Earlier this morning I came across a post that went along the lines of the following:
Anyone interested in doing a secret gift exchange? It doesn’t matter where you live, you can participate. You only buy one gift at $10 (or whatever you prefer) and have the chance to receive 6-36 (or whatever number). Comment and Ill message you details.
The description was way more eloquently put, and it was posted by someone near and dear to me, whom I trust and look up to.
So of course I said id do it! How fun? Getting friends and family to do a gift exchange, your mailbox becomes no longer just a home for spiders, and its fun.
Can we re-read that again.
Friends and Family (Because were not asking random people on the street). Gift exchange (tiny, fun, we live for these fun things ever since trading valentines in grade school). Fun (Because we all know we can always use a little more).
Well I posted it, and six hours later I had a message inbox filled with angry people. Some of the messages were actually
pretty really offensive, and they were coming from people I haven’t even spoken to since middle school. My sexual orientation apparently was the reason I was attempting to scam all of society. (Really…..?) Thankfully they chose to attack me privately and not all over my Facebook wall. They also referred me to the whole slew of news reports about the “scam.” So I deleted my post and quickly got to reading about why so many people were angry…
Major complaints that I read:
Its a scam
In regards to the legality of the issue- yes chain letters are illegal if they ask for money or something of value and promise a substantial return to participants. So fine. The wording of some of those posts can be interpreted as borderline illegal.
Maybe I should have adjusted the wording of the post, but it was all in fun and games. My bad. Did I care if I received 36 gifts, or even one at all? Not at all. Did I think that it was unfair or I was being conned into something? Not at all. I figured a handful of people would respond, i’d craft cute little cards and send them all something little and fun because we all know I’m obsessed with the holidays. If I got something in return, great. If my friend got thousands of gifts and I didn’t, way to go friend!
In today’s world, everything is about getting something in return. If you give something, you expect something. This is why so many people are in an uproar about this. We need to desperately get back to recognizing that just because you give, doesn’t mean you need to receive, nor should you expect it. Many of us, actually most of us, are in a far off better position than most others. We take for granted what we are so lucky to have what we have and what we have access to. Like my coffee pot for example. I can make coffee every day (because lord knows I need it) and enjoy its warm, delicious taste. The man who stands on the bridge I walk across every morning (in shorts and a torn sweatshirt) asking for change to get breakfast, cant. So when I hurried to Starbucks this morning, bought a large coffee and two breakfast sandwiches, walked all the way back down to the bridge, and gave him a warm breakfast expect anything in return? No. Just as participating in a silly gift exchange, I only expected to make people laugh at what I think are my amazing crafting skills and connect with old friends.
So in the end, I’m thankful for the people who responded or reached out to me in the spirit of giving and in the spirit of paying it forward. We need more of this.