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Amazon Knows Your Relatives Can't Buy You Gifts

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Every year, Americans continue to grow ignorant of the Christmas tradition. Distracted by shopping sprees, online retailers, and a barrage of carols piped through every public address system, we forget what's most important about the holiday. The crucial element behind family functions. The key factor of retaining a friendship. The pivotal bond that holds society together.

Of course, I'm speaking of pretending to enjoy the gift we've just received.

Producing a convincing smile and look of joyous surprise is an art unto itself. After all, our great aunt's self-esteem is tenuous enough as it is. It cannot withstand even the subtlest raised eyebrow or smirk in response to a Nutcracker figurine or a copy of Tuesdays with Morrie. The reaction must be swift and positive, lest heaving sobs behind a locked bathroom door becomes the topic of discussion throughout Christmas dinner.

It would be nice if for one year -- just one year -- we all would be able to forgo the plastered grin and actually receive something we could use.

Well, Amazon has heard our pleas.

In a patent discovered by the Washington Post, Amazon has devised a system which allows gift recipients to actually exchange the item before they're received. No more closet organizers or Egg Waves.

The patent reads, "As in other gift-giving situations, it sometimes occurs that gifts purchased online do not meet the needs or tastes of the gift recipient. In such situations, the recipient may wish to convert the gift to something else, for example, by exchanging the gift for another item or by obtaining a redemption coupon, gift card, or other gift certificate to be redeemed later."

The system works by identifying the gift-giver and gift-recipient. If a giver is marked as having "different tastes than a user," the recipient is alerted to the buy and a "gift conversion is triggered." Beyond pre-exchanging the type of gift, Amazon will allow users to check the sizes of clothes being ordered -- beneficial for relatives who haven't seen you for years and still believe you have a 32-inch waist.

Unfortunately, the theoretical system only works with online shipments. For gifts actually received in person, better work on your, "A crochet kit? Fantastic! Thank you!!"
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