Ad from Net-a-Porter
Imagine having your loved ones called by a store with your holiday wish list? Some stores/boutiques are resorting to some very pushy tactics this holiday season. In today’s Wall Street Journal comes an article entitled, "Hey, Honey Bunny, Stores Know What Your Wife Wants." Personally I’m floored. This just rubs me the wrong way. I would be horrified if a store called or emailed my husband with my wish list. It’s mighty presumptuous. Heck I can tell him myself what I would prefer…if he asks. Then again…nerve knows no bounds.
Retail wish lists are getting more invasive this
holiday season. In an effort to squeeze more sales out of the gift
registries and wish lists that many customers create, some retailers
have started programs that recommend, sometimes not so gently, exactly
what relatives and friends should buy this Christmas. Oy.
Caravan boutique in
New York, has been sending out wives "wish lists" to unsuspecting husbands. The store will list the items you select,
along with photos and a short note about each. This tactic does not surprise me from this store, but other some of the following do.
Searle New York, is
phoning husbands and grandmothers to tell them about the $478 silk
dresses and $298 velvet scarves their loved ones have put on their
"Dear Searle" lists. Bluemercury, a chain of 26 beauty boutiques, is
inviting customers in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Princeton, N.J.,
among other places, to provide names of relatives and friends the store
can call to suggest gifts.
Online retailer Net-a-Porter.com has gone a step further, offering
videos that are emailed to husbands and boyfriends, telling them what
the sender wants. First, the sender fills out a questionnaire, in which
they pick from a list of pet names for the recipient, ranging from
"Honey Bunny" to "Hot Stuff" to "Boo Boo." They can also select
descriptors of the potential gift-giver, such as "macho" or
Then the email is sent to the designated recipient,
featuring a flirtatious blond woman called "Santa’s Helper." She
advises the viewer that "It’s time we had a serious talk, Honey Bunny"
(or whatever the selected endearment). The helper says the sender is
"lucky, isn’t she, to have a man like you?" and highlights a gift the
sender has picked out, sometimes providing a link to her wish list.
"Let’s face it," the virtual helper says, "if she’s happy, you’re
Some gift givers, at a loss to figure out what their
loved ones want, say the emails and calls are helpful. Others are
finding them just plain annoying and rude.
Tiki Barber, the retired New York Giants player, says
he welcomes any help he can get trying to figure out what to buy his
wife, Ginny. Mr. Barber, 32, is still haunted by a gift he gave her six
Christmases ago. "I was walking by a Louis Vuitton store and went out
on a limb and just went in and bought her a purse," he says. "And she
had it already. I was kind of like, ‘This is why I don’t go shopping
for you — because I don’t know what to get!’" Mr. Barber, whose wife
is setting up a wish list at Searle, said he doesn’t mind that the
store plans to call him.
Etiquette experts nevertheless cringe at the thought of stores pestering gift givers. Maybe people are afraid of giving an unwanted present, but this blatantly plays and preys into the stress of the holidays. Personally, I think it ruins the true meaning of the holidays. It’s better to give than to receive…and to be so pushy, should either mean a lump of coal or being stricken off your holiday list in my opinion. It’s just tacky.
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