I just spent £12 purchasing and shipping a bag of chocolate crisp bites from Germany to my home in Burgess Hill. Let me repeat that, ‘twelve pounds’. They are these tiny cornflake, toffee things smothered in chocolate and are made by a continental confectionary brand, not sold in the UK. When I bought them in France last month, they cost two euros.
I know why I felt the need to buy them. It was Mother’s Day and I knew that my mum loved them. Despite there being thousands of very similar products on the shelf of every single supermarket, convenience shop and petrol station in the land, I felt the need to buy these ones.
There does seem to be an inherent notion with gift buying, that the more effort to get something, the more precious a present it is. It’s ridiculous because the response we get to giving someone something incredibly difficult to get, compared to something that we picked out of the Argos catalogue, is pretty minimal. Say you got something incredible, the response would be: “What? You got me a genuine Roman coin from the year 112 AD that was at the bottom of an ancient fountain? You had to swim in the fountain to get it? You were then arrested for trespass and were taken to jail where you had to buy your freedom back by teaching the prison guard English? Well, that’s nice. Thanks, mate!” But at the end of the day, with zero effort, the response would still be “Ahh, a box of chocolates from the newsagent? Well, that’s nice. Thanks, mate!”
This stupid idea of ‘better’ meaning the same as ‘elusive’ is why there’s such a market for first edition books or beanie babies with tags on. They’re difficult to find, but I guarantee that something people really want will be just as loved if you found it in a skip, but just gave it a good scrub.
“Start a gift buying revolution!”
I declare we start a gift-buying revolution! Next time you have a friend’s birthday coming up, don’t think about how to make a massive effort; think about what you can get within ten minutes of entering Churchill Square; a gift that won’t be hidden away in a box because it has no practical use or is seemingly too rare and valuable to ever actually enjoy. It’s not laziness – it’s sensible. Besides, in this economy, nobody should ever pay more than £2 for chocolates that come in a plastic bag.