The World’s Worst Christmas Present


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Every year I visit the charity shop and off load all the misguided Christmas presents I’ve been given.

I don’t wish to seem ungrateful, but the socks my Aunt sent me with individually knitted toes are at best uncomfortable and at worst a crime against style (possibly even humanity). They have to go. And as some misguided fool will hand over good money for them, my Christmas charity shop visit is a win win for all concerned.

This year however I got a present that was so bad I couldn’t bring myself to give it away.

The gift I could do without

Yesterday I took my family to the sales, after hours being buffeted by the crowds we retired to Pizza Express (an upmarket pizza chain). As I paid for lunch for four the manager gave me a “Christmas Gift” in a very smart Christmas Card.

A free Classic Pizza on my next visit.

Now I visit Pizza Express a lot. I am all for a free pizza, but then I read the small print:

  • Valid when you buy a full priced main course
  • Piccolo (Children’s) menu is not a main course
  • Offer only available Monday to Thursday
  • Offer only available 7th to 31st January
  • Only one “gift” can be used per transaction
  • “Gift” cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion

And the best bit: Extra toppings are chargeable.

All of which left me wondering exactly how much would a no strings attached pizza cost?

Who was this a gift for, me or them?

Shouldn’t joy be in the giving?

Maybe I am a little old-fashioned, but if you give out free gifts shouldn’t you be authentic about it? Make the free gift a free gift?

Maybe companies should apply my “Charity Shop Test” before they come over all generous.

Or better still take a leaf out of Chris Zane’s book.

As Christmas gifts go this one was a little less welcome than the latest version of Grand Theft Auto that I bought my wife to play on my X-Box.

At least she wasn’t remotely embarrassed to hand that over to the charity shop.

Cellophane wrapper intact.

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Image by SidewaysSarah

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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