With the holidays rapidly approaching, people are beginning to think about the perfect gift to give a partner, friend, colleague, or relative. Best to plan carefully, because we’re regularly enlightened with new insight about which gifts not to give.

According to a 2015 Newsweek article, “42 percent of women returned holiday gifts from their husbands (who should theoretically have at least some insider gifting knowledge) . . . 17 percent of [gift] recipients planned to donate an unwanted present, 13 percent planned to re-gift one and 10 percent would simply throw the bad gift away. A GameStop survey indicated that 98 percent of their customers had received at least one holiday gift that they’d rather return.”  While such rejection creates a logistical pain for retailers, returns drive billions in shipping revenue for UPS and FedEx. At least someone’s happy.

These days, many of my friends and family have discovered the powerful efficiency of sending gift cards – a task they can complete in seconds from almost anywhere. They’re convenient for me, too, because I can spend them however I want. Still, it seems every year I wind up with a pile of marketing gizmos I need to get rid of. Stuff I never ask for, and don’t want to keep. If only I could find someone willing to take them back.

Item: holiday e-cards
Reason for return: Insincere – even the “personalized” ones. Worse than receiving a greeting addressed to Current Occupant.

Item: marketing and sales stories
Reason for return: Whenever I read one, I find myself hoping for candor, but I never find it.

Item: customer case studies
Reason for return: I get a bunch from vendors every year. They bother me, because the name connotes objectivity. Really, they’re just advertising.

Item: personalization
Reason for return: data hackers already know more than enough about me. And my ego can survive without seeing my name and personal preferences everywhere I go online.

Item: Twitter
Reason for return: I don’t like it when people attempt to explain complex issues like sexual assault and brain chemistry in 280-character snippets. Also, an accomplished executive destroyed her career when she Tweeted before thinking. That worries me, because it could happen to anybody.

Item: gamification
Reason for return: Demotivating and annoying. At this point in my life, I don’t need to measure everything I do, and I don’t feel compelled to enter the results into a competition.

Item: robo marketing calls.
Reason for return: Companies send this horrible gift every year. Nobody cares to take it back.

Item: chatbots
Reason for return: Defective. Don’t understand sarcasm, and they get confused when I type long strings of expletives.

Sorry, marketers. I know you want to please me with these gifts. But once I remove the ribbon and wrapping paper, they don’t . . . add value! I don’t like to appear ungrateful, but someone – anyone – put them back in a box, and don’t send them.