more on avoiding gifting headaches


alkasG Back on Black Friday, shlep offered holiday-season shopping information to help our readers avoid shopping grief.   We hope you survived the post-Thanksgiving holiday frenzy, with sanity and finances intact, and will be able to get your Holiday Shopping completed before the last-minute rush.   Here are a couple more ideas for keeping the holiday spirit alive despite the rigmarole that accompanies this season.

Gift Cards SantaSleighN

The Motley Fool (“Gift Cards Exposed,” Dec. 9, 2006) offers Commentary that is stuffed with common sense for those who want “the scoop on these festive little slabs of plastic.” Find out what to look for in the fine print, where and how to purchase them, what to think about and do if you receive one.  The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Alert “Buying, Giving and Using Gift Cards” also offers a good checklist, plus tips if you have problems or complaints.  A condensed version is available in this Dec. 11, 2006 FTC press release.

Kvetching Korrectly

A New York Times article “Complaining Correctly Can Pay Off” (Dec. 9, 2006) is filled with advice on how to get (relatively) painless satisfaction when you phone Call Centers with a consumer complaint.  Many companies now rate their representatives on whether they solve the customer’s problem with one call and no transfers — rather than how many calls they can handle (terminate) in an hour.  This calls for a different attitude from both the consumer and the phone rep, and the article suggests ways to take advantage of the enlightened perspective on handling consumer complaints.

 candycaneGH  Mad Kane on How to Avoid a Caning

Humorist and recovering lawyer Madeleine Begun Kane offers her Mad Gift Giving Guide — a contract between Husband/Father and Wife/Mother meant to save a marriage or, at least, prevent trips to the mall to return unwanted gifts.  In our experience, it is the Husband who especially needs this Guide, and who should be giving special attention to the spousal clauses in the Agreement (such as no self-serving or practical gifts for Wife and nothing that can be purchsed at an airport).  The Guide includes good tips on gifts for children, and has helpful general advice and admissions, such as “Husband concedes that there is no connection between gender and gift wrapping.” and

SantaList “Husband acknowledges that reminding Husband about his parents’, uncles, aunts, and siblings’ birthdays is not the Wife’s job. However, in light of Husband’s actual or feigned absentmindedness, Wife will make reasonable efforts to do so. But if Wife screws up, Husband has to deal with his mother.”

Thank-You Notes  (are to be encouraged throughout the year)

candycaneGH Thanks to Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, at Legal, for tipping us off to Mad Kane’s Gift Guide, in Blawg Review #87, and for pointing to the shlep posting below on Scrooge and pro bono.]

Thanks, also, to the folks at Google, who have brightened our holiday season by making shlep‘s About Page in the #1 result (out of over a million) for the search request /advocacy for self help law /.


1 Comment

  1. shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress » Blog Archive » post-Christmas consumer tips

    December 26, 2006 @ 3:16 pm


    […]   If our links on Gift Cards don’t answer all your related questions, you might want to see the Wall Street Journal article “Sell or swap gift cards,” Dec. 24, 2006.  Don’t contribute to the expected total of $3.5 billion in unused gift cards.  The WSJ article links to sites that let you sell or swap or purchase gift cards that just didn’t fit the recipient. […]

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