Diatribe: Complimentary Gift Boxes Are No More!
Despite the fact that I detest holiday shopping, I found myself in an outlet mall this weekend where I learned that a phenomenon that I first discovered just a few years ago has finally become the norm. There are no more complimentary gift boxes!
I remember a time, not all that long ago, when complimentary gift wrapping was something that department stores offered to their customers in an effort to win them over from smaller, specialty stores. The clerks would ring up your purchases, remove any price tags and gently cover each gift with tissue paper before covering it with your choice of beautiful wrapping paper with a matching ribbon bow. Eventually, the clerks became overwhelmed with the task and special “gift wrapping stations” could be found during the holidays where volunteers would work frantically to wrap the gifts. Having a gift “professionally wrapped” was a big deal.
As time went on we found ourselves paying for the service. Purchases were wrapped and priced according to size. It would cost far less to have a piece of jewelry wrapped than it did a large sweater or coat. If one wanted to wrap their purchase at home using their own gift wrap, the stores would provide complimentary gift boxes.
Unfortunately, this option changed and those customers wishing to receive a complimentary gift box would have to wait in a line at a customer service counter, present their receipt from the purchase they had made, and clerks would dole out gift boxes accordingly.
This doesn’t even happen anymore.
During my recent shopping expedition I was appalled to learn that even upscale retail establishments would not provide complimentary gift boxes. I learned that, while they do keep these boxes on hand for their customers’ convenience, they now charge as much as $4.99 for a single gift box!
It’s times like this that I feel really old. The clerk behind the register where I spent the most money had never heard of a store giving away free boxes at Christmastime. I guess it’s been that long.
Do you remember the days of complimentary gift boxes?
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