Amazon patents procedure to let recipients avoid undesirable gifts -- Washington Post

Via unconsumption:

Mike Rosenwald reports that Amazon has quietly patented a process that intercepts gifts you don’t want and allows you to receive items you actually do want:

Amazon’s innovation, not ready for this Christmas season, includes an option to “Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred,” the patent says. “For example, the user may specify such a rule because the user believes that this potential sender has different tastes than the user.” In other words, the consumer could keep an online list of lousy gift-givers whose choices would be vetted before anything ships.

Such a gift-conversion system would reduce shipping and packaging waste, benefiting both consumers and e-retailers, who rang up some $28 billion in gift purchases this holiday season. Up to 30 percent of gifts purchased online are returned.

Carl Howe, a Yankee Group consumer technology analyst, says, “If you can get the right gift to a person the first time, this could be a huge cost-saving invention. From a retailer’s perspective, this is like gold.”

See also earlier Unconsumption posts about trading and bartering as ways to help offset inefficient gift-giving