The Gift-Giving Guide, Part VI
2-3 The Requested Gift
What it is: This gift is just what it sounds like: a present that’s been specifically requested by the recipient. This present is the exact opposite of the Random Gift, since it’s inherently non-random.
Who it’s good for: Gift registries have become traditional at weddings; they’re an easy way of making sure that the bride and groom get things that they will actually need and use. More generally, it’s probably better to ask someone what they want than to spend a bunch of money on the wrong thing. (This is particularly the case when the person you’re buying the gift for doesn’t have much money.) Also, some people would just rather that you asked them what they want, instead of trying to guess. (I read a recent article about how you tend to be something like 10% more satisfied with gifts you select yourself than with gifts that others buy you. If your giftee would find that a compelling argument, then they’ll prefer a Requested Gift.)
Who it’s not good for: Some people would rather have a surprise, even if it’s not exactly what they’d ask for.
Bottom line: It’s no fun knowing everything you’re getting for your birthday or Christmas, but you can often increase the overall “satisfaction quotient” of a giftee if you just ask them what they want.