Dear Jido,

I ordered a wine gift basket for my cousin and his wife who live out of state. I received an email thanking me for my gift. My cousin reciprocated by mailing me a fairly expensive gift card to a restaurant where I rarely dine.

I am contemplating a major hardware purchase and would prefer a gift card from a hardware retailer. Would it be appropriate to return the restaurant gift card to my cousin and ask him to exchange it for a hardware chain gift card?

Signed,

Mis-givinged  

Dear Mis,

So let me ask you – how long did it take you to decide to give them a wine basket?  Two minutes? Five minutes?  Did you discuss it first with your wife?  Did you consider other options and then conclude that this is what you think they would enjoy the most?

Probably.

Do you think they did the same thing? Do you think your cousin and his wife thought about you, your family, what would excite you and what might afford you the most joy?

Likely.

Would you be hurt, insulted, offended, or “surprised” if they called up and said, “Would you mind exchanging the Cabernet Sauvignon for a Chardonnay?”

I think so. (You’d be “surprised” to say the least.)

So would they.

Keep it, enjoy it, use it within the next 12 months and if you need an inside price on some hardware, I know a few people in the business.

Jido