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Thanks, I Guess: What Consumers Complain About When They Complain About Gifts

Deborah Y Cohn

Abstract


Gift buying in the United States is a billion-dollar business that has implications for brands, retailers, marketers, and consumers. This research contributes to our understanding of gifts that cause dissatisfaction and complaining. In particular, the situation in which gift givers intentionally purchasing unwanted gifts and recipient’s reactions to them are examined. This study employs two methods of data collection: 1) phenomenological in-depth interviews and 2) netnography of an online community. The scholarly contributions of this study are twofold. First, the research lends support for the idea that inaccurate gift preference prediction is not always a mistake and is often a deliberate act. The second contribution of this study is the extension of consumer gift-giving and gift receiving knowledge by the development of the taxonomy of five types of deliberate inaccurate gift preference prediction: 1) threats to self-concept, 2) to you – for me, 3) aggression, 4) ritual and obligation, and 5) bragging rights.

 


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