Amazon to Stop Bad Gifts at the Source
A new service will allow recipients to deem gifts worthy before they are even shipped.
December 28, 2010 by Rachel Cericola

We’ve seen a lifetime of bad sweaters, cutesy mini books, and personalized—well, anything. How awesome would it be to head bad gifts off at the pass?

According to The Washington Post, Amazon is planning such a system. The online retailer was just granted a patent for a “gift conversion” program. This allows would-be recipients to reject gifts before they even get sent. In fact, you won’t even have to bother to go through the motions of checking gifts. You can set rules to automatically reject items from serial bad shoppers. For instance, if Aunt Bea is a compulsive online shopper with an itchy trigger finger, you can set up a rule that will instantly convert her items into gift cards.

The system doesn’t just buck the whole gift-giving system; it’s also practical for the online retailer. With up to 30 percent of online gifts getting returned, this could eliminate millions of dollars in returns and restocking costs.

So whatever happened to no peeking? If you’re feeling a tad guilty, the untitled Amazon system could also be set up to send a thank you card (digital, of course) for the original gift. Aw… how thoughtful.

Amazon has yet to announce or comment on its new patent.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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