Nearly One-in-Five U.S. Adults Have Gotten Caught Returning a Gift They've Received, Finds New Survey

--78 Percent Report They Have Pretended to Like a Gift They Received Even if They Didn't --

Jan 05, 2012, 07:00 ET from

WHITING, Ind., Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As the wrapping paper piles get cleaned up, the pine tree needles start to fall and the glitter settles, many U.S. adults have plans to return gifts they received this holiday. More than one-in-five (21 percent) said it's very likely that they would return holiday gifts they didn't like, while 32 percent said it would be at least somewhat likely. It may be tough to know whether or not a gift that's been given is going to end up in the returns pile, as more than three-in-four (78 percent) U.S. adults said they have pretended to like a gift they have received even if they didn't like it. This survey was conducted online nationwide by Harris Interactive on behalf of from December 15th-19th, 2011 among 2,646 U.S. adults aged 18 and older.

Sometimes, returning unwanted gifts can cause issues between gift givers and receivers. Nearly one-in-five (17 percent) U.S. adults admit they have gotten "caught" returning a gift, e.g. the giver didn't see the gift at their home or they never wore the article of clothing they received.

"If you're thinking of returning a gift you received during the holidays, be sure to do so tactfully," said Jackie Warrick, President and Chief Savings Officer at "Many people go to great lengths to find and purchase gifts for the people in their lives, so be sure you're sensitive to the giver's feelings. Consider taking an open and honest approach to ensure that both parties are comfortable."

Clear communication may be essential to help mitigate some of the emotions surrounding gifting and returns. More than one-in-ten (13 percent) revealed they would be offended if they realized someone had returned a gift they'd given. On the flip side, more than one-quarter  (27 percent) of those who had returned gifts in the past said they felt guilty afterward.

Warrick offers the following advice for gift givers and receivers this post-holiday season:

  • Weigh the pros and cons: If you received a gift you didn't like this holiday, take some time to weigh the pros and cons of returning the item vs. keeping it. Sometimes, the gain of returning the item for something you like better isn't worth hurting the feelings of someone close to you.
  • Consider the options: Rather than simply returning a disliked gift to get something for you, consider donating the item to a local charity or re-gifting it.
  • Be considerate: If you do decide to return a gift, make sure you are sensitive about it. Don't tell everyone you know and make it a bigger deal than it needs to be. If you feel comfortable talking to the giver, that is an option, but if not, be as discreet as possible.

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from December 15th-19th, 2011, among 2,646 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: Allison Nawoj,   

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