The Return Of The Returners

Illustration for article titled The Return Of The Returners

There is a vestigial Catholic part of me that feels guilty at the thought to returning perfectly decent presents I have received that are somehow not quite right. I know I am alone in this.


Because today is the day of the habitual Returner — that person that cares not that you spent hours in Barnes & Noble picking out the prefect book or sifting through 300 sweaters at Macy's to find the one that perfectly captures her soul. For the Returners, presents that you spent tons of psychic energy dreaming up and/or too much money purchasing merely function as large gift cards that are slightly more of a pain in the ass to utilize than average, being as they require a period of standing in line on December 26th. The trade-off, naturally, is that the presents that you lovingly picked out and carefully wrapped are more fun to open than gift cards.

A Returner doesn't care that you bought the green sweater because it matches her eyes because she's only wearing black for the recession — though, in April, she'll proudly wear an apple green shirt to Easter dinner. She doesn't plan on reading any novels this year because she is totally into economics now, but you'll see her Spring Break pictures and notice a stack of novels next to her beach chair. For a Returner, it almost doesn't matter what you bought before Christmas, since what she wants is the chance to return it for your money after Christmas and get twice as much stuff on the sales.

Returners inevitably are involved in relationships (familial or otherwise) with Keepers like me, who obsess over the perfect gifts, rarely express disappointment, feel bad returning items that don't even fit and imbue the gifts of others (particularly Returners) with meaning they likely don't possess. I know this because yesterday I wore a (not necessarily my personal style of) sweater that my sister got me two years ago off a sale rack at Christopher & Bank that she didn't remember. As I type this, she's taking back the sweater I agonized over for 20 minutes because she swore you could visualize her elbows in it.


Remedios Varo

I'm really weird about clothes because I go through fashion phases. Right now, for example, I'm really into men's clothes, especially ties and sweater vests, but over the summer, I was snapping up dresses like crazy. As such I absolutely hate receiving (store-bought)clothes as gifts and never include them on my wish list. Unfortunately, my mom buys me a hoodie or a sweater for Christmas without fail. However much I dislike getting clothes, I feel even more embarrassed about returning them, so I have to do it the day after before I lose my resolve.