t be seeing any tax cut money unless you already own an object that can travel to space, it’s time to warm up the Odyssey, venture out into the Hoth-like conditions, abandon your empathetic nervous system and return some presents. Here’s how:

  1. Collect the objects you need to return by digging through the scattered mountains of Christmas wrapping paper, cardboard and scotch tape orphans in your newly flammable living room. HINT: Most of what you need to return will be behind the tree, covered in needles and probably a little damp from tree-stand spillwater.

  2. Once your pile is assembled, make a list of who got you what, so you can come up with logical excuses for why they’ll never see it in your possession again. Suggestions include, “It had a stain,” “My kids don’t like Paw Patrol anymore” or “This gift indicates that although we have been friends for 30 years/you are my father, you have never taken a moment to engage with my actual interests.” Or just say it didn’t fit, whatever.

  3. Wonder in which corner of the multiverse this circus tent-sized mainsail qualifies as a “medium.”

  4. Wonder which of your relatives decided you would benefit from reading a James Patterson novel, resolve to ignore them for rest of life.

  5. Wonder what you are possibly going to do with a gift card to Hobby Lobby.

  6. Remember they have them cinnamon-smelling brooms so that’s actually a problem solved.

  7. Cancel rest of morning’s appointments in order to engage in four-hour expedition searching for the receipt.

  8. Resolve to keep your fking receipts in one fking place next f**king year because this is insanity.

  9. Never do #8 because seriously who has the time.

  10. Assemble piles of returns in these categories: Pile That Will Require Your Spending Three Hours of Precious Precious Life in a Line Full of Damp Grumps, Pile That Somehow Needs to Get Mailed Back to Whoever Made This in China, and Pile That Needs to Be Exchanged for a Different Size Which is a Task That Essentially Requires Completing a 30-Question Scantron Test Now.

  11. Go to print return labels.

  12. Realize you’re out of printer ink.

  13. Attempt to print return label using only magenta.

  14. Give up, go to the store for printer ink.

  15. Arrive at the Printer Ink department to find you haven’t the remotest clue which of these 35,000 options of dark liquid matches the printer you picked up secondhand from a dead aunt in like 2003.

  16. Take a wild stab. HP 264, sure why not.

  17. Arrive home to realize that HP 264 is the incorrect brand, color, style, shape, format, scent, flavor and voltage, and would actually fit better in your toaster than printer.

  18. Take 4,000 pictures of your printer to ensure this does not happen again.

  19. Return to Printer Ink store, park by speed-whirling Odyseey into a parking spot at 45 mph.

  20. Return home, making sure to stop at the liquor cabinet for a shot of whatever liquor you got for Christmas. If you did not get liquor, take a shot of Printer Ink.

  21. Print return labels. Hooray! It’s like 90 minutes later and you’ve accomplished something! Go get lunch, and another shot.

  22. Pack up return items.

  23. Realize you don’t have packing tape.

  24. Consider going back out to buy packing tape, decide that would be very stupid, seal the package with 400 half-assed strips of scotch tape, hope someone at UPS takes pity and fixes it.

  25. Drive to the UPS Store.

  26. This is a post office.

  27. Whatever.

  28. OK, time for in-person returns. Drive to the store.

  29. Take your place in line at the Returns Counter, ensure you have enough battery for three solid hours of Candy Crush.

  30. Gauge whether the Return Counter employees’ facial expressions are close to Lifetime of Bad Decisions or Might Murder Another Mom Who Brings in a Receipt-Less Marble Run and Expects to Be Treated Basically Like the Queen of England.

  31. Did you bring the receipt? Double check that you have the receipt.

  32. Return package to Return Counter Employees, proudly display receipt as though it is the carcass of a freshly killed white stag that you are bringing as a tribute to the king, realize this receipt is for the other f**king polo shirt.

  33. Give up, return home, chuck all unreturned reject presents in back of closet, forget about the for 11 months, wrap them up and give them as presents next year.