The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

The Phenomenon of Self-Gifting

"If I buy a gift and like it too much to give away, I give it to myself and go buy something else."

"I bought that Tiffany bracelet with the heart and even had it engraved.  I signed it from [my husband] and said, 'Look what you wrote!'"

"Somehow I walked away with a few things that would bypass the tree and go straight to my closet."

"It's nice to get a wee treat if you've had a bad week."  (British shopper)

The above statements are from accomplished and blatantly unremorseful self-gifters.  Nearly 64% of 2009 Black Friday shoppers joined their ranks (up from 56% in 2008), spending an average of $101.51 on themselves.

Of course, receiving a self-gift lacks anticipation and surprise.  Enter Surprise Gift for Me.  The giver/givee lists three to five items that he/she would like to get from himself/herself and authorizes the service to charge a credit card for the chosen item.  Surprise Gift for Me then picks one of the items and sends it on a giver/givee selected delivery date; there's no indication whether an algorithm or simply mere whim dictates how the selection is made.

One element in the psychology of self-gifting is frugal fatigue.  "Consumers are just basically saying 'I've got some pent up demand, I'm tired of not having bought anything for myself,'" says retail consultant Marshal Cohen.  He finds that apparel and electronics tend to relieve such fatigue.

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